Business Name: enyé
Business Type: African Lifestyle
Business Owner: Kokwe Yebovi
Respondent: Ambavi Longe
At the recent Easter Bazaar shopping event, one stall was foregrounding. They seemed to have a controlling hold of the universe. You could not help but stare at the beautiful yet intentional African décor. The stall seemed to have distinct spirits of warmth and graciousness. Items of genuineness and rarity adorned the stall, you enter what was originally intended to be a stall; you enter a type of ambience, something regal. Relish this interview by the lady curator who wore an antique naturally dreadlocked coiffure.
Can you tell us what kind of business you run?
So, we run an African lifestyle brand and it’s more than just a business to us. We are all about promoting Africa. Our brand philosophy is embedded in everything beginning from the name (enyé, meaning I). A lot of people make it seem like being African is a substandard status, for us, it’s about appreciating and promoting what is African. Whether it’s clothes or artworks the entire idea is for you to appreciate what is truly African and not see it as inferior.
Why are you in this type of business?
This an interesting question, because it is a pretty difficult line of work; from sorting things to ensuring the quality of each item. But it is where the passion of the visionary stems from. She started off travelling the West African region, and dealing in clay pots, mirrors, furniture and other decorative items. She later began incorporating clothing and accessories into enyé
What is your staff strength?
Apart from the CEO and I, we have five other members of staff. However enyé is definitely a family affair, so we also enjoy full support from family and friends.
This brand line speaks for itself because it is somewhat similar to culinary, how do you advertise?
It does, but these days, the market is saturated because there are too many businesses, even Coca-Cola advertises for the purpose of relevance. I would say that is why we are doing Mente De Moda, interacting with people is priceless. We also run social media ads but that is saturated as well, so we are at a phase where we are exploring the available channels and other techniques of advertising.
What is the focus of your business? Whom do you consider your target market?
There are different categories of people that we can attract. First, are the people who are not interested in African things at all which can be really difficult, we try to make what we do as inclusive and open as possible, so everyone is expected to come with whatever they think and see things for themselves. There is also the category of people who love Africa and everything related, this category of people is an apparent attraction, and there are also people who are in the middle, they are an opportunity for us to pitch other items to if they like what they see they just go ahead and get them.
Why do think your customers prefer your brand to others in your line of business?
It’s an awesome question and SMEs should answer this kind of question, it defines everything. Why you? People buy from brands that they believe in. for our brand, we keep getting better in outsourcing, designs, and we keep learning and improving. We also treat our customers with genuine love, choosing to serve them better. Among other things, we have a user-friendly website now, with great content been churned out on our blog.
How long have you been in this type of business or other businesses generally?
Our business evolves. In business generally, from clay pots, I’d say over 10 years. Enye has been in existence for 4 years now.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
As big it may sound right now. 5 years from now, if you are thinking African lifestyle, we want you to think enyé. We want to be a global brand around that time.
What is the impact of technology on your business?
Our website has launched right now. So, evidently, we are on the side of technology.
What are the biggest issues faced by running this business?
The biggest issue we have faced right now is for people to recognise the value of the African culture. It is quite a novel idea. Years ago, people would have looked at me and gone ‘’why do you have dada?” but right now, things have changed, you cannot imagine the number of people on natural dreads at the moment. More people are embracing it day after day although it is not instantly palatable to everybody at first.
In what ways has your company helped the community where it is located?
We try as much as possible to give back to society. enyé as a brand is community centred. What this means is that. Everything is African and we are aware that most African think that made in Africa items are high-ended but the truth is; if you consider the work that has gone into a handmade bag for instance, in terms time, effort and resources then you would also know that it’s money that it is justifiable. The artisans are members of the community, if they are paid well, the community is better for it.