All photos by https://www.facebook.com/Ngash-Sage-Photography
It is always a great feeling when you finally meet friends you have been chatting to online face to face. On my visit to Kenya in December 2015 I finally met the Fashion Torch Africa team. A team I had been conversing with since Fashion Torch was merely an idea. What was meant to be a few friends hanging out turned out to be a small talk on fashion with me as one of the speakers.
Being the person who I am; a person who has a touch time standing in front of people, talking and being the centre of attention I decided to hold a discussion instead. We discussed challenges that many fashion entrepreneurs faces; from legislation to lack of funding among other things and solutions were shared among the group and I am glad that the Fashion Entrepreneur Meet Ups are going to continue every month tackling issues that we face as photographers, models, presenters, fashion designers and so on.
I am really inspired by the number of young people in Africa who are not making excuses about being unemployed but instead they are taking initiative and starting businesses in things that interest them. For instance I met Sally and Lola who are starting a publishing business and they will have a fashion magazine covering African fashion. I also had a chat with Tyrus who started an events company which happens to be doing very well regardless of being less than a year old.
Effective communication and complying with policies or legislation were key issues that were discussed. Most of the time creatives often overlook legislation they run unregistered businesses. I know how boring admin can be but it must be done. A right team is very important in order for the business to succeed. Someone whose name I cannot quite recall said you must take care of your team or employees so they can treat your customers right.
Speaking of customers, fashion designers always have problems with customers who demand lower prices for high quality products because they say they can always buy some cheap Chinese replica. As customers we need to support our local designers and we must try understand that material, labour and the time it took to bring the product into its present condition form part of the price.
I had so much fun interacting with my brothers and sisters in Nairobi and big up to Wilkings and the entire fashion team for having me around and showing me a great time. I cannot wait to see the empire grow #AfricaReign.