By Jailene Adorno
As a child traveling to and from New York City and Haiti, Christine Souffrant went to flea markets all the time. While studying for her master’s degree one year in Dubai with Hult International Business School, Souffrant realized that there was no central network to locate street markets. That’s when she got the idea for Vendedy—an app that would connect street vendors with consumers.
There’s a special kind of charm that comes with visiting flea markets that really enthralls people. Street markets offer the kind of distinctive products that you really can’t find anywhere else.
“There was nostalgia to bring back food markets and flea markets” says Souffrant. “Consumers like to be engaged in the uniqueness factor.”
After being named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Souffrant also held Business Boot Camps and spent an entire day teaching entrepreneurs how to get their businesses off the ground. To ensure that the entrepreneurs were receiving quality advice and information, she made sure that it was more about their startups and less about networking. The boot camps consisted of 100 entrepreneurs and thirty-four speakers.
There’s no stopping Souffrant there either. She’s holding her next Business Boot Camps in the coming months—they will take place in San Francisco and Boston.
“There’s a reason diamonds are made out of pressure. A lot of the insights I had was to not knock on doors but to create my own,” she says to future entrepreneurs. “Don’t take things personally—everyone is busy, you’re not always a priority. You have to catch their attention.”
Entrepreneurialism runs in the family, so it’s no wonder Christine Souffrant started her own business. Her mother is an entrepreneur and she’s been selling her artwork in Haiti and New York City for as long as Souffrant can remember.
“I think it was inevitable because all of the women in my family were entrepreneurs,” says Souffrant.
Souffrant’s mother is her biggest inspiration. No amount of hiccups were going to stop her from doing what she did best.
“My mom is the prime example of an entrepreneur,” says Souffrant. “She sold out in Columbus Circle in New York City in an hour.”
While selling, Souffrant’s mother has had to deal with people who were disrespectful to her on the street and policeman chasing her away. Even when her husband passed away and she lost everything in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Souffrant’s mother held her head up high and kept moving forward.
Souffrant has such a strong head on her shoulders because of the hard work that has been exhibited through her mother. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Souffrant is also a speaker, an avid traveler, and a new mother.
“I became more balanced being a mom, I learned how to say no,” says Souffrant.
When Souffrant isn’t traveling and teaching others how to best create their startups, you can find her reading, binge-watching Game of Thrones, and watching movies with her family.