‘Sweet but fierce’: Fashion brand creates buzz with Africa-inspired designs

Every week, African Start-Up follows entrepreneurs in various countries across the continent to see how they are working to make their business dreams become reality.

Story highlights

Rwandan entrepreneur Teta Isibo is the owner of Inzuki Designs

The fashion brand specializes in handmade jewelry, accessories and interior decor

Its locally-source products fuse traditional craftsmanship and contemporary style

CNN  — 

Teta Isibo had always had a flair for design but she didn’t realize she could make a career out of it until the time she asked an artisan to craft a pair of earrings she’d drawn.

“My friends all loved them,” recalls the Rwandan designer. “So friends started placing orders, and then friends of friends – so it’s gradually evolved through the years from a hobby to an actual full time business.”

That business is Inzuki Designs, the startup Isibo launched in 2010 after deciding to quit her land management job to embark on her entrepreneurial journey. Fusing traditional craftsmanship with contemporary bold designs, the Africa-inspired fashion brand quickly had people buzzing.

“Inzuki means bees,” says Isibo, explaining the inspiration behind the company’s name. “It’s an attitude, like a sweet but fierce attitude; the way bees give honey so they have that sweet aspect, but then you can’t really mess with them because they would sting you.”

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What started with one pair of earrings has now become a growing business that specializes in handmade jewelry, accessories and interior décor. Its colorful and vibrant products are made with local raw materials by various cooperatives in and around the Rwandan capital of Kigali.

“Rwanda has so much potential in terms of the traditional craftsmanship skills, in terms of the raw materials you can find here,” says the young entrepreneur, “but I felt that we weren’t really living up to that potential.

“Everything you’d find on the market was …very touristy stuff and I wanted to create something that Rwandans as well would love to wear, [something they] would love to say ‘this was made in Rwanda.’”

Check out the video below to find out more about Inzuki Designs and click through the gallery above to see some of Isibo’s creations.

spc african start up Inzuki designs_00002106.jpg
Designer turns passion into profit
02:42 - Source: CNN

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