The previous weekend was a totally lazy one, everything I had set out to do was undone; A Sonntag Beitrag, my coursera assessment video, putting away stuff in the new cupboards etc. Totally faul waren wir!
But it’s a new week and I want to push myself to get everything done before Saturday.
Last week Thursday I visited the Alleon store in Cologne for the second time and I was still in awe! I always used to imagine that one day, I could stroll along the shopping streets and there would be a store right by Zara or Pimkie, selling only Ankara items! It was a great feeling to see that and I….
You know what, let’s go back to the beginning.
Ever since I turned my craft into a business thanks to my Yang, I started looking for stores that would agree to sell my products. I went from Bijou Brigitte to stores I don’t even recall any more. Everyone I talked to either said a flat out no without even looking through my portfolio or told me they were a franchise store and didn’t take on independent sellers.
I gave up asking even though a friend would harass me about giving up saying one no didn’t mean everyone would say no to me.
But yeah I did give up especially after I contacted a girl I had met on Facebook who was some sort of model and I gave her a pair of bangles and a rosette, asking her to please spread the word on her page and through her activities. It’s been over two years I gave her a pouch but she never did model my stuff. I even asked her once but her excuse was so unreasonable I just assumed she had either lost what I gave her or given them out. As Gorgeousness explained, she probably is already advertising for so many businesses and probably doesn’t even remember me cos I’m a small crafter trying to create a client base. Most models deal with already established businesses so who knows right?
Fast forward to two weeks ago, I saw a photo of Allen-Cologne online and guess what, they were a store selling African pieces! I was majorly hyped and immediately emailed them, asking about displaying my craft in their store.
I got a response almost immediately and a date was set to come into the store with a portfolio.
It was an amazing experience going into the store. A place I had always imagined would one day be available in Köln.
So anyways, I showed him my stuff and he loved them! To be honest I was so panicked that he wouldn’t. I kept on wondering if I left strips of glue hanging in places it shouldn’t, if there was a mess on the fabric used, if the bag I put them in had a hole! It was a mad house in my big head!
I was so excited and couldn’t believe he would consider this. Gorgeousness and my Yang always tell me to believe in my products. I do great stuff and should revel in that. But I still freak out and I’m guessing this is normal?
Anyways, I left the stuff behind so he could get more feedbacks for me and I didn’t mind it of course. The more the better….or does merrier count in this context? Nah ich denke nicht!
So I did get feedbacks from him a few days later and he was willing to wait for me to have a talk with Gorgeousness who he also met the first day. Was great having Gorgeousness there, encouraging my business mind and watching me being open to strangers giving me honest feedbacks. It was amazing!
May not seem like much, but to me it’s a step forward in getting my Ankara accessories noticed. I know a whole lot of people are into this but I bet the designers we all pant for didn’t stop just because one designer already came up with the same thing oder?
So the shop is located close to the city centre and although it isn’t very easy to spot, with time, finding it wouldn’t be rocket science. The great thing about his store having Ankara items in the city and not just a dingy based bespoke tailoring shop located in an apartment is that it is open to every single person.
His outfits are not bespoke and the cozy setting of the interior makes you feel completely relaxed.
The outfits are fitted with European sizing and the designs are amazing! A peplum blazer that could fit nicely with that pencil skirt from primark or H&M. A pretty maxi dress that would be perfect in summer and with a cropped cardi in spring. That knee high dress that would make you all fly in heels or boy boots (cough!)
Those Ankara print shoes perfect for a nice pair of skinny or mum jeans. The printed ballet shoes that would go oh so well with a nice white dress!
It’s incredible and the possibilities are endless with what you can do with his items! He has great plans for his store and I look forward to watching him grow.
While inside, I could see the colorful expressions of people who passed by. The Köln residents are not used to the idea of Africa having a spot on the streets if it doesn’t involve singing, talking out loud or just looking plain fly! ???
Having an Ankara piece now isn’t just limited to cute grocery bags!
This is going to be a three part series blog post! I of course need to interview him and have emailed him a few questions and I would have that posted as soon as he responds to them! He is such an interesting person and I mean he can easily source Ankara accessories in much cheaper places but he is open to giving me a spot to shine and I totally respect that.
Surprisingly, in other parts of Europe like France and The Netherlands, Ankara fashion is nothing new. In the USA it is crazy and etsy is packed up with various indie sellers who have amazing products.
But over here in Deutschland it isn’t that bekannt. Sure a few people are aware of this vibrant fabric and the amazing things that can be done with it, but the other ignorant people think ankara=africa=poverty.
Some people don’t want to be associated with anything that is foreign to them and that includes traditional attire synonymous with a group or race of people.
I mean of course a Nigerian woman isn’t going to tie Gele, double wrapper and a lace blouse tucked in with heavy accessories to walk the streets, go to the office or go to REWE for food items. That’s just plain foolish. If she is just back from a wedding and is stopping off to pick something then sure that’s ok. But to get all dressed up like that just for a stroll along the way? Come on! Does anyone know how so uncomfortable those beaded fabrics are?
Or a German woman dressed up in a dirndl for no apparent reason when October fest is either schon vorbei or still months away.
Of course I am in no way dissing them. Ignorance isn’t exactly a bad word depending on how you look at it. Neither is close minded by the way. It just for me describes people living in blissful bubbles, not hurting anyone with the workings of their minds. Except maybe themselves?
Of course you can also be open minded and still disagree on something oder? (Cough cough).
Sadly, it was raining so my photos for the exterior front is as crap as my singing in the shower skills!
In the next episode, I will try to get more photos of the outfits! Trust me, they are beautiful!!!
Einen schönen Tag an euch!