Enny Ethnic is an ethnic fashion online shop run by two sisters from Zimbabwe, Mercy and Matipa Nyamangwanda. They are currently based in the US and their online shop provides unique, stylish and hard to forget pieces for and inspired by every woman. Their target ranges from the ethnic-centric type, to the urban chic, modern classic, vintage-chic to trendy.
Named after their mother, Enny Ethnic’s prints can be purchased online and are currently shipped to Australia and the UK with hopes to expand to other African countries.
Where and how was Enny Ethnic formed?
We started in 2014 by making clutch purses from the fabrics we collected everytime we travelled home. The clothing line started a bit later towards the end of December 2015 after we noticed the amount of attention we got when we rocked our print.
We now make clothes, earrings, bags and scarves.Travelling kicks in our creative process we are proudly African & Zimbabwean - @EnnyEthnic1 Click To Tweet
Tell me about the inspiration behind your design and the process of creation?
Travelling kicks in our creative process, we are inspired by everything and the different cultures we see. We go through our creative life as a blank page hence we are able to write on it. We keep an open mind when we do what we do.
Also, we are proudly African first and more importantly, Zimbabwean and we are always thinking of how we can represent the African woman. We work with women from Zimbabwe who put the pieces together for us -they are part of the process. We create a sample and they sew, and they have great work ethic too.
Because we come home often, it makes the process easier and having people who understand our language is a great creative bonus. It’s really important that we do it in Zimbabwe, not only is it our motherland but it gives us some time to spend with family.
What makes you different from other African print labels?
We are very modern, and our pieces alternate between modern and traditional. Our line is huge and as we also create beach and office wear.
At Enny Ethnic, we fit multiple lifestyles and most of our pieces are one track.
You recently showcased at the San Francisco fashion week. Tell us a bit about that?
We got an email from the organizer telling us that he wanted us to showcase our line and we were terrified. Enny Ethnic was only in its eight month. We were part of the emerging designers at the week, and we learnt a lot and managed to pull through perfectly well.
Showcasing at the San Francisco fashion week really put pressure on us as we had to fly out home in September for two days. Fitting was the following week and a couple of weeks later was fashion week.
The models were picked by fashion week so we had Asian and Russian models. We were not sure how their skin colour would look on African print but it came out well. Our line was showcased first and more models were added to make them twelve in total.
How has the market responded to your product?
Most people have loved it and including white Americans, Asians -this brings so much diversity to the product.
Because of this support, we had a pop up shop in New York from the 25th to the 30th of October 2016. This enabled people to come in and physically see the merchandise. There is always something about people seeing the product physically and we wanted to give Enny Ethnic’s clients this opportunity.
What type of woman are your creations targeted for?
Our creations are ageless and can fit into every lifestyle. So every woman can rock Enny Ethnic, the good thing is that you can either dress them up or down.It means a lot to say our product is from Zimbabwe and to say we are Zimbabwean - @EnnyEthnic1 Click To Tweet
In the process of creating your business, what things did you have to do that you had not accounted for?
Marketing. We did not think it was a big deal but, hello biggest surprise.
Then, we had to sit down and think about the manufacturing. Where is it that we could get this manufactured? We did not want China, so we settled with Zimbabwe. This has huge cost implications as we buy the fabrics from Zimbabwe and get the things made at home as well.
However, it is valuable to not just us but to our culture as well. It means a lot to say our product is from Zimbabwe and to say we are Zimbabwean. This gives people an opportunity to connect with our country.
What can we look forward to from Enny Ethnic?
Things have moved so much faster than we expected. We are really excited as we are already looking at our pastel spring collection. We are looking forward to bringing another show stopper to fashion week. It will be ready-to-wear pieces that people can snatch off the runway.
We are also looking at creating a men’s line. Then, there are the physical shops, we want, to bring Enny Ethnic to our clientele in Washington DC and California. We know that by bringing in something physical, we get that connection with our customers.
We are also looking forward to shipping our merchandise to African customers.
How do you manage the business since you both have jobs?
Coffee! Because being your own boss means you have to continuously work especially when you are still starting up. We are always working because the fashion industry is fast paced and it is sometimes mentally exhausting but there is also a certain renewed energy you have when you are doing something that you love.
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