I live in a town called Kpalim, located in the Plateau region of the Republic of Togo. I have loved living and working here since Kpalim is among one of the largest tourist centers in Togo due to it’s natural wonders and culture of artisans. The majority of my family including 5 of my 6 siblings as well as my father are all in various artistic trades. I started an apprenticeship as a seamstress and after three years I graduated to continue independently. I have now been working as a seamstress for 16 years from my home.
Five years into the trade, I fell pregnant with my second oldest child and my doctor ordered Chantels Handmade Handbags for Nest me to stop using the foot pedal sewing machine as it could potentially harm the baby. I respected his orders but could not rest, therefore I took the opportunity to explore other mediums such as the fabric dying traditions of West Africa. While continuing to work solely as a seamstress, occasionally I would make the dyed fabric to sell to some of my clients. I also tried to supplement my current work by making ready-made bags to sell in the market. I used inexpensive imported materials to make them at a price marketable to the local population. Then in 2008, I met a former Peace Corps volunteer posted in a nearby town working to develop small businesses. With her help, this past year I have developed these talents into a successful enterprise through marketing my products to a local and international market. I have more than tripled my operations while fulfilling the desire of my clients for trendy bags and accessories all made locally with a focus on preserving traditional techniques.
I hope to finish the construction of a workshop offering free training and employment to orphans and those unable to invest in learning a trade. I know the importance of offering handmade items to promote the art of my culture, and I hope that whoever purchases aklala’s products will know that it was something made by talented hands to be shared with the world.