Social media has taken over the way we interact and do business. Currently over 2 billion people use Facebook, while over 800 million use Instagram, and Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users.
Africa is part of this global trend which has given rise to a new generation of online entrepreneurs and entertainers harnessing the power of technology as a platform to showcase their arts and products.
We recently got in touch with Ghanaian born fashionista and blogger Afua Rida to ask about her role promoting trending African design labels online.
Born in a household where fashion was the norm, Afua’s flair for style kicked off at an early age. Afua grew up in Accra, Ghana and moved to Canada in her teen years for further studies. While she was in Montreal, her interest in fashion came to the fore.
She said Rida is actually her last name and it is a common Arabic name used in the Middle East and it means to be content and obedient to God.
“I was born into a home where my mother was as stylish as they come. I watched her express herself through African prints, silhouettes, and heels. My older sister balanced my mother’s strong bold flair with her simplicity. I was always glued to the television when the program Style came on CNN. That was my view into the international world of fashion. I didn’t realize how happy I would be working in fashion until I started interning in the fashion industry in Canada”.
The need for people to take the Ghanaian fashion industry seriously is one of the reasons Afua began to promote local Ghanaian designers. Describing herself as a problem solver and consultant, Afua helps her online followers wade through fashion trends on the continent and challenge brands to raise their standards in order to have a distinct voice and strong presence in the market space.
“As a brand influencer and blogger, I connect the producers to the potential consumers. I put brands on social media and my blog, where all of Africa and the world can see what Africa has to offer in terms of fashion and the creative arts”.
A day in the life of Afua usually consists of client meetings, planning projects with photographers, makeup artists and creative directors, shooting for her blog and social media or on-set styling and directing shoots.
“I go between fashion studios checking out new collections. This also puts me in a position to understand what challenges designers face in Accra and also see where they are lacking in their business”.According to Afua she is always working on her blog, taking pictures and writing about brands from Africa and other parts of the world – she has promoted lots of brands in Ghana and even Nigeria since she started her online blog and is currently working on developing a brand store for a client.
“One of the first brands I ever worked with in Ghana was Christie Brown and Mina Evans. I have also worked with fashion brands Duaba Serwa, Pistis, Studio 189 in Accra. From Lagos, I have worked with Tiffany Amber, Meena, Lisa Follawiyo, Grey, and The Lady Maker. I have also worked with life style brands such as Moët & Chandon, Uber, Nepresso, Daniel Williams, Vlisco to name a few.”
Asked about how she makes money from what she does Afua, said it’s not all about the money. She want to make sure she puts out her best work using great images and articles that people could easily relate to and actually learn something from.
“My target audience is the woman from about 23 to 40. The easiest feedback I get is the number of likes, the comments and questions that my followers give me. When there is a lot of activity under an image or a particular blog post, this gives me the signal that this topic is of great interest to my readers, or that this kind of image of a particular product is really loved”.
“The best brands solve problems. Whether it is a beauty or lifestyle issue, I love to share these finds with my audience. The best innovation and design gets my attention. I am always looking for the new fashion trends, interesting fabrics and garment detailing.”
Though she hasn’t been to Australia, Afua does know a bit about the land down under. “My first introduction to Australia was in elementary school where we read the book “Walkabout” by James Vance. It was an extremely educational experience for me learning about the rite of passage Aboriginal people and the Australian Outback. The late Australian animal expert, Steve Irwin, brought my attention back to the country. I love learning about animals and his larger-than-life personality had me glued. I’ve never been to Australia, but I do know that it is a beautiful, diverse, exciting country.”
Based on her experience in the blogosphere Afua’s advice to young people wanting to follow in her footsteps is you have got to have a story. “You cannot just start it because you think that blogging is “cool”. You have to have passion for whatever you write about because blogging is hard work. The love that you have for your topic will keep you going. Do a lot of research, find bloggers who are already successful, are similar to you and study them. Get inspired by them. Be yourself. Your followers and brands can easily sniff out phony personalities”.
Afua would like our Australian readers to know that Ghana is in West Africa and is filled with the most hospitable people. “Our culture is rich and colorful and we love fashion. The African continent is a very diverse land. As you travel from corner to corner, the cultures differ, the weather changes and the fashion is also different but equally as exciting”.
It was great communicating with Afua, SALT Magazine wishes her all the best and will keep in touch with her to update our readers on her work.