Economy

Kenyan retailer targets UK festive season with African products

Janet Oganah, the Kenyan-born founder of online store Janet’s List, talks about a Christmas pop-up store she opened in London which exclusively sells brands by women of colour.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (Reuters) –

(FOUNDER AND OWNER OF JANET’S LIST, JANET OGANAH,

“I am Janet Oganah. I am the founder of Janet’s List, which is a platform that connects consumers with businesses by women of colour. I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, and I feel as much a Kenyan Nairobian as I feel that I am a Londoner.

“I knew that one of the challenges for small, independent businesses, is getting into retail space. Now, for women of colour, when you add the intersectionality elements, the unconscious bias, that becomes even harder. There are additional hurdles. So I had this idea that it would be really fantastic to have a mainstream central London space where people could come in and discover lots of other brands as well by women of colour.

“We have Colourshot Cards, just behind me, who do really interesting bags and mugs and coasters with strong images of women with headwraps. You know that image I think is so familiar for a lot of people in Africa. There’s certain images when you think of home, and when you think of positive images of strong women, it’s certainly a woman in a headwrap.”

CUSTOMER AT JANET’S LIST POP-UP, MANSATA KURANG,

“It makes sense because we want products we can relate to and by someone whose selling them that we can relate to. There’s just that trust there, they have the hair, they have the problems we have, so I trust the brand.”

FOUNDER AND OWNER OF JANET’S LIST, JANET OGANAH,

“The diversity of the founders in this shop, it’s so broad. We have women that are black British, born in England, raised in England. We have women whose families are from Nigeria, Kenya, Sierra Leone.”

“And so what I’ve found, which has been really interesting, is that when people come through the door, they might come for one brand, but because there’s a bit of a treasure chest situation going on, they end up picking a few other brands as well, which is fantastic.”

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