Photo Credit: Yael et Valerie
Yael Et Valerie: The Home Décor Brand Inspired By Afro-Caribbean Culture And History
Valérie Louis is the Haitian-born and raised owner and creative director of upscale home décor brand Yael et Valerie. The company offers beautiful, unique fabric, wallpaper, home accessories, and furnishings inspired by Valérie’s Afro-Caribbean culture.
Since a young age, Valérie has had a love for design. Highly affected by colors and visuals, she would update her room at least five times a year. As she grew up, she became more and more connected to her country, culture, roots, story, and history. However, she eventually came to the realization that she couldn’t find visuals that reflected these, whether in fabrics or in wallpapers.
“I spent my whole life appreciating fabrics and wallpapers from other cultures,” said Valérie. “I didn’t recognize myself in them, but I thought it was the norm. Until one day I decided it wasn’t okay. Our arts matter. They should be appreciated and be an option in home décor, an option aligned with Chinoiseries, Toile de Jouy, etc.”
“This was my turning point; my eureka moment. I knew then that I had found a great idea. Collections and images started to flow. They still come very fast to me. An abundance of ideas, colors, themes washing ashore on my blank canvasses.”
By the time they launched Yael et Valerie, named for Valérie and her teenage daughter, they already had over a hundred patterns in exotic nature, culture, and traditions, all inspired by their Haitian-Caribbean-African heritage.
Yael et Valerie’s wallpapers and fabrics are sold by the yard. Their fabric and wallpaper collections are printed exclusively in cotton and linen in Europe. The home accessories, such as pillows, apron, curtains, placemats, pouches, and sleeve cases, are all manufactured in small factories in Haiti owned by female designers.
The company works very closely with their community of designers, who often provide ideas in terms of collections and accessories. In fact, the brand even has collections named after them. There are currently nine collections, all of them hand-drawn in Haiti and marrying colors or patterns seen around the country.
“From our Gingerbread houses so well represented in the Gingerbread Collection; to the endemic birds of Haiti immortalized in the bright and warm prints of the Makaya Collection; the folklore dance with our Vivianne Collection; the Creole Divinities and Terter Collections featuring Erzulie, goddess of love; the leaves of Le Jacquier Collection, the challenges of women through history with our Past & Connection Collection; and finally, the Mardi Gras Collection showcasing the beauty of Haitian Carnival.”
Yael et Valerie’s Past & Connection Collection features portraits of six powerful Black women throughout history. They include:
- Sanite Belair, a Haitian freedom fighter and lieutenant in the army of Toussaint Louverture who was a hero of the Haitian Revolution.
- Iyoba Idia, the mother of Beninese king Oba Esigie, who was highly credited for her son’s victories, as her political counsel, together with her mystical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of his success.
- Henriette Saint-Marc, a biracial Haitian spy who formed alliances with Haitian revolutionaries Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. She used her mixed race to fraternize with the French, allowing her to acquire information, arms, gunpowder, and documents for the Haitian army.
- Kathleen Cleaver, one of the most important woman activists in the Black Power movement and the Black Panther Party. She fought against racism and for the acceptance of Black beauty.
- Madan Sara, a name for Haitian women who work tirelessly buying, selling, and distributing food in the markets. In Haiti and Africa, you often see them on the road holding their baskets with feminine strength, always standing tall.
- A modern Black woman, representing all women with African roots. Through accepting and valuing her past, present, dreams, ancestors, and history, she knows that where she stands is exactly where she belongs.
“Each is different and unique. Six different silhouettes, stories, and faces to incarnate one woman, the woman native to Africa. With strength, gravity, grace, and determination, they pass through the generations, the trials, the continents, carrying the history and the future of their societies ever further.”
Yael et Valerie is a part of the Black Artists and Designers Guild (BADG), a non-profit organization promoting Black makers of the African diaspora. Valerie would like to invite TN readers to get out of the norm and experience Afro-Caribbean culture and history with an exclusive promo code for 10% off all products at www.yaeletvalerie.com: #TRAVELNOIRE
“Invite it into your space, appreciate its value and its originality, and you will discover us and also yourself.”