Looks like The Elder has spoken! And let the church say AMEN!!
29 Apr 2009 6 Comments
I recently ran across a website that sells African inspired, hand crafted, jewelry. Not only did the artist, creator, entrepreneur send me some beautiful purchases but she graciously agreed to an interview! So below you have it. Words from the woman herself! Ms. Afua Kumasi! Enjoy! (This post features models wearing some of her fashions)
I have been making jewelry since I was 5 years old and I am thirty eight right now so that is about 33 years. My mother was a jewelry artist and allowed me to make jewelry with her as soon as I was able to hold and use the tools.
I started selling my jewelry at craft fairs, festivals, and African marketplaces about ten years ago and move onto the internet about two years ago because I knew it would open up a larger market for me.
It all started with the African marketplaces and customers asking how they could by my items on a regular basis so I decided to start doing business on a regular basis via the internet. That is when I opened my AfriqueLaChic on etsy.com and acquired the proper licenses to do business.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
I love African culture from food to art and wanted my jewelry to reflect what I love. I try to use traditional African styles, and materials to create an authentic looking piece of African jewelry. I also wanted to create jewelry that complimented the traditional beauty of African women so I use styles and colors that our ancestors would have worn.
I personally create all my own pieces but I also sell vintage African pieces that are hard to find. In the future I plan to open my own website and also feature creations by other African artist from all over the world.
How did you come up with the name AfriqueLaChic?
AfriqueLaChic is French and I chose the name because I was dealing with a lot of African customers in France and trying to learn French to better communicate and that name just popped into my head. I now get a lot of French customer because of the name.
Right now I am solely online except for a few craft fairs and festivals I attend. I am not currently looking from a store front because I enjoy being able to reach customers all over the world online. Selling online also allows me to offer great prices to my customers without incorporating the cost of running a store front into my prices.
Where do you see your business ten years from now?
I would love to open several boutiques online with specific niches such as mens jewelry, natural hair jewelry, tribal jewelry etc. I would also like to be wholesaling my products to other vendors around the world. Hopefully the name AfriqueLaChic will grow amongst the African communities around the world.
Where is the strangest place you got an order from? And where is the farthest?
My strangest order came from Helsinki Finland and was for dread lock jewelry. The farthest order came from Sydney Australia for a pair of silver ankh earrings. It is really nice trading with people all over the world and having them enjoy my art.
Do you have anything you want to share with other would be entrepreneurs?
Yes. I would love to tell new and seasoned entrepreneurs something that my mom told me years ago and that is you have to spend money to make money. Opening a monthly budget for paid advertising will be a big part of your success. If you are not getting the word out about your business then it will have trouble growing. If it is possible try advertising with large companies such as google and yahoo. Advertising can be costly but it can greatly expand your customer base.
What do you think is one of the secrets to your success?
I think all of my success stems from my love of the craft. Making jewelry is not a job but a much love hobby that I enjoy doing every day. I am always enthusiastic about creating new pieces, marketing my jewelry, and finding creative ways to make a sale. I truly love what I am doing.
What do you want people to know about AfriqueLaChic that we haven’t covered?
I want to share that many of the beads I incorporate into my pieces come from all over the world. I love using natural elements such as stone, wood, sea shells, coconut shells etc. I use a lot of African trade beads hand made in Africa along with vintage brass African mask pendants. I create a broad range of styles from modern to ancient African inspired styles to compliment our beauty.
Any last comments?
Yes please check out my store and tell me what you think http://www.afriquelachic.etsy.com
Please visit my other blog:
You Won’t Believe This
09 Feb 2009 6 Comments
Dr. William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and died August 27, 1963, in Accra, Ghana. Du Bois graduated from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1888. He completed his Master’s degree in 1891. When ex-president Rutherford B. Hayes, was the head of a fund to educate Negroes, he was quoted in the Boston Herald as claiming that they could not find one [Negro] worthy enough for advanced study abroad. DuBois’ anger inspired him to apply directly to Hayes. His credentials and references were impeccable. He not only received a grant, but a letter from Hayes saying that he was misquoted. DuBois chose to study at the University of Berlin in Germany. It was considered to be one of the world’s finest institutions of higher learning. But the men over his funding sources decided that the education he was receiving there was unsuitable for the type of work needed to help Negroes. They refused to extend him any more funds and encouraged him to obtain his degree from Harvard. So after 2 years in Berlin he returned to the states. His doctoral thesis, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade in America, remains the authoritative work on that subject, and is the first volume in Harvard’s Historical Series.He then received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895. Dr. DuBois was a well known writer, editor and orator. Throughout his years of education and life what became increasingly clear to Dr. DuBois was the growing and unchallenged racial injustices of his people.
Du Bois played a prominent part in the creation of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in 1909 and became the association’s director of research and the editor of its magazine, The Crisis. For 25 years Dr. DuBois wrote about the injustices of black people. He was especially out spoken about the treatment of blacks who served in the armed services only to return to racist and unjust treatments at home. So powerful were his writings and the ire of his followers that it spurned on action such as:
- Inaugurate the opening of Black officer training schools.
- Bring forth legal action against lynchers.
- Set up a federal work plan for returning veterans.
Dr. Dubois continued his writings and continued to speak out about not only the injustices toward blacks in America but he spoke out against the the way Africa was ignored, and distanced. Dr. DuBois was becoming increasingly more disillusioned with America, with the whites who were on the board and ran the NAACP, and with the climate of America as a whole.
According to the Encyclopedia-Britannica, and as posted on Biography.com…
Identified with pro-Russian causes, he was indicted in 1951 as an unregistered agent for a foreign power. Although a federal judge directed his acquittal, Du Bois had become completely disillusioned with the United States. In 1961 he joined the Communist Party and, moving to Ghana, renounced his American citizenship more than a year later.
Feeling disillusioned and alienated Dr. DuBois spent his last years in Africa, working closely with Kwame Nkruma – the first President of Ghana. In the final months of his life, DuBois became a Ghanian citizen.