About three weeks ago, Asa Afrique made its FIRST public appearance as a brand and it was a BEAUTIFUL experience! During the weekend of the 26th of January, I had the pleasure and honor of attending the 2nd Annual Her Legacy Conference and Gala in New York City, organized by WeBelieve Inc. at Columbia University. WeBelieve Inc., which stands for Women Everywhere Believe, is a nonprofit organization that works to equip young women and girls with the tools they need to positively change their lives, and the lives of those around them. So not only was I SUPER excited to debut Asa Afrique in a public setting, I was excited to network and be around amazing women.
On Thursday the 25th, I packed all my belongings, all the Asa Afrique paraphernalia, and a whole bunch of bags and watches into the car and made the 10 HOUR drive to New York City from Columbus, Ohio. Let me tell you right now that is was my afrobeats, R&B, and grace of God that made that drive possible, because it was not easy! Friday, the 26th, was the first day of the conference and I met up with my sister who traveled from Baltimore, Maryland to attend the conference and help me out with the “big debut”. That day, there was a variety of empowerment seminars, speakers, and personal development panels and workshops that took place and I enjoyed each one that I attended.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, around 10:30 am, and it was go time! 11 am was the call time for vendors to start setting up at the beauty expo, but you already know I was there by 10:30 playing no games! I searched around for a trolley to help unload my things because I had SO much stuff and thankfully I found one AND a lovely young lady by the name of Lauren that offered her help (THANK YOU LAUREN <3). So after about 35-40 minutes of walking back and forth to the car, loading the trolley several times, picking things that kept falling off the trolley, my wig almost flying off, and 3 strangers helping us, my sister and I FINALLY had all the items out of the car. Once we got the table set up, I changed my clothes and we were ready to go! Not too long after I changed, conference attendees started rolling into the expo and I was glad that the Asa Afrique table was one of the first tables they saw coming down the stairs.
I mentally prepared myself for people to come to my table, but the amount of love that Asa Afrique received was special. People were so blown away by the beauty of the bags and the watches and how well made they were. They fell even more in love when I explained to them the essence of the brand and how we support and celebrate African fashion by working only with designers in various African countries. I truly had a variety of products, whether it was the Ankara satchel bags or the leather Mini Efuru bags, and I was so happy that the different women who came to the table found interest in all of them. It got so busy at a point that my sister, who was supposed to capture picture and video, was running back and forth between filling orders and talking to customers. For me the best part of the experience was taking the time to talk to everyone that came to the table and experiencing all the beautiful personalities. One of my goals was to provide an enjoyable shopping experience for anyone that came to the table and I believe that I accomplished that. Some of the conversations I had even lead to the exchange of contact info and the mention of future opportunities!
The Beauty Expo FLEW by and before I knew it, it was 2 pm and time to pack up and get ready for the gala, which was at 7 pm. At the gala, I was able to catch my breath and enjoy the show more and I was grateful for that. A lot of people from the beauty show who bought bags came and said hi and some were wearing their bags and watches, which I LOVED. There was so much love, energy, and laughter that day and I was so grateful!! The response to Asa Afrique was what I expected and MORE. But instead of me to go on and on about what I remember, I want you guys to look at some of the video and pictures that we managed to take!
This was the THIRD trip from the car. Lauren, who was so kind to help me from beginning to end, is the one pulling the trolley and my lovely sister, Oroma, is the one talking in the video.
This is a compilation of some of the little videos my sister, Oroma, got of me interacting with all the beautiful people that came by the table.
I love this lady! Her name is Sydney and let me tell y'all a funny story about her. She first came to my table at the Beauty Expo and fell in love with the Kamara Bag (the one she is holding in the picture). She admired it for a while and I could tell that she was thinking really hard about getting it. She asked me if I was going to be at the gala, I said "yes", and she said that she will think about the bag and come see me during the gala. So at the gala, she DID come back with her eyes set on the Kamara bag but stilllll was not 100% about getting it yet. She told me that she was gonna go consult with her friends and bring them over to the table and if they loved it too then she was gonna get it. Sure enough, she came back later with a few of her girlfriends and they all loved the bag and so she bought it!!! I could tell she was genuinely happy with her purchase and it made me so happy.
This is me talking to a customer at the Gala
Thank you to WeBelieve Inc. for creating the Her Legacy Conference and Gala and for all that you do for girls and women across the United States. I do encourage everyone reading this blog to find out more about the organization by going to their Facebook page and website, http://webelieve.nyc/. Asa Afrique is a supporter of all that you do and we will certainly be back next year!
Thank you for reading!! If you have anything on your mind, please comment below!
Founder of Asa Afrique