IMAGE OF THE DAY
“They say that a picture says a thousand words, and we couldn't agree more. In the world of Lionesses of Africa, we celebrate women's entrepreneurship in all its forms on the continent, and we love the powerful images that conjure up the spirit of women-owned businesses and the products and services they create. These images give us an insight into the unique creativity that exists here in Africa and that is capturing the imagination of the world. Each Monday to Friday, Lionesses of Africa features a striking 'Image of the Day' that celebrates the work, or a moment in the life of, a talented African woman entrepreneur. Enjoy!”
— Melanie Hawken, LoA founder and editor-in-chief
Image of the Day: ‘Ankara Jewelry’ … from African Things, maker of contemporary African inspired lifestyle products that are functional with innovative designs in a manner that empowers Africans. Founder Oluwatosin Lawson from Nigeria aims to change the negative image associated with African manufacturing and become a symbol for high quality products, whilst at the same time empowering Africans. Her product range includes backpacks, bow ties, earrings and bangles and several other fashion related items. Read More →
Image of the Day: ‘Collaborating Women’ … a photo shoot collaboration featuring Yococo, a South African artisan ice cream startup; Beauty On Tapp, a South African online beauty product retailer; and Nokware Skincare, a Ghanaian organic skincare brand. A great example of women entrepreneurs from across Africa collaborating creatively. Read more. Read More →
‘Crusty Baguettes’ … from Babette’s Bread who use traditional artisan baking techniques and top quality natural ingredients to produce bread that is wholesome and delicious. Founder Babette Kourelos traded law for bread baking and travelled to Vermont, USA to apprentice with a French baker. The apprenticeship involved the learning of old school artisan bread baking techniques as well as the cultivation and maintaining of a traditional sourdough culture. Babette brought her sourdough culture "Maggie" back to SA and uses it in the bakery every week. Read More →
‘Fun. Colourful. Eclectic’ … are the design hallmarks of Femi Handbags, an African handbags and accessories brand from Nigeria that embodies the exuberant approach to life of its founder, Femi Olayebi. Femi’s designs welcome buyers to a world where the bold and adventurous meets sophisticated elegance.
‘Hot Stuff’ … from Black Mamba, a fair trade brand of gourmet chilli products from the the Kingdom of eSwatini (Swaziland) made with organically grown ingredients and no artificial flavours or preservatives. The range includes chilli sauces, pestos, and chutneys. Co-founder Claudia Castellanos Roques partners with a local NGO called Guba that trains small farmers in organic farming. Black Mamba then buys at negotiated prices all the organic produce grown by these farmers to manufacture their products. Products are currently exported to South Africa, the UK, Germany and Australia.
‘Father’s Day Gift Idea’ … pamper Dad with the just launched range of Men’s bodycare products from Rain Africa which are all ethically produced using natural ingredients from ancient African origins. Founder Bev Missing started her project back in 1999 in her garage hoping to help solve unemployment in her hometown of Ladybrand. Today, RAIN has over 20 stores across South Africa, two unique wellness spas, and stores in Namibia, United States and Ireland.
‘Father’s Day Gift Idea’ … many Dad’s enjoy a cold beer and we’ve got just the one for celebrating Father’s Day. Toast is an award winning craft beer from South African entrepreneur Bianca Hansen. What makes her beer different is that it’s brewed using surplus fresh bread that would otherwise end up in a landfill, turning a waste product into a brand new product. Better yet is the fact that 100% of all Toast’s profits go to a charity called Soil for Life to target hunger in a sustainable way. Truly a beer with a great cause!
‘Father’s Day Gift Idea’ … get Dad into the coolest and most eco-friendly shoes on the planet from Africa’s fastest growing footwear brand, soleRebels. Founded by the truly inspirational Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, this company from day one has reimagined how footwear could be made: from the materials, to the methods of construction, to a Fair-trade company ethos. They use hand loomed fabrics, inner tube laces, recycled tire soles and hand spun cotton, all handcrafted by skilled artisans in their Addis Ababa workshop. The result: The comfiest, most creative footwear that Dad will ever wear.
MΛRY JEΛN Jewellery
‘Father’s Day Gift Idea’ … show the father figure in your life how much you love him by giving him these specially handmade cufflinks from MΛRY JEΛN Jewellery in South Africa. Founder Mary-Jean Treloar designs and manufactures fine handmade jewellery that is inspired by patterns and symbols found across the African continent.
‘Father’s Day Gift Idea’ … double sided pocket square from Eki Orleans, a luxury fashion brand designing their own African silk inspired prints. Founder Hazel Aggrey-Orleans is a brand builder using her West African heritage to create truly unique, luxury ready to wear and bespoke fashion collections, swimwear, and scarves for women, and now pocket squares for men.
‘All Ears Tote Bag’ … from Zana, a South African company that designs and produces screen printed textile products in Cape Town. Mother and daughter team, Sue and Robyn Britz, launched Zana in 2012, focused on bold fun fabric patterns and novelty giftables. Today, Zana sells to buyers and boutiques all over the world.
‘Cow Horn Jewellery’ … Margaux Wong is a talented fashion and textile designer originally from Guyana, South America, now living and working in Burundi. She specializes in elegant jewelry, handcrafted sustainably from cow horn and recycled brass. Margaux describes herself as a Burundian sustainable maker of pretty things.
‘That Special Gift’ .… from Mulandi in Mozambique, a company creating beautiful floral arrangements and gifts for those wanting to give something highly personal to their clients, friends or loved ones. Founder Vanessa Guilherme Nhabete offers a wide range of decorative event products and services, using high quality materials, creating beautiful products that are high quality yet still affordable.
‘Conscious Fashion’ .… In a world that is dominated by fast fashion, there is a beautiful, eco-conscious antidote for consumers looking for a handcrafted, designer alternative. Lunar, a two decade old, nature inspired fashion and lifestyle brand is now moving into a new era, led by South African entrepreneur Nicola Luther. From their latest collection is this classic spaghetti strap dress with soft mesh overlay.
‘Okuta Tea Set’ .… is part of an exquisite new homeware accessory collection from Mimi Shodeinde, founder of Miminat Designs. This talented creative celebrates African design in a contemporary, minimal context, combining the best of tradition with technological innovation. Her Okuta Collection is inspired by ancient Yoruba stone murals, and explores the organic and natural forms of late 14th century Yoruba design. Its combination of wood, brass, glass, ceramic and gold leaf, embodies the richness that the African continent and Yoruba culture have to offer.
House of Tara
‘Perfect Eyes and Lashes’ .… by House of Tara, Africa’s leading homegrown makeup brand. Founder Tara Fela-Durotoye, a Nigerian-born lawyer turned Africa's leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur, started her business at the age of 20 from her living room. Today, Tara has over 10,000 representatives spread across Nigeria and she is steadfastly dedicated to realizing her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin. Tara remains an inspirational role-model and mentor to make-up artists and aspiring beauty business owners across Africa.
‘Handcrafted with Care’ .… Rain Africa produces bath, body & home products that are handcrafted with natural ingredients from ancient African origins. Their products are designed to reveal and enhance the true inner beauty of your body, mind, and spirit. Founder Bev Missing firmly believes that irregularity is never a defect and that handmade is tangible evidence that a human hand crafted something with care and individuality.
‘Award-winning Winemaker’ .… Ntsiki Biyela is a South African winemaker and businesswoman who is the founder of Aslina Wines. Previously, she was head winemaker at Stellekaya Wines, where Ntsiki became the first black female winemaker in South Africa. This award-winning winemaker is rapidly winning fans around the world with her export-focused brand. In 2009 she was voted South Africa’s Woman Winemaker of the Year; and in 2017 she was listed in the world's top 20 most Innovative Women in Food and Drink by Fortune’s Food & Wine.
Miss Salon London
‘Perfect Pink Nails’ .… by Miss Salon London who have boutique nail bars in Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa. Founder Ego Iwegbu and her two partners Azania Mosaka and Linda Jangulo consider their business more of a luxury girls’ club than just nail bars. Plus they like things, nice things, and they look for them from all over the world and bring them to their customers through the salons and their online store.
MΛRY JEΛN Jewellery
‘Mmere Long Studs’.… earrings in silver and brass from MΛRY JEΛN Jewellery in South Africa. Founder Mary-Jean Treloar designs and manufactures fine handmade jewellery that is inspired by patterns and symbols found across the African continent. The design for these earrings is inspired by the Adinkra symbol ‘Mmere Dane’, meaning “Time Changes” and symbolizing change and life’s dynamics.
Lulu & Marula
‘Natural Lip Balm’ .… treat your lips to an all natural lip balm from Lulu & Marula in South Africa, who produce a collection of small batch, all natural skin care products. Founder Jesslynn Schlamm’s handcrafted, artisanal skincare products are all 100% natural, created from pure botanical oils, extracts, waters and are totally free from chemicals, fillers, perfumes and preservatives. She also makes sure to empower local businesses using ingredients and packaging that is, wherever possible, made and sourced in and around South Africa. Read more.
‘Paper Pulp Bowls’ .… from Quazi Design, a cutting edge craft company in eSwatini (Swaziland) that transforms waste magazines into original jewellery, accessories and homeware. These bowls are handmade from 100% waste newspaper, water based glue and varnish. Co-founded by Doron Shaltiel, a designer from the UK, Quazi pushes the boundaries of recycling, developing interesting techniques, including layering magazine pages to recreate the impression of wood, as if transforming the material back to its original form. Read more.
‘Mini Full Moon Bag’ …. from the Moon Capsule Collection of Bush Princess, an exclusive handbag and accessories brand handcrafted in Kenya, in a socially responsible environment. Founder Charlotte Le Febvre was born in Sweden and spent her life moving between European countries, from Italy, to France, to England. Combining her European fashion experience with the fabulous colours of African plains, she has built an exciting brand. The brand is also committed to ethical production, supporting local communities and sourcing sustainable products throughout her design and production process.
‘Functional Table Art’ …. from renowned South African artist and designer Carrol Boyes who finds the perfect synthesis between art and function in her unique homeware. Carrol’s gifting items draw their inspiration from both the human form and the beauty of nature. Her unique products are available through her 35 branded shops in South Africa and in over 30 other countries around the world.
Katy Valentine Collection
No Monday Blues Here’ …. from The Katy Valentine Collection, an emerging Cape Town based jewellery brand that creates a collection of modern, African jewellery. Katy’s pieces combine antique African beads with Jaipur gemstones and minimalist design, and are all about the interplay between African and Indian cultures.
O’live Handmade Soaps
‘Pure Plant-Based-Oil Soap’ …. from O’live Handmade Soaps in Cape Town, an artisan soap maker harnessing the unique natural qualities of indigenous herbs and plants from the world famous Cape Floral Kingdom to produce world-class skincare products. Founder Zikhona Tefu is passionate about creating quality artisan body and bath products, using only organic, vegan, natural, skin loving ingredients.
‘Flor de Laranjeira Bombons’ …. from Kakawa Chocolates, an artisanal chocolate company in Maputo, Mozambique who produce a wonderful range of chocolate bonbons using exotic local and international flavors. Co-founder Séfora Noor along with three of her best friends who have all known each other since childhood have turned their collective passion for chocolate into a thriving business.
‘Eco Construction’ …. Creating affordable housing solutions in Africa is a key challenge for many countries, and particularly homes that are eco-friendly. But Joelle Eyeson, co-founder of Hive Earth, is bringing a new and innovative solution to Ghana, and one that is replicable across the continent. Her eco construction company uses the rammed earth method of construction, using locally sourced, eco friendly and sustainable materials. The company constructs all of its buildings with mud and granite chippings.
‘Creative & Productive Space’ …. Stoep Startup is a truly unique co-working space and work retreat in the heart of the southern suburbs of Cape Town for social innovators, entrepreneurs and startups. Along with beautiful co-working spaces, founders Carrie Leaver and Shona McDonald offer bed and breakfast for travelling professionals on business trips; plus venue hire, events, workshops and a gorgeous stoep cafe.
‘Shaman Flair Necklace’ …. from SHIKHAZURI, a Kenyan based jewellery design company making its mark in global markets. Founder Shikha Vincent launched her company following her fascination with ethnic and tribal jewellery from across the African continent, combined with her desire to support wildlife conservation in her country. Her jewellery pieces all feature a strong backstory and the name for this statement African tribal necklace, Shaman Flair, is inspired by the folklore legends surrounding the “Shaman”, a person regarded as having access to, and influence in the spirit world.
‘Made in Rwanda’…. from Uzuri K&Y in Rwanda, a company creating beautiful handcrafted shoes with a unique Rwandan aesthetic. Founders Kevine Kagirimpundu and Ysolde Shimwe are two former college classmates who shared a passion for fashion and a desire to start a business venture that would create much needed jobs for their community. Despite little means, they decided to kickstart their business whilst still studying, launching Uzuri K&Y back in 2013. Today, their dream continues to go from strength to strength.
‘Eco Backpack’ …. is a “recycled plastic bottle” felt backpack from the latest range of Cape Town based, eco-fashion brand, The Joinery. Founders and sisters Natalie and Kim Ellis are at the cutting edge of using fashion to contribute to cleaning up South Africa. This design duo create products to support the drive to clean up our oceans and landfills and keep the world free from plastic waste. Their felt fabric is made from plastic bottles saved from South African landfill sites and oceans.
‘Dream of Giraffes’ …. from the latest range of infant bedding and nursery decor by Nels Babies in Namibia. Founder Beatha Shitemba has built an online-based company which specializes in unique, custom-made children’s bedding and curtains. Beatha offers a trendy Namibian alternative for boys', girls' or gender-neutral nurseries. She aims to penetrate new export markets, and to connect with more stockists and retail shops that can house her products.
‘Lipstick Clutch Bag’ …. from the new Boutique Collection of Joela Leather based in Lagos, Nigeria. Founder and designer, Yomi Odutola, produces a creative range of luxury handbags and leather accessories such as wallets and pouches. Yomi is part of an exciting vanguard of West African women brand builders who are launching exciting fashion products with a fresh take on African materials, craftsmanship and design heritage.
Start-Up Night! Africa
‘African Brands Take London By Storm’ …. The Start-Up Night! Africa event in London was the perfect occasion for a unique collaboration amongst the women entrepreneurs being showcased on the night - a joint fashion photoshoot featuring all the creations and products on show from each of the women pitching their businesses at the event, held at the Oxo Tower on London’s South Bank on 26 April. Photo credit: Gavin SF @gavinsfp.
‘Surf Vibes’ …. Bantu Wax, founded by Yodit Eklund, is an African surf brand that breaks the clichés of blonde, blue-eyed surf babes with images from Africa's own surf culture. Since its birth, Bantu has been Made In Africa, by Africans, sustainably and fairly producing a cool range of swimwear, beach and surf wear.
Karingana Wa Karingana Textiles
‘Azgo Fabric Print’ …. is a textile 100% Made in Mozambique by Karingana Wa Karingana Textiles. Founder Wacy Zacarius designs custom prints, develops artisanal textiles, produces a customisable online print catalog, creates surface design and print textiles for the fashion and homeware industry, and also provides supply chain management services. Wacy is passionate about designing luxury African textiles, challenging the status quo, and giving a voice and a platform to African artists to tell their stories through their textiles.
‘A Slow Cooking Revolution’ … is being created around the world by Sarah Collins’ company Wonderbag which manufactures, sells and distributes a cooking product known as the Wonderbag. These non-electric bags are made up of chipped foam that is housed in colourful, African-inspired printed fabrics with a drawstring at the top to retain the heat. The product allows food to be brought to the boil by conventional cooking methods and once put into the Wonderbag it will continue to cook the food for up to 12 hours.
Olivia Knox Collective
‘White Ankole Cow Horn & Brass Boxes’ … from Olivia Knox Collective, a Ugandan manufacturing collective that is focused on promoting the use of Ankole cow horn in the creation of beautiful products for the luxury markets in Europe and US. The Ankole Cow Horn is a by-product of the beef industry in Uganda. Founders Olivia Byanyima and Shanley Knox are improving the economic value of this culturally significant cattle breed, providing incentive for Ugandan ranchers to continue their ancient practice of raising the Ankole.
‘Chocolate Artisan at Work’ … For all true chocolate lovers who are constantly on the search for the purest of taste sensations and the highest quality ingredients, there is a South African brand that is getting people talking. Chocoloza, the brainchild of entrepreneur and passionate chocolatier, Vicki Bain, combines the best Belgian chocolate with the finest local, fresh African ingredients. The result is a taste sensation unlike anything else you will taste in the chocolate world. Read more.
Start-up Night! Africa - London
Image of the Day: 'The Lionesses in London' ... last night Start-up Night! Africa - London took place at Oxo Tower in front of a high-level audience of potential investors, buyers and collaborators of more than 200 people. 12 incredibly talented entrepreneurs exhibited their companies and brands reminding the world that African women are globalizing and reaching out to new international markets with their unique products. Read More →
‘Ademide Neck Piece’ … from Adèle Dejak, a premium brand of handcrafted fashion jewellery and accessories inspired by African tribes, textiles and cultural elements. This neck piece is a bold collection of ‘Afrominimalist’ jewelry produced in collaboration with Nigeria’s Afrominima. It was launched in January in Paris at the Luxury Connect Africa expo.
‘DIP Armchairs’ … from Miminat Designs, a company specializing in furniture and product design for commercial and residential projects both in the UK and internationally. Founder Mimi Shodeinde is demonstrating that African design is not only exciting in a minimal context, particularly when it comes to furniture design, but can also celebrate the best of tradition and technological innovation.
‘Africa on Silk’ …. specializes in designing and creating unique, luxury prints made of silk. Each print tells a beautiful unique story inspired by nature, travels and the African continent. Founder, Hazel Aggrey Orleans chose to work only with silk, as it is a natural fibre and it is known for its luxurious texture and feel. She loves the fact that silk is a breathable fabric and a natural temperature regulator, ideal for the connoisseur customer and those seeking to be different and stand out.
Gorilla Conservation Coffee
‘Saving Gorillas - One Sip at a Time’ …. Gorilla Conservation Coffee is the only Ugandan coffee expressly created to help save the mountain gorillas by directly supporting farmers living around the gorillas’ habitat. Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka launched the project after she saw first-hand that the farmers around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were not being given a fair price for their coffee and were struggling hard to survive, forcing them to use the national park to meet their basic family needs for food and fuel wood.
‘Bean to Bar’ …. ’57 Chocolate is the pioneer bean to bar chocolate business in Ghana defined by creativity and luxury. Founders Kimberly and Priscilla Addison use resources grown within their country to create delicious, whimsical treats. ’57 hones in on Ghana’s Independence Day spirit and challenges the status quo that premium chocolate can only be made in Europe.
‘Modern West African Interior Design’ …. Eva Sonaike is a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand creating luxurious textiles, home-décor and accessories with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. Inspired by the cultural mélange of West-African textile tradition and European craftsmanship, a passion for interior design and an exuberant love of colour, Eva aims is to add a new and distinctive aesthetic to the luxury interiors market.
‘Extraordinary African Teas’ …. Grown solely on Africa soil and ethically sourced, YSWARA’s gourmet teas pay tribute to African elegance and refinement. Founder Swaady Martin ensures the careful blending of the finest buds, leaves and spices means you are not just drinking a fine tea, but also tasting a piece of Africa.
A A K S
‘Woven Luxury’ …. A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, A A K S creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts, characterized by bright exuberant colours. Akosua now stocks her woven bag collections in 60 stores worldwide including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters in the United States.
‘Ashanti Heritage’ …. German-born Ghanaian sisters, Nana and Afua Dabanka, created the luxury footwear label, MONAA, in homage to their regal Ashanti heritage. Crafted by expert artisans, MONAA sandals are constructed from the finest, globally sourced leathers, and refined with African-inspired embellishments. Exquisitely handcrafted, MONAA reflects the designers' transcontinental sensibility.
‘Toys to Inspire Children’ …. from La Fede in South Africa, a company that produces handcrafted heirloom toys. Founder, Chantelle Beukes started the business in 2014, after her 12 year career in the corporate world ended abruptly when the company she worked for shut it's doors. With meagre capital at her disposal she decided to purchase a few meters of fabric and a small straight stitch sewing machine. Out of these negative circumstances her business, La Fede, which means 'Faith' in Italian, was born, which today successfully produces a wonderfully quirky range of toys that inspire imaginative play for children.
‘Timeless Light Fittings’ …. from Dounia Tamri-Loeper, a US-based, Moroccan design entrepreneur and founder of Dounia Home. Lighting is her inspiration and her company creates beautiful, statement lighting pieces that not only celebrate the centuries-old techniques and designs that are uniquely Moroccan, but also elevates them to a whole new level. Her new wall sconces, featuring brass globes and gunmetal arms, can be mounted horizontally or vertically, maximizing their versatility.