A home for African designers: Meet Uganda’s Bold in Africa

Bold in Africa, one of the 11 ventures in GrowthAfrica’s second Ugandan cohort, is a fast rising high-end fashion retail outlet that curates and houses African designers  from across the African continent. The aim of this venture is to create exposure for African designers as well as avail affordable and high-quality apparel and accessories to consumers. Bold in Africa operates within two physical stores in Kampala and Kigali, and soon planning to set up an online store to reach a wider market.

We recently spoke to the founders of Bold in Africa and we had the chance to gather a bit of background on their venture as well as their future goals and aspirations for the business.

Founded in June 2012 in Kampala, Bold in Africa is located at the highest traffic point in Kampala, Acacia Mall. The founders, Angel Nkwaya (Operations Director), Janet Mugume (Marketing Director) and Nunu Mugyenyi (Business Development Director), met while studying in South Africa and their common passion for fashion made them friends, now business partners. Angel possesses a strong retail background, while Nunu studied Political Science for her undergraduate degree before transitioning to Fashion, Merchandising and Retail. Janet studied marketing. Looking at the exceptional areas of knowledge among the founders it is evident that they indeed are a combination of a strong team.

Bold in Africa store in Kampala

They had all moved back to Kampala after finishing university and like most fresh graduates they were trying to discover what they could venture into. It became clear that Kampala’s many great designers were scattered all over town and it was often hard to find them. With this realisation, the idea of putting everyone under one roof saw the conceptualisation of Bold in Africa.

You have to constantly fall in love with your business

The original concept was based on the simple wish to open a clothing store. The three founders resolved to selling second hand clothes, whereby they used the earnings to raise enough capital to transition to what we now know as Bold in Africa.

Bold in Africa’s mission is to increase the support of the African fashion industry, both locally and internationally. The designers are therefore taken through a process of improving and building their brands to achieve international fashion standards. They also learn about changing trends and markets in fashion.

A model showcasing one of the designs

With Bold in Africa, designers can today earn a decent and sustainable income from their design work causing them to shift from being part time to full time designers. The biggest challenge is that local customers have preference for foreign brands over the locally designed ones. To overcome this challenge, the three founders have made it their mission to teach people about the versatility of African designs. They hold photo-shoot sessions and share images on their instagram page to show people the different ways they can wear the African designed apparel and accessories.

Their advice to entrepreneurs is; they should always be good at what they do since it increases their chances of being successful, be passionate about their business and fall in love with it constantly, ensure that they develop a sustainable business structure and have well established systems within the business from the onset. It is important for the entrepreneurs to understand that the business is bigger than the entrepreneur.

In the next three years, they hope that their business will grow bigger by branching into Southern Africa and they also plan on setting up an online store. They hope that Bold in Africa will not only be known as a Ugandan brand house but as an international brand.

Read more: