Storytime: Our First Viral Picture

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Our first ever viral post came from our first photoshoot, and was a stunning dress that I had the honour of wearing. We used a dashiki print in the creation of this design, which was very popular at the time.

I remember going to the market every day looking for the right fabric, but with no luck. One day, whilst we were driving away from the market, Michelle spotted it out of the taxi window. We rushed to meet the vendor, full of hope, but soon realised that this fabric was made with polyester rather than cotton. Of course, we knew we couldn’t use it, as quality fabric meant the world to us even then. We’ve wanted our customers to always have the best, from the very first day.

We began the hunt for fabrics for our first collection in December, around 2 months after I’d returned to Cameroon from the UK. February came around before we finally found the right fabric, and the day it happened is one I still remember as though it were yesterday.

We were walking through the market as usual on a Friday. I distinctly remember that it was a Friday, as the market was only open for a half-day, to allow for Muslims to hold prayer in the afternoon. Because of the half-day, we were rushing to select fabrics that we could use. The time for prayer came, and we had no choice but to sit outside and wait for the vendors to finish praying.

What may have seemed like a minor inconvenience at first turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was whilst we were sitting outside that we spotted the exact fabric we wanted in a shop across the street. Even though the fabric was stacked tightly like the images below, we’d been searching for it for months and would’ve been able to spot it from a mile away. All we needed was that moment for our eyes to be pointed in the right direction.

Stacked African textiles in vibrant colours Fabric photos credit: Google

We desperately asked the vendor to reserve the fabric for us, as we couldn’t let it slip through our fingers! Knowing full well that he wouldn’t (vendors would only reserve fabric if you had cash on you, which we didn’t), we picked up just enough for samples, took his number and promised to be back soon.

That same day, we took the fabric to our vendor to sample, and across the weekend we sampled it with 4 different tailors. By the end of the weekend, we had 8 samples and the perfect dress. We knew that our time was running short to get the business off the ground, so we shot all 4 of our samples that Monday and launched our humble Etsy store. On that same Monday, we posted the photo and it went viral.

If you’ve read my ‘Our First Photoshoot’ blog post, you’ll know that I spent the evening being sad because I was unhappy with how I looked in the pictures. Whilst I was wallowing in self-pity, we sold 50 dresses! The following day, we took that money and bought the entire stock of fabric from the vendor, who (unsurprisingly) didn’t even remember us.

That dress remained a best seller in our store for many years, with over 1,000 sold in total. What’s more, that particular vendor became one of our primary vendors, and still is to this date!

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