HAMPTON ROADS — Katie Cote’s small business may be local, but it also has a global connection.
Cote’s business, While Waiting, partners with a Haitian woman creating handmade accessories with beads made from recycled paper and cardboard.
Items include necklaces, bracelets, earrings, wine charms and hair accessories. While some materials are purchased new, most of them are donated, gifted or repurposed.
The name, While Waiting, came from a time when Cote was waiting to adopt her daughter and she was doing knitting projects that she sold on Etsy and different craft fairs.
When a friend asked Cote if she could help her Haitian friend sell her beads, Cote went into a new business.
Though Cote and Eveline Brevil Pierre, who lives in Haiti, have never met in person, the two found that they had a connection. Cote is the daughter of a pastor and Pierre’s husband is a pastor.
Cote buys the beads that Pierre sends from Haiti and sells them on her online shop, as well as at various local markets and events.
“The beads are just so colorful and so fun, and they just sort of inspire their own pieces,” Cote said.
Each unique, colorful piece is created with a variety of materials.
“I recycle a lot of old jewelry. I also recycle a lot of boxes that we use in our own home, and I use those for earring cards, and the cards for the hair accessories,” she said. “It allows me to just offer things at a reasonable price.”
Those who buy Cote’s items, are also supporting a global cause. 10 percent of all shop sales go to support HaitiGO, an organization in Haiti that supports orphans, develops church partnerships and community care.
A recently single mom living in Hampton, Cote’s business now supports her family. From making the jewelry, to running the social media, to selling her items, Cote does it all herself.
While she attends different farmers’ markets and events around the area including in Hampton, Norfolk and Yorktown, Cote hopes to find more boutiques and possibly do wholesale at some point.
Cote said that she likes that her business not only benefits herself.
“It’s important to me to be able to support other women,” she said.