Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


August 28th, 2019

E-commerce for Africa? A profitable Fashion Made in Africa (FMIA) business model.

A general African fashion topic that I just did a Fashion in Five Facebook Live session on my facebook page is about African Fashion retail. PLUS this is one of the panel discussions at our Fashion Africa Conference 2019 edition on September 9th in London will be looking at retail in Africa’s fashion industry and we have online and offline retailers from Gitas Portal, Sapelle and Akojo Market and more! Grab your ticket here.

AND the importance of this discussion alone is a strong enough reason why you SHOULD come to the conference and though I will discuss it below and in general over on my facebook page for Fashion in Five we will be having those who are on the field on the ground doing this right now and you can hear directly from the horses mouth.

You see as anyone in fashion knows, it is all great to have a label or a brand but without a retail presence your business is not actually a business.

Many interesting movements are happening in the fashion retail world today with Omnichannels and of course the rise of online shopping and the new platforms for shopping online being social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Key trends in retail
One of the key trends in digital marketing and the retail industry today is the advancement of tech and the whole UX (user experience). Technological advancements including VR (virtual reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) are the new hot topics of the moment to personalise the whole shopping experience. These could include personalising product for customers through to image recognition tool from pictures so customers could access same or similar product on your own store page. 3D printing is another tech tool in the industry that some retailers from a production and ethical point of view are tapping into. And lastly making the shop a whole new experience by including coffee bars, meet up spots, hair salons, nail bars, mens grooming within the shop.

For Africa there is an emerging, growing shopping culture and a growth in shopping spaces, alongside GDP growth over the last ten years. We are continuing a 6 week guide to sourcing in Kenya so let’s look at the market in Kenya briefly.

Retail in Kenya
Retail is the end result of the fashion industry and in Kenya there has been a boom of shopping malls including Two Rivers mall Westgate Shopping mall, Junction Mall, The Village Market, Yaya Centre. And with the launch of Designing Africa Collective launched by PR queen of African Fashion known for her 100days of African Fashion  – Diana Opoti, now there is a top class retail store selling amazing African designers from around the continent in Nairobi.

We had a good ol’ time visiting the store last May when we visited Kenya on our recent Fashion Africa Sourcing Trips.

Retail is a huge side of Kenya and which is why we stay in the Westlands area of Nairobi where there are retail stores and lots going on – there is an opportunity for the local market too.

The world retail congress blog tells us that

“Africa has seen an influx in international brand heavyweights. In the last two years, international brands including Zara, Top Shop and River Island have entered the local retail market. There is a strong investment case by international brands into the continent, as they view Africa as having growth potential. As far as retail sales for higher priced goods goes, Luanda in Angola, Lagos in Nigeria as well as Nairobi in Kenya are becoming attractive markets for retailers.”

Do remember to check out my facebook page to see the video I recorded on African fashion retail there as part of our Fashion in Five facebook Live series every Tuesday.


So alongside Kenya being a great location to set up your sourcing in Africa there is also an added benefit of a strong international expat community and a growing local demand for consumption of fashion goods. So you could even consider growing a shop front as well as or instead of production. But disclaimer…a bricks and mortar store is not for the faint hearted. You will need some golden balls kind of strength to deal with all that comes with this business model.

Online fashion is growing hugely and stores like Lola and Mawu, Akoja Market, Gitas Portal. Sapelle, Zuvaa, Onchek and so many new stores popping up now showcasing made in Africa brands and a lot of Kenyan brands amongst others. This is showing you that selling African fashion online is an OPPORTUNITY.

Are you considering setting up online? I am happy to support you on that so if you see the benefit of working with me 1-2-1 or as part of our September cohort of F.A.B. The back to school edition of our Fashion Africa Business Coaching is open for new students but deadline is August 31st so do check out the following link and then get in touch there so we can arrange a call to talk through your idea and show you how F.A.B can help you get set up.

Therefore definitely take the right kind of support and advice that I can offer you via my business coaching trainings and DO YOUR RESEARCH ON the FIELD…man I cant express that more enough. 🙂

So on that point, we will be visiting Diana Opoti’s store on our sourcing trips to Kenya and invite you to join us!

So why not strike the iron whilst it is hot and get your business up and going this year! The opportunities are ripe for you, so if you are feeling spontaneous then lets do it! Do get in touch with me right away to join us on our Fashion Africa Sourcing Trip to Kenya! See more information to book with your deposit here: FAST Kenya

Remember the window of business opportunity in Africa is closing more and more. So make this Year of Return the year you got off the fence.

Ask Yourself….what can you lose? 

Then ask yourself…what will I gain?

Let me tell you in one sentence – qualified experienced connections, suppliers and a quality industry network that will help you cut time save money and to stop losing your mind over badly made product.

SO who is in?



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