Teta Isibo is a Rwandan fashion entrepreneur and the founder of Inzuki Designs, a Rwandan brand specialising in jewellery, home décor and accessories that fuses Rwandan traditional craftsmanship and global contemporary design.
Teta founded Inzuki Designs out of a combined passion for design, style and everything Rwandan. Her brand seeks to transcend traditional Rwandan design and customise it to suit a modern and international market. What started a few years ago as a hobby designing jewellery for herself, has since grown into a dynamic brand selling beyond Rwanda’s borders.
You quit your job as a land planner to start a jewellery business, which you had no background in. How difficult was it to take that leap?
It was not easy at all in the beginning, but I was really excited about finally taking the leap to be fazed by the hurdles I faced.
I learned by doing, made a lot of mistakes and learned from those mistakes as well.Teta Isibo started out designing jewellery for herself, now @InzukiDesigns is dynamic brand Click To Tweet
Do you think there’s an interest by African artists to break away from the touristy art and crafts?
Presentation is really important in retail, it can make a whole lot of difference in what people perceive the value of a product to be and in how much they are willing to pay for it.
As much as there will always be a need and a love for the conventional arts and crafts market, there is so much potential for African artisans to increase the value of their products through better presentation and I think there is certainly a growing interest in that.
Inzuki Designs works with roughly 10 local cooperatives. Why was it important for you to partner with these cooperatives?
The whole essence of our business is the fusion of Rwandan traditional and global contemporary, and the traditional comes from the skills of local artisans.
They are therefore an intrinsic component of our business. Their craftsmanship is a unique skill that we as a business greatly value. I wouldn’t be able to be in this business without them.Teta founded @InzukiDesigns out of a combined passion for design, style and everything Rwandan Click To Tweet
What was the biggest mistake you made starting out, and what lessons did you learn?
Trying to do everything by myself, the designing and creating, the marketing and branding, the admin., the day to day running of the business. My logic was that I didn’t have money to hire staff so I had to do it by myself.
But that sort of thinking can be a costly mistake and stunt your growth. I learnt that you grow so much faster if you have the right people on your team.
If you were to choose one colour that represented Inzuki Design’s ethos, which would it be and why?
I’ll go with yellow. Inzuki means bees and yellow is our brand colour. It’s a bright, happy, bold colour. It’s the colour of sunshine and it symbolises joy and energy among other things. It also happens to be one of my favourite colours.Teta Isibo: I learned by doing, made a lot of mistakes and learned from those mistakes as well Click To Tweet
What does the future hold for Inzuki Designs?
We are working on expanding our home décor line, getting into apparel, starting a line for men and for kids as well and finally getting our online store up and running. Our vision for the future is to become a contemporary African lifestyle brand with a global reach.
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