Did you know the artisan sector is the second largest employer in the developing world? It’s true, and the majority of artisans are women who create handcrafted goods using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Michelle Obama is well known for discovering and supporting up-and-coming designers from a variety of backgrounds and cultural influences and bringing them to prominence. From Taiwanese-Canadian Jason Wu to Finnish Teija Eilola to Nigerian Maki Oh, the former First Lady has placed a number of designers on the world stage and catapulted their careers forward.
Now Marketplace Africa offers fashion-forward style setters everywhere the same opportunity to discover emerging designers from Africa and showcase what may be the next “it” designer.
Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, fueling a $31 billion fashion industry and its ownAfrica Fashion Week. This economic success has given birth to some of the hottest new fashion designers that are little known outside of Africa and waiting to be discovered by American style-setters. Nigerian designer Maki Oh has been worn by celebrities from Rihanna to Beyoncé to Michelle Obama. But many other designers are waiting to be discovered outside of their native countries and now Marketplace Africa makes it easy.
Marketplace Africa, a joint venture between global shipping leader DHL and Africa’s e-commerce leader, Mall forAfrica, features more than 80 designers and a full range of accessories, as well as men’s fashion and gifts. The partnership takes the complexity and uncertainty out of global online shopping. DHL handles all logistics services for the marketplace, including an exclusive product-verification process prior to shipping, while Mall for Africa’s award-winning, patented e-commerce platform manages Marketplace Africa’s proprietary platform and payment system. So American shoppers have access to the innovative designers and craftspeople across Africa creating stunning, world-class products using both traditional and cutting-edge techniques, while African businesses are able to connect to new markets and new customers.
With Nigeria’s unemployment rate hovering at 14.2% and a staggering 89.5% of the country living in extreme poverty, it’s the female artisans who are making a positive impact on their country’s economy and future.
So this holiday season, why not gift different and buy global? Choose a Blingshiki, a modern twist on the classic Dashiki, adorned with sparkling embellishments, or grab a pair of colorful Zig sandals.
Look, this is my pick from Marketplace Africa – A lovely hand made purse. It can be a great gift for mom, sisters, friends… When you purchase authentic African clothing and handicrafts directly from Marketplace Africa, you’re not just buying something beautiful, you’re investing in artisans who weave their rich cultural traditions into soulful creations. Empowering female artisans and boosting their communities is the real beauty of shopping at Marketplace Africa. And that’s a holiday gift that’s priceless.