In the world of design, particularly luxury footwear, there is something truly inspirational about working with the finest leathers, fabrics and decorative elements that are reflective of a country’s design aesthetic. Nana and Afua Dabanka, the creative duo behind the incredibly beautiful MONAA brand, are taking the world by storm with their luxury footwear label that takes its inspiration from their proud Ashanti heritage.
LoA found out more about this unique and truly beautiful, handcrafted luxury footwear brand this month that is taking the world by storm.
What does your company do?
MONAA is a luxury footwear label which we created in 2013. Our sandals are made of exquisite leathers which we source globally and beautify with embellishments inspired by our Ashanti heritage.
"Our sandals are made of exquisite leathers which we source globally and beautify with embellishments inspired by our Ashanti heritage. Each sandal is named by the artisans, because, to us, they are an integral part of MONAA, and we cherish their involvement in the production process."
What inspired you to start your company?
It was a combination of our love for fashion and our desire to have a more meaningful presence in Ghana. While continuing with our careers (Nana is an interpreter and Afua is a banker), we both studied footwear design and construction in New York and London, respectively. One day we started dreaming up the idea of creating a footwear label made in Ghana. We then quickly started putting concepts and designs together and that's how MONAA was born.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Our sandals are handmade, from the cutting of the soles to the stitching of the leathers. At times, the production would have to continue during power outages and the artisans would have to turn the wheels of the sewing machines by hand. Each sandal is named by the artisans, because, to us, they are an integral part of MONAA, and we cherish their involvement in the production process. Our sandals are a labor of love and our customer would be a proud purveyor of a small part of our culture.
"Looking into the future, we want to grow our brand and have a retail or online presence in countries globally. We plan to expand our range of sandals to include more collections and styles and would like to work on interesting collaborations with established designers."
Tell us a little about your team
We are both the designers and creative directors of MONAA. Our production team is located in Ghana and we are now expanding to Ethiopia.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
In this short time, we have experienced so many situations to which we have had to adapt very quickly, from the lack of materials on the ground to finding even more inspiration from the Ghanaian cultural aesthetic. And it has been most rewarding!
"We want to be one of the most relevant footwear labels that was established in Africa."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Looking into the future, we want to grow our brand and have a retail or online presence in countries globally. We plan to expand our range of sandals to include more collections and styles and would like to work on interesting collaborations with established designers. We want to be one of the most relevant footwear labels that was established in Africa.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
It is incredibly satisfying to have a customer buy, wear and love our sandals!
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Keep pushing, no matter the circumstance! It will certainly be difficult in the beginning but being aware of that will put everything in perspective during the tough times.
Contact or follow MONAA
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA it makes us truly proud to recognise those companies and brands that are truly world-class, especially in their production processes when they celebrate the finest African artisan craftsmanship. The team at MONAA are a great example of a fine AfroLuxe brand being built on the African continent but with global appeal due to the sheer quality of the work produced and the truly unique aesthetic approach to the design of each rare collection. To own a pair of MONAA shoes is to fall in love with a country and a powerful story of the finest artisan craftsmanship. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa