Meet Carline Smothers, CEO and Founder of ZOE BEAUTEE (Haitian Beauty) in 2011.
Written by Kat @ Kreyolicious
Most fashion designers can trace their fashion obsession to their high school years—sewing a prom dress for a friend, organizing a school club fashion expo, or modeling at a mall back-to-school modeling show. For Carline Smothers, the CEO of clothing line Zoe Beautée, there was no fascination with clothing whatsoever during high school. When Smothers was attending the University of South Florida in the mid-2000s, being a fashion designer was still far from her plans. Inspired by her Haiti-born parents’ journey in America, the Florida-born college student wanted to become a teacher.
After graduating from USF with a Communications degree, Smothers launched a career in education. While working in the public school system, she noticed that the same insecurities that she had felt growing up about her culture, were manifesting in the kids she was teaching. During her lunch breaks, she ventured out to clothing stores and malls, but couldn’t find clothing that had a cultural perspective. “There was not one thing I could put on to represent who I am, and what I stand for,” she recalls. Smothers began scribbling notes in a journal and sought the feedback of her sister and a cousin. From there, the concept of Zoe Beautée was no longer a cherished idea, but an actual clothing line.
The Zoe Beautée brand mixes cultural pride with a level of sophistication, while also winking at street style.
Carline has been pushing the envelope since! With two self published books, Fanmi Mwen (My Family) and Mmmmm! Soup Joumou! Illustrated by Fuuji Takashi. Carline did not want her Haitian American children to loose their Haitian culture and created the ZOE BEAUTEE Little Reader’s Collection. She is also working on a doll for the main character in the series, as well an animation to bring Carline to life. The animation was created by Monkey Frame Animation, song written by Carline, and produced/ sang by Mmixx Marc Arthur and Lormica.
She strives to teach self love while introducing children to the richness of the Haitian culture.
This wife and mother of three credits her husband, children, and supporters!
“I could not have come this far without their support!”