Explore

Meet The Black Woman Behind The Company Giving African Designers More International Visibility

By DeAnna Taylor

Share

Amira Rasool is a native of South Orange, New Jersey. After college, she became the Fashion Coordinator at V Magazine. However, working for someone else was not something Amira wanted to spend the rest of her life doing.

While on a trip to South Africa, she was exposed to beautiful designer clothes and accessories. She wanted to know how she could purchase and support these designers once she returned back to her home in New York. Unfortunately, many of the designers did not have an online presence that would allow her to do so.

Photo courtesy of Amira Rasool

Amira did some research and decided to create a business around this. She applied to a Master’s program at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, got accepted, left her job, and moved there so that she could have access to the designers she was working with. In September 2018, The Folklore was born.

We spoke with Amira to learn more about her company and what it is all about.

Related:This Beninise Designer Aims To Give Visibility To African Craftsmanship

Travel Noire:What is the aim/vision for the brand?

Amira: The vision for the concept store is to provide African designers with a professional and aesthetically pleasing platform for them to market their goods to global customers and support them in their mission to economically elevate their brands. I plan to build The Folklore to be the leading destination for global customers to shop exclusive high-end African designer goods in a highly curated and convenient manner. The Folklore aims to provide these designers with the same sort of legitimacy that European and American designers receive from global retailers who often ignore designers living on the continent.

Photo courtesy of Jesse Navarre Vos

TN: Who are some of the designers/brands that you are partnering with these days? 

Amira: The Folklore currently stocks 20 designer brands either based in Africa or owned by someone of African descent. What’s been really cool is that we’ve been able to mix extremely popular brands like MaXhosaAndrea Iyamah, Loza Maléombho, and Orange Culture with lesser known brands like MmusoMaxwell, Elle Est…Rhita Sebti, and Thalia Strates. Of course, we love having top brands because they already have an established customer base and they have a history of consistently producing quality and creative work, but it’s also cool to work with emerging designers who have the vision but haven’t been completely cast into the spotlight yet. 

Photo courtesy of Jesse Navarre Vos

TN: What sets The Folklore apart from other sites?

Amira: What sets The Folklore apart from other retailers is the designers. I would say that out of the 20 brands we stock, only 20% of them are stocked by retailers outside of the continent and only 30% of them have e-commerce channels where customers can buy directly from them. The Folklore is the only company in North America representing many of these designers, and we’re doing so at a high level and with meaning. The Folklore is about telling the stories of the designers and working with emerging talent to contribute to our vision.

Photo courtesy of Jesse Navarre Vos

TN: What’s next for you?

Amira: The Folklore is currently going through a big transition right now. Initially, when we launched in September 2018 it was completely self-funded. My parents kicked in some money and I emptied my savings account. Now we’re at the point where we tested the waters and now we’re looking to really grow. We are currently raising capital from Angel investors to expand our product offering, put more money into marketing, and host more pop-up shops in cities around the world.

I was originally doing all of this alone but now three other Black women have joined the team –– Tobi Idowu our Brand Partnerships and Sales Director, Amandla Baraka our Digital Content Manager, and Maya Haynie our Digital Marketing Manager. 

Photo courtesy of Jesse Navarre Vos

TN: Where can we find you online?

Amira: You can find The Folklore online at shopthefolklore.com, on Instagram, Twitter, and on Facebook.

Share
Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Here’s What The First Black Woman To Run A Billion Dollar Business Travels With

Here’s What The First Black Woman To Run A Billion Dollar Business Travels With

Janice Bryant Howroyd is the founder and chief executive officer of ActOne Group, an employment agency that provides consulting and business services to a variety of industries. Operating in 19 countries across the world with more than 17,00 clients and 2,600 employees worldwide, Bryant Howroyd is the first African American woman to operate a company […]

Parker Diakite

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Phoenix, Arizona

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Phoenix, Arizona

Despite the low population of Black people in Phoenix, where roughly 6 percent identify as African American, minority-owned businesses are thriving in Arizona’s capital city. In fact, the 25 largest minority-owned companies in Maricopa and Pinal counties generated $524.9 million in revenue in 2017, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. If you’re looking to take a […]

Parker Diakite

This Black Tech Company Invented Wireless Headphones That Translate Any Language

This Black Tech Company Invented Wireless Headphones That Translate Any Language

Freddie Figgers is known to be one of the most innovative African American inventors and tech entrepreneurs of our time. Figgers is a computer programmer, software engineer, and founder of Figgers Communications, the only Black-owned telecommunications firm in the United States competing with networks like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.  Founded in 2009, Figgers Communications offers mobile […]

Parker Diakite