Smile 2 Smile
It all started on a rainy day in June 2013 with overflowing boxes of fabric and an overwhelming desire to assist the global community. Utilizing skills developed through several years of Design School and a passion for beautifully tailored pieces of simple design, the first sample of what would become Smile 2 Smile’s signature Buddy was created and quickly expanded into a family of cheerful toys which were then sent to vulnerable children in Haiti.
When our early supporters began asking about purchasing the adorable stuffed toys, we seized the opportunity to turn a small project into something bigger. Inspired by other ground-breaking, socially responsible businesses, we committed to combining local play and global consciousness into one fun, unique and endearing toy: the Buddy.
Since 2014, Smile 2 Smile has distributed over 250 Buddies to children in hospitals and orphanages across Haiti, collaborating with established organizations such as Partners In Health and Maison L’Arc-En-Ciel to spread happiness and friendship. From the AIDS orphans at MAEC to the sick children in the hot, overcrowded rooms of St-Marc’s hospital, we saw big, bright smiles illuminate the faces of the little ones as they were given the gift of imagination and play.
In the summer of 2015, Smile 2 Smile furthered its commitment to the people of Haiti by establishing its first production facility in the small rural town of Hinche where 6 full-time employees produce the complete line of Buddies and Baby Buddies and earn a reliable, fair wage in a secure setting while continuing to develop their skills.
From the initial design process to sourcing and production, every step in the creation of your Buddy reflects the values to which Smile 2 Smile is deeply committed: sharing, friendship, compassion, quality, uniqueness and global awareness.
It is our wish to broaden our reach and deepen our impact worldwide. In the coming months and years, we plan on developing more great products of impeccable quality that we believe you will love. With this, we hope to employ an increasing number of artisans from impoverished communities and offer them the opportunity to earn a fair and sustainable living.
Our dream is to ‘Share the Happiness’ with children and families the world over!
Mélissa Calixte was born and raised in Montreal, QC.
The second of five siblings, her recognition of joy through play began young, particularly that generated by collective, thoughtful interaction. Of Haitian descent, her awareness of global disparity was also nurtured from a young age, becoming a recurrent theme in what she wished to pursue professionally. After studying Fashion Design at CEGEP Marie-Victorin in Montreal, she moved to Toronto to further her studies at Ryerson University’s prestigious School of Fashion. Her work experience in menswear led to an increased passion for beautifully tailored pieces of simple design and luxurious materials. After various stints at prominent menswear boutiques, she was inspired to combine her humanitarian inclinations with her well-honed design skills. It was from this confluence of interests that Smile 2 Smile was born. Mélissa continues to live in Toronto, working out of her household studio.