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What Having A Dedicated Startup Act Means For Africa’s Creative Entrepreneurs

When I heard of the move by several African countries to adopt an official Startup Act my first thought was it’s about time. Having spent over 10 years promoting the work of and supporting African designers and the African design industry the one thing I hear a lot of in my conversations with designers and other industry professionals is a wish that local governments do more to support startups and entrepreneurs.

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S2 Ep 7 Behind The Design Season 2 Wrap Up and Reflections

You are listening to Behind the Design episode #7 the Studio Lessons. Which brings us to the end of season 2. It has been another inspiring season, and I thank all my guests for taking the time to chat and give us a behind the scenes look into their design journeys. I’ve loved discovering their motivations and the challenges and rewards that come from doing what they do.

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S2 Ep 6 Creating Sustainable Livelihoods Through the Creative Economy with Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro Founder MitiMeth

In this episode, I chat with entrepreneur Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro. Achenyo is the founder of MitiMeth. An award-winning social enterprise based in Nigeria with a mission of creating sustainable livelihoods through the creative economy. Working with local communities MitiMeth takes water hyacinth, an evasive destructive weed, and upcycles it into personal and interior accessories.

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S2 Ep4 Talking Self-belief, the Responsibility that Comes with Privilege and Having the Confidence to Seize the Opportunities with Thabisa Mjo

In this episode, I chat with Thabisa Mjo. Thabisa is the designer, behind Mash.T an award-winning Johannesburg based design studio that is contributing to the continuing evolution of a home-grown contemporary South African design aesthetic.Thabisa started out in the TV industry designing sets and moved into creating spaces that people in the real world could interact with

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S2 Ep 3 Building on the Legacy of the Family Business and Nurturing the Next Generation with Audrey Forson

In this episode, I chat with Audrey Forson. Audrey is a furniture designer, and the managing director of Tekura, her family’s business in Ghana. Taking over the helm from her mother Josephine who started Tekura with the support of her husband Kweku, Audrey is now taking the business to the next level. In our conversation, we talk about family business, the meaning of legacy and the importance of leaving something for, and nurturing the next generation. 

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S2 Ep 2 Having the Courage to Step Away from Your Dream and Start Over with Lola Ukinamemen of Agnes & Lola

In this episode, I chat with Lola Ukinamemen. Lola is the founder of the fashion and lifestyle brand, Agnes & Lola, a platform that pioneered the retail and therefore availability of African fashion to international audiences. Since then Agnes & Lola has undergone significant changes as Lola went back to the drawing board closing it down for a while before returning to start over from scratch. In this conversation we chat about letting go, having the courage to walk away from a dream when things are not working out as you hoped. Dealing with the internal shame of giving up […]

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S2 Ep 1 Welcome to Season 2 of Behind the Design

Welcome to episode 1 of the second season of Behind The Design. This season I bring you more great conversation and insight into the work of amazing creative talent from across Africa and in the diaspora. And I must say thank you for the comments I have received so for about episodes in the first season. I am so glad to hear how much some of the conversations have resonated and inspired you. And I have passed the comments onto my guests. I hope you will find this season just as inspiring, and I am looking forward to welcoming you […]

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Ep 9: Behind The Design Season 1 Wrap Up and Reflections

This episode brings us to the end of season one. And what a season it has been. Experiences have been shared, nuggets of wisdom and inspiration have been given. I don’t know about you but I’ve learned a lot. Firstly, I want to thank each one of my guests for taking time out from their busy schedules to chat with me and give us an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in their studios and careers.

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Ep 8: Culture, creativity, and creating a distinctive design identity with Olubunmi Adeyemi

In this episode I chat with Olubunmi Adeyemi. Lagos based, Nigerian born designer, Olubunmi is an internationally recognized designer, interior architect and lifestyle entrepreneur. He is the founder of AFROMINIMA™ a design and lifestyle movement inspired by minimalism, and The DÅ brand. Olubunmi has studied design in both London and South Africa. An alumni of the prestigious Lagos Business School, he is currently pursuing a masters at Central St Martins, in London, UK.

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Africa’s top brands 2019

Brand Africa is a continent-based initiative that recognises the power of brands as an asset in cultivating a positive image, reputation and the competitiveness of a nation. As such Brand Africa seeks to inspire and promote a positive image of Africa, celebrating its diversity and driving its competitiveness.

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Ep 7: A masterclass in marketing your brand beyond social media and why having your own platform matters with Kwabena Oppong Boateng

In this episode I chat with Kwabena Oppong Boateng. Kwabena is a dynamic communications professional with extensive social media, telecommunications and advertising experience across public, private and corporate sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He is the founder of Kayobi clothing, and Nkanee, a 21st century strategy consultancy based Accra, Ghana that specialises in innovative physical and digital experiences powered by ideas and creativity.

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Ep 6: Tracing the journey of turning an idea into a globally stocked ethical fashion brand with Akosua Afriyie-Kumi

In this episode I chat with Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. Akosua is the founder of A A K S, a fashion accessories brand that tells an exciting story of Ghana, and offers a different perspective of Africa as a whole. A A K S’s raffia bags are handmade by a women’s cooperative in Northern Ghana, and uses ethical processes inspired by old-age craft traditions. Through her brand Akosua wants the world to see how luxury and quality can grow from traditional designs and is using AAKS bags to change perceptions of Africa through fashion. She has been shortlisted as an emerging designer […]

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Ep 5: Reflecting on 10 years and what it takes to build a luxury African textiles brand with Eva Sonaike

In this episode I chat with Eva Sonaike. Eva is the founder of Eva Sonaike, a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand creating luxurious textiles and home décor products. Eva, who was born and raised in Germany and is of Nigerian heritage, has taken the best elements of these two cultures to inspire her work. The result being designs that bring the vibrancy of African colours and aesthetics to the luxury home décor and accessories market. 

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Ep 4: Designing user experiences with customers in mind, overcoming setbacks, and tech in Africa with Farai Madzima

In this episode I chat with Farai Madzima. Farai is a UX Lead at Shopify in Ottawa, Canada. Born in Zimbabwe, Farai has spent the last 14 years helping to design and build products and teams in the UK, South Africa and Canada. He is the organiser of Pixel Up!, a series of UX and design conferences and meetups in South Africa created to connect designers and developers in Africa with their peers around the world. 

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Ep 3: Self-belief, taking a leap of faith and moving continents to start an artisan-led business with Edith Tialeu

In this episode I chat with Edith Tialeu, founder of Frida 54. Edith is on a mission to share the rich craft heritage of her home country, Cameroon and the wider continent with the world through her brand Frida 54, which produces collections of woven textiles and lifestyle accessories such as ceramics handcrafted in collaboration with the local artisans she seeks out, many of whom are women. Through her brand Edith seeks to define a new African aesthetic, one which exists between tradition and contemporary style, and upholds creativity, human input and know-how.

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DO Architecture Architecture Reconstructing Destroyed Cities

Architecture whether still standing or in ruins serves to tell us the story of a country, a city, a place. Architecture can be used to exhibit power in the form of glittering monuments, it can bring communities together in shared, public spaces, and it can provide us with a sanctuary to call home. With buildings all around us architecture creates the bonds of belonging in ways that we take for granted as we go about our day-to-day lives. But it is only when we lose something that we realise how important it was to us. And in times of conflict […]

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Ep 2: Design, manufacturing, and facing up to the realities of building a business when you have no Plan B with Siyanda Mbele

In this episode I chat with interior and furniture designer Siyanda Mbele. Siyanda is the founder of Pinda Design, the design studio he set up in his hometown of Durban, South Africa. He designs and manufactures hand-painted furniture inspired by South Africa’s diverse cultures. Siyanda’s interest in producing products began whilst studying Interior design at Durban University Of Technology. Upon graduation he started freelancing do interior drawing for other design companies, as well as lecturing part-time which gave him the freedom to earn a base income to fund his business. 

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