africaboutik.us is the online store of Ghanaian-German designer and fashion blogger MsK NY. Five years ago MsK started her fashion blog African Prints in Fashion (APiF) and has expanded it since to a lifestyle brand with over 350K followers worldwide.
African Prints in Fashion is focusing on exploring the Imprint of Africa/African diaspora on Fashion and Design and aims to empower by showcasing the creativity and innovation that comes from the African continent educates and changes the perception of what people perceive to be African Fashion & Design.
africaboutik.us is bringing to you a contemporary mix of modern African Fashion and Interior Design. The platform offers a curated selection of Africa-inspired fashion, fashion produced on the African continent, accessories sourced from local artisans as well as designs handmade at our home base in Brooklyn, NY.
Tell us about yourself and what is africaboutik?
My name is Kukua and I am a professional Marketer and curator. Over 5 years ago I started with my Blog African Prints in Fashion. I used to always direct readers to online stores and online platforms when they asked me “where can I find that” or “where can I buy that?”
Eventually, it felt like it would make more sense to offer a platform with products instead of always directing the traffic elsewhere. That is how africaboutik.us was born.
africaboutik is a curated platform where I sell accessories and interior design items from artisans across the continent. And yes I do ship worldwide – also to the continent.
Which artisans across Africa are you working with and how do you connect with them?
I am half Ghanaian, so initially, I only worked with small artisans from Ghana as I felt more comfortable engaging with them and it was easy as I was able to meet them in person whenever I visited my family, and for new relationships, it helped to have parts of my family onsite.
My longest standing relationship is with an artisan in Accra, but I am also now working with artisans and small creative hubs in Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal.
My key communication tool with my artisans is WhatsApp – that really works best for status updates, exchange of images etc.Authenticity is really important to me. I don't want to sell the same thing like everyone else - @MsK_NY Click To Tweet
How is africaboutik changing the narrative about Africa?
The frustrating thing about many textiles and even accessories that initially are made on the African continent are that so many are now made in China.
Even if you are in Accra or Nairobi you can easily come across products made in China. At Africa-themed events in NYC, I see a lot of so-called “Made in Africa” items that are 100% made in Beijing.
My goal from the beginning was to only select and produce items that I like and that are not too common on other platforms and that is authentic.
Authenticity is really important to me. I don’t want to sell the same thing like everyone else. I like to be different and unique. Being connected to my makers individually, I know who creates the items, I know their personal situation and they know I am a one Woman Business. We work together to make things work for both of us, and I love that.
Can you give an example of products you are selling and how you are involved in some of the developments?
What I produce myself is the African City Bag – a high-end canvas bag that sports African City Names. That was my very first and for a long time my only product.
I also do temporary tattoos of Adinkra Symbols and furniture like the lollipop stools. All these things are made in Brooklyn where I am based.
Besides that, I am sourcing different basket designs and accessories from Ghana, Morocco, and Tanzania. My best selling accessories come from Ghana and South Africa.
I keep on editing and adding or removing products from the store, depending on seasonal trends or things I like.
What’s next for africaboutik?
I am focusing more and more on interior design and want to eventually make it my sole focus. I loved the process of creating my lollipop stools, so I want to my make more like that.
Currently, I am looking for young fashion/design influencers who can help me elevate my brand. If you are one and you are reading this, holler at me!
Where can people learn more about africaboutik?