Here are some facts and common questions we get about our workforce and conditions:
- 67% of Haitians lack formal employment
- Our average stitcher makes the equivalent of a mid-level school teacher. Our most skilled and hard-working stitchers make more than a high end teacher. Our stitchers make three to seven times the average Haitian salary.
- The majority our stitchers have children at the JRF.
- All of the parents in the JRF Community are employed by Good Threads
How are the working conditions for employees of Good Threads?
All of the Good Threads employees work from their homes. We pay a set price for a finished piece of stitching instead of an hourly wage. This allows our employees to take care of their children and household while they work. It also means the harder a woman works the more money she makes.
Does Good Threads offer any benefits?
Good Threads provides financial assistance for our employees’ emergency medical bills and other medical expenses. The Joan Rose Foundation provides funding for all of its children’s significant medical bills.
Good Threads was created to help the families of the Joan Rose Foundation by providing stable employment for mothers through the manufacturing of needlepoint belts. It was founded by David Palmer and his brother, Tim Palmer, in the winter of 2013.
Our goal from day one has been to provide a great needlepoint product and to help those in the JRF community. Good Threads now employs all of the parents at the JRF and local Haitians and is one of the JRF’s top donors.
The Joan Rose Foundation (JRF) is a non-profit institution whose goal is to provide impoverished children with the chance to succeed in life. The JRF has over 82 children in the foundation. The JRF provides these children with lunch and dinner, Mon-Sat, as well as math, literacy, French and English Class, and other activities designed to promote emotional growth and development. The JRF also funds the children’s tuition at one of the best private schools in Jacmel, and provides for health and legal expenses when necessary.
Our belts are all hand stitched using different cross stitch techniques.
For our end straps we use full grain leather of the highest quality. This leather has a great feel and look and lasts a lifetime.
The Making of a Needlepoint Belt
Our stitchers receive a picture with the stitches in each design on the belt mapped out. Through counting stitches many of our employees can make complicated designs.
The stitcher stitches an entire piece of stitching. the background of a belt that has already had designs stitched on it or just designs, depending on their skill level.
Once the background is finished, we attach the finished piece of stitching to a leather strap. We then send that leather backed piece of stitching to Port Au Prince Haiti to have the tongue and buckle attached.
A company in Port Au Prince finishes our leather backed pieces of stitching into belts. At this point our beautiful, hand-crafted needlepoint belt is ready to be sent to the customer.
Words From Our Founder
“We love our people. It started with their children but has grown to encompass the parents as well. Our kids are tough, savvy, light-hearted, creative and bound for big things. Our employees/mothers are tough and resilient in a way that can only be achieved through a life of hardship. They are as hard working a people as you will find and are dying for a chance to work hard to provide a brighter future for their children.
We have been working with many of these women and families on a daily basis since October 2010. I met most of them when they had nothing, when their children slept on the floor and regularly went days without eating; when they lived in a manner that fundamentally lacked dignity. Since starting Good Threads, we have seen their children, households and psyches improve. We have helped them buy beds for their kids, helped them buy kitchen supplies, furniture and overall given them the opportunity to provide their family with a comfortable and dignified life.
I have eaten in their homes, taken care of and grown to love their children, walked two of them down the aisle, and grieved with two others who had children taken too soon. In short, I have known them and been there for them. These women have helped me as much as I’ve helped them, and I take my role in their lives extremely seriously.
When it became clear that there was no hope for a better tomorrow in the Dominican Republic, our community put their trust and lives in our hands. None had ever visited Jacmel, Haiti, but they trusted us enough to pack all of their things up and move to this unknown place, most without a dollar to their name. They did this because we promised them that we would help them to create a better life. Not a life without tragedy or hardship, but a life that would provide them with the chance to work and take care of their families and provide their children the chance to succeed. I made this promise to our people, and I take it incredibly seriously. Good Threads and the JRF work everyday to keep this promise and bring employment opportunities to more lower class Haitians..”