Capturing the spirit of Africa is central to the vision of the women entrepreneurs behind the BIIKA brand, which celebrates Africa Rising by harnessing local creative talent and materials to create its uniquely Ugandan range of accessories.
LoA shares the entrepreneurial story behind the BIIKA brand and the women who have created it
What does your company do?
BIIKA is a one of a kind company that makes authentic handbags using Ugandan materials and labor.
"BIIKA was formed at a time when the the media was awash with the image of the Acacia tree and the quote “Africa is rising”. BIIKA was therefore formed as a response to the fact that it was a truly a time for Africa to rise and become."
What inspired you to start your company?
BIIKA was formed at a time when the the media was awash with the image of the Acacia tree and the quote “Africa is rising”. BIIKA was therefore formed as a response to the fact that it was a truly a time for Africa to rise and become. The formation of the company was also greatly inspired by the need to change the impression that people had (and maybe still do to an extent) of African artistry. We wanted to create thoughtfully produced bags that made our clients RAVING FANS and that showed them what Africa is - who WE are.
Why should anyone use your service or product?: Our bags are thoughtfully designed and made.
Each product is made in a specific way and isn't repeated unless on request. The BIIKA customer can be sure that when purchase a BIIKA bag, they are purchasing a one of a kind product. We also use authentic African materials that reflect the spirit of Africa and Uganda in specific.A worthwhile investment that will stand the test of time. Also the purchase of a BIIKA bag will go a long way in ensuring that a man or woman in Africa with a great gift within in them has a job and can support their families.
"In the coming years, BIIKA will be known as an outstanding Ugandan brand producing authentic African bags. We hope to follow in the footsteps of various African companies that have raised the bar for African artistry."
Tell us a little about your team
The BIIKA team is composed of two women - Liz Atukunda and Bunda Anne Katende. Liz is a lawyer and a banker with a great appreciation for beautiful things. Bunda is a childcare specialist who runs a preschool in Kampala and is also a mother of three beautiful children. We believe that the gift and ability to create things is the evidence of the presence of God in man and we love to share our gift with the world.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
The first BIIKA bag was made in December 2010, and looking back now, it was a less than pleasing green zipper clutch.We have since made better and much more impressive bags, I am happy to say. The company was formally started in 2012 and we began stocking our creations in various stores in June 2012. We have come a long way from that initial zipper clutch and are continuously working to improve and produce better products that will satisfy our clients.
"Simply knowing that every BIIKA bag that has been made, sold and bought is evidence that WE were here. We made a difference in this world - what a feeling!"
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We plan that in the coming years, BIIKA will be known as an outstanding Ugandan brand producing authentic African bags. We hope to follow in the footsteps of various African companies that have raised the bar for African artistry. We hope to double our distributorship this year and increase our overseas sales, and we also hope to set up our very own online shop this year. In the next year our plan is to open a shop in Kampala to make it easier for our customers to access our products.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Simply knowing that every BIIKA bag that has been made, sold and bought is evidence that WE were here. We made a difference in this world - what a feeling!
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Just start! Don’t not wait for approval from someone else. Allow yourselves the opportunity to be vulnerable - after all, it’s a vulnerable place where you make something and launch it in public, not knowing if people will buy it or not, or if people will approve of it or not, or if your venture will be a continuous labor of love. So, just allow yourselves to be vulnerable and do it - from that place, wondrous things are born.
Contact or follow BIIKA
Why LoA loves it….
There is something powerful about creating products that are inspired by a real sense of African pride, and which are authentic in terms of their production, utilising local craftsmanship and expertise, whilst staying true to the source of that African pride. At BIIKA, these two young women entrepreneurs are showing the world that African inspiration runs through the heart of their brand and everything they produce, and it is that unique quality which appeals to the legion of global fans who are now buying their work. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa