Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
How is it made: Kente is now made from cotton spools that are naturally dyed in an endless array of colors. Colors of thread are chosen by the Kente weaver and woven on a wooden loom, as was done hundreds of years ago.
What is special about these Kente technicians is that they inherit the right, as only a particular group of families in Ghana are allowed to learn this sacred skill. Watch a video of Hemma's Kente weaver doing his thing!
Each color has a specific meaning and each pattern has its own symbolism. The combination of colors and patterns tell a story. Kente, like no other fabric is rich with meaning.
6 yards of Kente takes 2-3 months to weave and the intricate patterns are all weaved by eye, which is unbelievable because there are all sorts of lines, shapes and figures that are perfectly formed without any measuring tools. To give you a sense of the time it takes to make Kente, 3 yards is approximately the amount of Kente used in 1 full suit of size 0. For all of these reasons, each Hemma garment is unique in color, pattern and there will never be 2 identical pieces. Each piece is original and of the highest quality. Only the best was made for African royalty. Kente is not only the highest quality fabric in Africa but surpasses most around the world.
Now you too can feel like greatness wearing Hemma!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
- Do I get along with them as people? (You will most likely be spending large amounts of time sharing and communicating with them)
- Do they share my motivation and drive to make the business a success?
- What are you looking for in an investor?
- What do they want out of the deal?
- Do you trust them?
- INTERNET RESEARCH: We searched for grants in all fields we thought would apply. Who would give you money? Be very inclusive and search broadly at first not only specific to your industry but specific to who you are (ie: student, woman, person of color; were just a few of the criteria we looked into).
- YOUR FAMILY: The closest people to you, who would probably be very supportive of you doing such a courageous thing like starting your own business. Ask them for money: parents, granny's, aunts, uncles.
- USE YOUR NETWORK: Whether you are a student, employee, parent etc, use yoru network of people. They may be potential investors themselves or more likely than that is that they will know someone who would be interested in investing. Tell as many people you can about your business! You have to basically become your company, its biggest fan and cheerleader. The more people you tell, the more people will hear about your company and possibly want to contribute. That is pretty much how we met our investors.
- READ as much as you can about business related issues, including tips on effective ways to get investment for your specific industry. One publication I would recommend is Inc. Magazine, read the magazine or articles online, its great for the new business owner! I also recommend SBA another organization that helps small businesses with a wide range of services from loans to counseling.
- YOURSELF: Cindy and I invested our own capital at Hemma's inception and we did so willingly because we both really believed that we would see a return. We had both just graduated college when we decided to start Hemma, so we were not at all financially established, but that goes to show that you do not necessarily need large sums at the inception of your company.
- HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN:
- Learn how to write a business plan by internet/book research and by looking at templates online or from friends
- Be very detailed when writing
- It's OK to not have all the answers about your business at the very beginning of writing your plan, the more you research, the clearer they may become
- Make the cover and writing style within very professional and concise
- A business plan is your way to convince someone that you have a great product, service or idea so treat it as such!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As I got older, the fashion industry just seemed more unreachable. It's a tough industry to not only break into but be big in, there's so much competition. But I never let go of my passion and followed that interest by making clothes for myself, taking classes at FIT and modeling at dozens of fashion shows. This pic to the left is a show I did for 1Soul designs, a great company run by great guys who are very dedicated to community change through fashion!
By exploring different sides of fashion, I've gained a great view into the fashion industry and the business of it all- the good and the bad. (That's a whole other post in itself)
Like everybody, we're multi-dimensional and have several interests (hopefully). So I explored a lot of different fields and still was at a loss in college. What was I gonna do with me life!?
I got so frustrated with this question that I just stopped worrying about it and started just living my life. I decided, thinking it to death wasn't getting me anywhere. So I did the opposite, I decided to explore life and see where that took me. How'd I do that...I just left. I left the country through NYU's study abroad program. I went to London for my first semester of my junior year and then went to Ghana in the Spring.
One thing I did always maintain tho was my unbelievably optimistic state of mind and I suggest that people start making that change in them, because that's one of the things that has helped bring me so much success. Everbody explores through different ways, mine was traveling...take the risk to find your way!
Hemma blossomed out of my exploring life and taking a chance to live in Africa. If you too are interested in attaining a high level of performance in any field whether fashion or not, this post might help. It has great tips to live by!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
While studying abroad in Ghana, Edna and I both volunteered as teachers at La Yahoushua Junior Secondary School. While I taught math, Edna was a biology teacher. Before this, I was a teacher's assistant in NYC and for some reason, brought with me the assumption that the experience would be similar. The only thing that was similar was the usual class disruptions due to some students cracking jokes. Other than that, it took me a while to get used to being called madam and children running to the front of the classroom to assist me if I dropped something by mistake. They were so polite!!! Edna and I also were advisors for the after-school photoclub but only another couple of entries can properly describe the crazy wonderful experiences we had during field trips and club meetings after school. We learned so much from these children and they really helped us in discovering what Ghana was really about. We never wanted to leave those experiences behind, and through hemma, we won't. A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to the Ghanaian school system.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The idea for hemma came about when we studied abroad in Ghana. We were there during the our junior year in the Spring of 07. This was a major turning point in both of our lives because we were able to become so detached from our lives in New York and fully immerse ourselves in the Ghanaian lifestyle. We were both worried when we first got there and weren't sure if we could last an entire semester. But by the time we left, we cried our eyes out because we didn't want to leave Ghana behind. Through hemma we've found a way to bring some of Ghana back with us and share it with New York. We fell into the idea of creating a clothing line, it started off unintentionally. While in Ghana we loved the wide array of West African fabrics and garment designs, so we started designing clothes for ourselves. Between Cindy and I we made dozens of pieces, including garments made out of Kente fabric. Everyone in Ghana and the NYU program loved it. When we came back to NY we got the same reception. A lightbulb clicked for us. We decided that we wanted to share the clothing that we loved so much by starting hemma.