Paradise By Design: A Conversation with Negril based designer Sophie Eyssautier

Ever thought about taking a time-out from your everyday life, discarding your fears and embracing your cares to embark on your quest for  your perfect little piece of paradise?  Could you courageously leave behind the familiar in order to fulfill  the desire to experience something a little different than maybe the sometimes spiritually cloistering routine of a 9 to 5?  Perhaps you would find the ideal tropical location to finally open that little boutique where you would design chic socially and environmentally  conscious items.  It would the perfect island inspired retreat slash boutique where you would be able to create with the beach at your doorstep and breathtaking Caribbean vistas just beyond your windows.  
That’s exactly what French designer, Sophie Eyssautier, did when she had an epiphany and decided to leave a position as a successful designer for Christian Dior, and relocate from fabulous Cannes, France, to exotic Negril, Jamaica.  After making the bold ‘new millennium, new life,’ move in 2000, Sophie began working with a local company before deciding to go into business for herself  by opening Callaloo Butik in 2003.  She became committed to the idea of designing and producing items that could be proudly stamped with a that “Made In Jamaica” label.
A few years ago the intrepid entrepreneur relocated her popular boutique to idyllic Treasure Beach, Jamaica, where she employs local artisans and crafts people.  Fabrics of only the highest quality, is used to produce her much sought after line of unique children’s and women’s  wear, among other items.
We recently caught up with Sophie where she agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to grant us a quick 5 minute interview. Here’s what she said:
KM    There are many who would love to live in Paris. What was it about the tropics that spoke to your spirit? 
SE     I can’t stand the cold!!!   I  need to see the sea when I wake up and I just fell in love with the Island.
KM   After 14 visits, how did you recognize it was the ideal time to make the island your home?
SE     Personal reasons pushed me to the decision. 
KM    You had many options as to a permanent residence in paradise.  Why was Jamaica your choice for a home?
SE      I can’t explain, I just love everything here! 
KM    How has living in paradise affected your design aesthetic?
SE      I’m from Cannes don’t forget, so I’m used to beachwear!  I  just design what I feel I could wear  myself,  or what will be the most relaxing and pretty outfit to leave on an island.    
KM    What is the most rewarding aspect of living and owning a business in Paradise?
SE     To see people wearing my clothes and be happy in it.  That’s the best part of the job.
KM  You live in Jamaica but when you decide to take a vacation, where do you go?
SE    France, (specifically) in Provence!  But  I dream to go to Brasil!
KM  You design a variety of items from children’s clothing to housewares  What is your favorite item to create?
SE    Children’s clothing.
KM   What are the top three things you simply cannot live without in Paradise?
SE     Dark chocolate! Red wine!  Music!  And internet…
KM  Which designer/s inspire you most?
SE    Marni, Isabelle Marant, Alberta Feretti.
KM    You have led such a remarkable life, what’s next on your to do list? 
SE    To open more Callaloo Boutiques, and I love interior designing. I would love to be able to do it as a job. 
For more about Sophie Eyssautier and Callaloo Butik, visit:
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About the author

Karen Mitchell