Hemma creates fresh, elegant collections using authentic hand-woven Kente, a textile rich in African royal tradition. Kente began to flourish in West Africa in the 17th century and still remains prominent representing social prestige, luxury, and cultural sophistication. Each garment is uniquely handmade from intricately hand-woven Kente imported from Ghana. By incorporating the same techniques used to dress Ghanaian nobility for centuries, Hemma allows each client to exude royalty. By investing in quality pieces that last a lifetime, the lives of Ghanaian school children are also impacted. A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to a West African middle school where the designers instructed classes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

HAITI: Turning a Tragedy into Change

Maybe this disaster in Haiti will finally be an international wake up call for the industrialized countries to stop not only ignoring but also to stop purposely hurting Haiti simply because they were stronger in spirit and might once upon a time.

If you think Haiti became the poorest country in the western Hemisphere w/o some help, please take this opportunity to learn. Every disaster can be an opportunity for change.

Learn about the structural adjustment programs that have kept this small country in such deep debt for decades. One of the most heinous white collar crimes that industrialized countries are getting away with is pushing less industrialized countries into corners where they have few FAIR options and forcing astronomical dedts on these countries that they will never be able to climb out of, thus forcing them into modern day slavery: socio-economic & political servitude is the slavery of the 21st Century. In today's global economy there are many non-military ways of forcing weaker countries to give in to the demands of the more powerful-- more "quiet" ways that kill even more civilians than wars do.

Unless industrialized countries move to absolve these unrealistic loans imposed on under-developed countries such as Haiti, they will not only continue to be ill prepared for any natural disaster that comes their way but be ill prepared to create a stable, healthy and prosperous nation.

Text 90999 to Donate $10 to the Red cross each time you do it. It's easy enough for any of us to do and only takes a minute. Change has always historically been proven to happen not when celebrities, the wealthy or political figures believe in something but when the general public is behind a cause, folks like you or me.

Have we as a country done enough? Have individuals done enough? What do we need to do next? There will be much to do to rebuild in the future, what should be the priorities? What are you planning to do in the next year?

We need sustainable, lasting change in Haiti not just transient media attention.

Watch this NY Times Video to understand some of what is being done and not done!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Behind the Scenes: The Hemma Launch Party

The Hemma Launch Party marked a momentous step for Hemma - It was finally time for us to unveil the 2010 collection and come out to the public as a lifestyle brand embracing African luxury.

It was a bumpy ride on the road to planning the official launch and we worked around the clock to create a fabulous event. During the ups and downs, we added new hats to our personal collection - that of event planners, decorators, budgetary gurus, and miracle workers.

We had been laying the groundwork for the event since the summer of ‘09, when it was first slated to take place! But as with everything in business, it often takes twice as much preparation and money to complete a new phase.

We moved our first date to re-strategize marketing. Our second date was moved for us when the venue canceled our reservations a week before Mercedes Benz Fashion Week!

Barely any designer can escape the drama of fashion week…amongst all the drama, we managed to host an amazing launch. Here are some tips on planning your own event:

1. Provide take-away materials for the attendees to hold on to. This must include your company description, product description, price points, contact information, and ways to purchase your products. During our event, we gave away press kits containing the Hemma catalog, sales sheet, about us information page, the Hemma and Hemma Foundation press release, and an amazing giveaway.

2. Give the public strong representations of your work! Showcase your products in the best way possible by allowing the public to step into a space that embraces your company’s vision. For the launch, we wanted to share the Hemma experience. There was warm golden d├ęcor with tropical floral arrangements, delicious hor’dourves, carefully selected wines, chic models, amazing black stylized mannequins to display garments, and a great loft space to host the event.

3. Have your invites arrive at least two weeks before the event!

4. Create buzz to increase the amount of attendees. A great tool to use is online marketing, a quick and easy way to get the information out to countless people. We researched different media outlets and industry personnel that we wanted to attend our event and sent them our press kits and evites. This proved to be beneficial as the majority of attendees were the ones we connected with online.

5. Know when to splurge and when to cut corners! There are countless components that go into planning an event. The cost can sky-rocket quickly if attention is not paid to every detail. Cutting corners in the right areas can save several hundred dollars. Being a luxe brand, we had to be very strategic on when to cut corners and when to splurge:

· SPLURGE: Great stylized mannequins were a major component in displaying our clothing and something that we can use on future events.

· SAVE: Instead of opting with a modeling agency and paying an agency fee, we used Model Mayhem to select models from varying agencies while cutting out the middle man.

· SAVE: For catering, we used an amazing chef that happened to be a friend. Tapping into the resources around you is a great way to save money!

SPLURGE: Styling for our collection was definitely a splurge. Presenting our garments with pieces of similar quality was a must for the Hemma Team.

6. Get a great photographer to capture the event. Using a videographer is definitely a plus for future marketing.

7. Enjoy the event! It is easy to get tied up with all the mayhem that goes on behind the scenes when hosting an event. During the event mingle, relax, and marvel at the results of your hard work.

Check out full photo coverage HERE