#BGFCommunity — Meet Amira Rasool the Black Woman Founder bringing luxury handmade items from African Designers to the world
#BGFCommunity is our spotlight series featuring brands and businesses led by Black women and non-binary people.
This month we meet Amira Rasool founder of The Folklore an innovative online retail concept based in New York City.
Amira shares more about the idea behind The Folklore and some of the challenges she’s faced in the early stages of the business.
Can you tell us about The Folklore?
The Folklore is a direct-to-consumer multi-brand eCommerce platform that sells luxury and emerging designers from Africa and the Diaspora to global customers. The Folklore launched in 2017 after taking a trip to South Africa and I fell in love with the designers that I came across there, they were so unique and very different from what I had been used to seeing and so I wanted to bring these designs to the US and that’s how The Folklore began.
“I wanted to provide a platform for African designers who don’t have the opportunity to distribute globally.”
What is the inspiration behind The Folklore?
The Folklore was always an extension of my style, the aesthetics I would say was inspired by my travels, especially in East Asia. I love the street style there and so I wanted to create a platform that speaks to well-travelled customers who are looking for something that is unique and helps them stand out from the crowd.
I’ve chosen to focus on Africa and the Diaspora because that’s what I’m passionate about, and I wanted to provide a platform for African designers who don’t have the opportunity to distribute globally.
What are some of the challenges that you faced when trying to start The Folklore?
The problems I faced with The Folklore was trying to get the products from Africa to the US with very little money which was quite difficult. What I used to do was grab items from the various designers in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos and transfer them through my luggage. It was also very challenging not having a background in retail which was a big learning curve for me and required a lot of research.
“I like to have a plan because without it I would not have a sense of direction.”
How do you maintain balance in your everyday work life?
I do the minimum to maintain balance, I don’t do much self-care. There are of course things that I like doing such as listening to podcasts and listening to the radio in the morning but most importantly I keep to a routine not necessarily because of self-care but because that is what’s going to allow me to get through work for that day, also I like to have a plan because without it I would not have a sense of direction.
“I want to be able to provide resources and give the tools that can empower others who are building their brand.”
How do you wish to inspire young and aspiring creatives?
I don’t know if I necessarily want to inspire anyone, I want to empower them. I want to be able to empower by speaking with founders starting and giving advice. I want to be able to provide resources and give the tools that can empower others who are building their own business. Typically that’s what The Folklore is all about which is providing a platform for small businesses to reach an audience which they may not have been able to reach that moment in their career.
What do you envision for yourself and The Folklore over the next decade?
I want to build a very big profitable business and allow not just The Folklore to employ a hundred and thousands of people but also for the designers to employ a hundred and thousands of people. Also being able to build a sustainable supply chain and distribution solution for not just luxury fashion but also mid-level contemporary fashion will stand the test of time so that these brands can have a long-lasting impact in their communities.