Have you ever wondered how to be successful with a career in African fashion? Are you one of the many hopefuls who dreams everyday to be the next big name in African fashion? Or are you like me, struggling to figure out how to make sense of a career with African fashion without losing yourself in it all? You are not alone! The truth is to make a career out of fashion and style from Africa is to venture into a world of struggles, failures, disappointments and more disappointments. No one wants to invest in African fashion and as much as I wish it wasn’t the case, it’s the harsh reality. African fashion remains in a very precarious state and forget what people say or write, it has a long, long, long way to go before it finds it’s own credible space in the global fashion industry. As difficult as this may seems and even with what I have just written, this post is about why I think, you should take a “Leap” with African fashion in 2016.
I say “Leap” into African fashion because there is no easy way to be successful if you are not all in or out. Implementation of any of your African fashion ideas will be really, really difficult and there will be no easy days. Whether it’s with figuring out who your customer base is or how to even sell, making sense of your African fashion brand will involving taking a leap as you try to build customer loyalty, trust or solidify relationships with your potential customers. If you have no idea how to even take a leap, you are also not alone.
Enter Tess Vigeland! Tess was the successful host of Marketplace Money on NPR until she stepped down from the show in November of 2012 with no plan B. She did so to find the career and the future she really wanted. All of her experience were written in the form of a book entitled “Leap” which she described as a book “for the multitude of Americans who change jobs mid-career (by choice or circumstance), the growing legions of freelance workers, and the entrepreneurially-minded who see self-employment as an increasingly more appealing and viable option.”
Tess Vigeland created a personal and well-researched account of leaping without a net that can be used as a guide for anyone interested in taking African fashion to new heights in 2016. New York Times best selling author of The $100 startup, Chris Guillebeau described “Leap” as a “brave book about leaving a job you love (or don’t really love) to find something even better. Even if you’ve already reached Dream Job status – and especially if you haven’t – it will show you how to get what you really want out of your career and your life.”
I recommend this book for anyone interested in being successful with African fashion. It’s extremely difficult to leave the comfort and security of a job that pays your bills for something that you are not sure about it’s future. I struggle with the idea of doing so every single day. The truth is, to be successful with anything and most especially African fashion, you will have to choose to leap or do nothing at all. But of course leaping towards a future with African fashion will entail fear, and anxiety, and freedom even if it means not knowing what is next. To leap into African fashion will not be a linear or simple process. You will most likely stumble so, so, so many times before you find your voice or your big break. To be clear, the journey would be very rough and it’s okay. What I know for sure is that if you take a leap, no matter how small, the end would be worth it. So, in 2016, I am taking a leap into African fashion full-time. I am scared and not sure of what the future holds. But one thing I know for sure, I have been waiting for this moment for a lifetime and I look forward to the future wholeheartedly.