Every time you meet “grownup” strangers, the first personal question they ask is : “What do you do for a living?”.

For the last 5 years, I always had my traditional quick answer : “I develop an online marketplace for African inspired products”. Notice that I avoid using the word entrepreneur or the company name, the goal is to pass over it and enjoy the night. A few months ago, for the first time, someone’s reaction changed my whole night.

He said “Oh, something like Afrikrea ? “ … “Yes, it actually is Afrikrea!” I replied.

Now this might sound…

Dear all,

As 2021 is officially launched, for the first time in 5 years, we wanted to share our review of the previous year. 2020 was a strange and uncertain year, that can be summarized in every meaning as “HELL OF YEAR”. Yet, looking back, this is probably the year in which our company grew the most.

For instance, we processed now more than 10 Millions € in 145 countries since starting this venture !
Of this, just in 2020, despite the pandemic and all it’s challenges, there was :
- 6 Millions € or almost 4 Billions CFA of transactions;
- 500k+…

Personally, I do not really believe in the concept of a “vision”.

Even if Elon Musk made it a mandatory requirement for any worthy “startupper”, I must recognize its usefulness to share common goals, a defined path and “pragmatic dream” to progress efficiently.

So, here is MANSAART (the company behind Afrikrea.com)’s master plan for the next 10 years.

Our vision is that selling and buying African inspired items will be easier than creating an online shop on your own or surfing from one social network to the other, and just as common.

First of all, why African culture rather than…

Personnellement, je ne crois pas vraiment au concept de “vision”.

Même si Elon Musk en a fait un passage obligé pour tous les « startuppers », cela reste utile ne serait- ce que parce qu’il est important de partager un objectif, un chemin et un « rêve pragmatique » pour avancer efficacement.

Voici donc le plan de MANSAART (la société derrière Afrikrea.com) pour les 10 prochaines années.

Notre vision est que vendre et acheter de la culture africaine sera plus agréable que créer une boutique en ligne seul(e) ou surfer d’un réseau social à l’autre, et tout aussi largement répandu.

Following numerous articles and videos “revealing” that the “wax print” or ankara fabrics “is not African” (but Dutch or Indonesian or Chinese, whatever), we looked, stunned, to the uprise of this position. Despite the fact that , in our humble opinion, it is a useless debate, the recurrence of it forced us to recognize the interest it sparks. We are going to expose why we think the wax fabric is indeed African from a symbolic, historical and even more economical point of view!

However, we would like to point out that we had to join this debate for several reasons:

Suite à de nombreux articles et vidéos révélant que le tissu “wax” ou “pagne” n’est pas africain (mais hollandais ou indonésien ou chinois, au choix), nous avons assisté effarés à la montée de ce sujet. Bien qu’à notre humble avis, ce soit un débat inutile, sa récurrence nous a obligé à reconnaître l’intérêt qu’il suscite.

Nous allons donc vous exposer pourquoi, à notre avis, le wax est bien un tissu africain d’un point de vue symbolique, historique et surtout économique !

Toutefois , nous tenons à préciser que nous avons été obligés de joindre ce débat pour plusieurs raisons :

The Holy Father of the Startup nation, Paul Graham defined a startup in the clearest way possible : “Startup = Growth”.

As for Afrikrea.com , after 2 years spent developing this “project” in parallel of our jobs, we were stuck at around €5000 of transactions per month. With our 10% take rate, you can guess just how little this represented.

We then committed to it full time for a year, invested all of our saving and time, but still nothing changed significantly.

Then, since April 2016, we became a “real” startup and in the 2 years that followed, everything changed…

I cannot count the number of investors, partners, designers, buyers, media or even students who have asked me for an estimate of the African fashion total market, analysis of potential turnover of African inspired fashion, the current penetration rate or simply numerical evidence of the current market growth…

So, to mark the €2Millions of sales threshold (our retrospective analysis of our path to there is right here) on www.afrikrea.com, we are sharing our “White Paper Report of African Fashion online” (download it here) with exclusive data and lessons learned.

Sales repartition, customer personas and rare insights on behavior

“73% of the surveyed African fashion amateurs cannot recall a specific…

Numerous articles and analysis details a long list of reasons that restrict African fashion’s (and Africa as whole) development. From infrastructure (electricity, transport …) to governance (eduction, administrative mess …) passing by payment, logistics or financing , there are indeed plenty difficulties.

However, in our humble opinion, most of these reasons like other systemic/institutional should be ignored to grow.

Actually, although factually accurate, individuals alone or in groups can hardly act on it and should rather deal with it rather than dwell on them, by stating them over and over.

Let’s step back, and look for a way forward despite…

De nombreux articles et analyses relèvent une foule de facteurs/raisons/freins qui ralentissent le développement de la mode africaine. Des infrastructures (électricité, transport ..) à la gouvernance (éducation, lourdeur administrative.. ) en passant par le paiement, la logistique ou le financement, les freins sont certes nombreux.

Toutefois, à notre sens, la plupart de ces raisons, comme beaucoup de facteurs institutionnels/systémiques, sont à ignorer pour mieux avancer.

En effet, bien que factuellement exacts, des acteurs seuls ou groupés peuvent difficilement agir dessus et gagnerait donc à composer avec, plutôt que “s’apitoyer” en les ressassant.

Prenons du recul, respirons et trouvons une voie…


Cofounder @Afrikrea aka “Kal-El”, African, casually French, aspirant Japanese and doing what he can to live up to his ambitions.

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