Today we’d like to introduce you to Ida Dickson-Kingston.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
AfriCoast Patterns began with the idea to promote African Arts and Crafts made from the beautiful African patterns and fabrics from the various African Countries. The name AfriCoast was derived from “African Coasts”. I started this side business in 2018 whilst working full time and a mother of four kids, a wife and a student pursuing my Master’s Programme in Management. The idea to be an Entrepreneur in the midst of my already tight schedule was borne out of my passion to inspire the young African talented crafters who make a living out of their creative skills back in Africa. I believe this will serve as an opportunity to give back to my home Country, Ghana. I deem it a privilege to be able to promote these beautiful African made products to customers at Craft Fairs, Festivals and Local Events in Denver., Aurora and the nearest communities in Colorado. How did we grow from just being Vendors to an Online Retail Shop? From customers response, feedback, compliments and questions to the colorful display exhibiting from our Booth at the various events, we were inspired to meet the demands of our customers and potential buyers who were interested in shopping online. Online shopping is the currently growing and trending on the global market for a lot of local and small scale businesses. Running and driving traffic to an online store actually requires a lot of expertise. We are continually working to improve our customer’s online shopping experience. I am thankful to God for his grace and to my family and friends who continue to support and encourage me. I feel blessed and humbled to be able to put smiles on our customers’ faces as I at the same time help inspire and promote the creativity and talented Hand Crafters from the African Continent, specifically Ghana, my home Country.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is no elevator to success and it definitely has not been a smooth path. One thing that I keep in mind as Entrepreneur is to never compare my step one to somebody’s step five. Rather I choose to learn from those who have grown through this path. I also do a lot of research, survey the market, observe the trend and especially take into serious consideration the feedback from both direct buyers and online shoppers. As a previous Services Sales Specialist in the Information Technology field, I am very keen and ensure on prioritizing great Customer Service. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs or small local businesses, we tend to forget why we even started in the first place. My advice to my fellow women and particularly young women is be grateful for the little wins, learn a lot from any criticism you receive from your customers and remember to focus on the positive. Finally, remember you started because you believe you can. When you succeed, remember where God took you from and give back to help others.
What should we know about AfriCoast Patterns? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
AfriCoast Patterns is an Online Retail Store that specializes in the selling of unique collection of specific African handmade Arts, Crafts, Accessories and Outfits. We specifically focus on anything crafted from different patterns of African prints or fabrics. This includes Acrylic Paintings customized with patches of African prints, customized T’shirts, Ponchos, Jackets, Bags, Accessories all made or customized from colorful patterns of African fabric. We are especially known for our best selling unisex T’shirt called “Jabari” which is customized with one of the trending African fabric called “Nsubura” and the Acrylic fabric figures wall decors. Our packaging and fast shipping with competitively moderate pricing on our products sets us apart. By the Grace of God, we have gradually grown from being just a Vendor for craft fairs and event to an Online Store that serves customers globally. We look forward to collaborating and partnering local handcrafters.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
The first thing to do in finding a mentor is being open to growth. This perception will guide you to discover your career path and who you want to become on that path. My advice to a young woman starting a career will be to “Never Quit before you Start” anything. Do not fall prey to the wrong networking out of haste. Do not let your surroundings or circumstances deprive you of 1. Discovering your talent 2. Learning to develop this talent 3. Growing through what you go through 4. Letting your faith in God serve as key to a successful end. 5. Finally, be humble but not timid, be strong but don’t look down on others who might be weak. You could be the reason they believe in themselves. Your career is in your ability to serve and seeing the best in others. I will say what has worked well for me is first of all prayer and my faith in God, the support from my family, especially my sister based in Ghana and finally the sense of inspiration I derive from inspiring and helping others to thrive.
- 15% to 20% Holiday sales ongoing on selected items till the end of January 2020.