Lamine Ndiaye, a young entrepreneur of Senegalese origin who is passionate about fashion. A costume designer in audiovisual production, Lamine is the founder of the Yelloow brand, which specializes in the design and sale of 100% African bags. A great defender of local consumption and his goal is to promote all that Senegal has to offer in the field of art and creation. Since Lamine was a child, he has been passionate about fashion. It is therefore quite natural that he chose to undertake this field, while seeking to stand out from the others. For him, entrepreneurship is a factor of development.
Yellow is a brand that offers accessories such as backpacks, travel bags, shoes, computer bags, fanny packs, handbags etc. To successfully promote local consumption, Yellow brings out the originality and quality of its products by using very stylish, colorful and rare African raw materials such as wax, woodin, or upholstery fabrics patched with leather or suede, which makes the products chic and stylish with sustainable use.
Yellow aims to be a brand committed to showcasing African potential in all its artistic variations. The know-how of an Africa that restores itself in its dignity and honour through the creativity of the African.
Maelle CABARRUS: The Creator Of The A LA FOLIE
Maelle CABARRUS is a hair coach and hair youtuber since 2010. She is the founder of À La Folie, a research company on textured hair, beauty and self-esteem coaching for black and mixed-race women. Maelle started researching frizzy hair extensively pretty quickly, from the moment she became a youtuber. Her goal is to always better understand textured hair and to provide women with this texture with the tools, keys and methodologies to enhance their hair, themselves and restore the bit of self-esteem.
Her motivation didn’t just come from a desire to share and make the best videos possible. It was also, and in large part, a determination on my part to have the longest, most beautiful hair possible. Kind of like a revenge on life, or a slightly childish attempt, to repair all the anger and resentment she had built up towards my hair.
“I want black women to love their hair and think they look beautiful with it. I want wigs and weaves to be for us first and foremost a means of fantasy, not a default option every other month to “take a break”. I want our hair to be “natural” for us. That wearing them is obvious and natural, that it flows naturally, without any fuss”. says Maelle CABARRUS Founder À La Folie
À La Folie have supported more than 3,500 women in our online programs and served a clientele of more than 8,000 people through our various ebooks and coaching services.
Oumy Saran Keita: Eco-friendly African Artist
Oumy Saran Keita is a Senegalese entrepreneur with a passion for African art. In 2021, she decided to step out of her comfort zone to launch a project that was close to her heart, Kalifa design. A brand that specializes in the design of handmade art objects, with recycled materials.
Having been fortunate enough to grow up with a father who was a visual artist, she has always had a rather special relationship with art. In December 2019, tired of the cold of Paris, she decided to make her first lamp sketches, to give more warmth to the decoration of her office. A dozen sketches were made from it, carefully preserved.
3 years later, back in Senegal, she launched Kalifa Design, an eco-responsible interior design brand offering products designed mainly with recycled materials. All items are handmade and made in Senegal. The name “Kalifa”, which means heritage, symbolises his entire project. The logo features an outstretched hand towards a symbol used by the Adinkra, a West African people.
Oumy Saran Keita uses recycled materials to make papier-mâché which is the basis of all lighting fixtures and works with local artisans to create wooden plates, mirrors, storage boxes and textiles. Kalifa has allowed her to return to the things that are essential to her balance: painting, sculpture and drawing.
Olufunke Tonye Preghafi on Blot Beauty Cosmetics and SMART GLAM
Olufunke Tonye Preghafi is a 17-year beauty veteran in the African beauty space and Founder of Blot Beauty Cosmetics her brainchild, launched in 2015, to meet the needs of multicultural women. With an international appeal and a dedicated sense of community and impact, Olufunke Tonye-Preghafi is expanding her reach to not just create one of the biggest brands to come out of Nigeria but to achieve this while playing her part in building a formidable beauty industry. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online (BAO), Olufunke shares her passion for African beauty ecosystem, how her brand, Blot Beauty Cosmetics is addressing the challenges in the industry and the inspiration behind her newly launched beauty product, SMART GLAM, etc.
Alaba: Could you briefly tell us about Blot Beauty Cosmetics and the solutions you offer?
Olufunke: Blot Beauty is an innovative beauty brand leveraging data and technology to develop makeup and skincare products tailored to individuals of African heritage.
Alaba: How long has Blot Beauty Cosmetics been in business, and what problems are you solving?
Olufunke: Blot Beauty started in 2016, and I have been a major player in the African beauty space for the past 17 years. Being a part of key transformations in the ecosystem, the beauty industry in Africa faces a significant challenge due to the scarcity of data, from customer preferences to purchasing patterns. However, we are at the forefront of addressing this issue through innovative AI-powered beauty tools that harness data effectively.
Alaba: You just launched a new product, SMART GLAM, for the market. What is the inspiration and goal for this product launch?
Olufunke: The inspiration and goal for the SMART GLAM product launch revolve around transforming the beauty experience for consumers. SMART GLAM is driven by the vision to bring innovation, personalization, and convenience to the beauty industry. The goal is to empower users with an all-in-one beauty app that offers virtual try-ons, skin personalization tools, digital shade finders, and more, making beauty accessible and enjoyable for everyone. By merging technology with beauty data, SMART GLAM aspires to set new standards for inclusivity, sustainability, and tech-driven beauty experiences.
Alaba: When it comes to marketing and brand positioning, do you have a particular consumer or market in mind?
Olufunke: Yes, when it comes to marketing and brand positioning for SMART GLAM, our primary focus is on the modern, tech-savvy consumer who values convenience, personalization, and the seamless integration of technology into their beauty routine. SMART GLAM is designed to resonate with individuals who appreciate innovation, inclusivity, and the ability to explore and express their unique beauty with the help of cutting-edge technology. While our target market is diverse, we aim to attract users who are eager to embrace the future of beauty and experience it in a more interactive and personalized manner.
Alaba: In terms of successes and challenges, can you briefly share more insights into the beauty industry in Africa, starting with Nigeria?
Olufunke: In the African beauty industry, particularly in Nigeria, successes and challenges in innovation and technology are prominent. Successes include the emergence of tech-driven startups like SMART GLAM, with Blot Beauty introducing and offering consumers innovative solutions. The industry is progressing towards inclusivity and representation, with brands acknowledging the diverse beauty needs of African consumers.
Challenges encompass limited infrastructure and connectivity in some regions, data accessibility, regulatory hurdles, and the need for consumer education on the benefits of beauty technology. Despite challenges, the African beauty industry is on a trajectory of growth and transformation through technology and innovation.
Alaba: How is Blot Beauty Cosmetics different from competitors?
Olufunke: Blot Beauty is at the forefront of the beauty tech revolution. While many beauty brands offer only products, Blot Beauty integrates cutting-edge technology into its offerings, providing users with a seamless and personalized beauty experience through tools like virtual try-ons, skin personalization, and digital shade finders.
We place a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-conscious practices. From biodegradable packaging to sustainability initiatives, the brand is dedicated to reducing its environmental footprint, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable beauty products.
Alaba: Where do you see Blot Beauty Cosmetics in the next 5 years?
Olufunke: In the next five years, Blot Beauty Cosmetics envisions itself as a global leader in the beauty industry. It will expand its presence internationally, becoming known for its technology-driven beauty solutions and commitment to inclusivity. The brand’s sustainability efforts will further solidify its role as a champion of eco-friendly practices.
Blot Beauty will continue to build strategic partnerships for the African beauty industry, broaden its product range, enhance user engagement, and be recognized as a pioneer in redefining the future of beauty experiences.