‘I’ve always had the thought not to lose hope, and that one day it will be my turn.’
After ‘independently’ launching 10 collections since 2018 hoping that after each collection my brand would be largely recognised, I’ve come to realise that not only preach about ‘believe in the process’ but also put it into mental practise too. I’ve thought for a while of how I can expand my brand and take it to a higher level but also having the fear of losing the uniqueness and always wanted to protect my brand.
Having my mixed heritage from Tanzania which I’m very much connected too, I decided to travel for 10 days without my husband and children to go ‘on a mission’. I’ve never travelled to any African country without my children which they were both unhappy about, until when I explained that I’m not going on a holiday, I’m going to learn, explore, be creative, and find new connections.
I reached out to a tailor in Tanzania which is a person who is part of the family and someone we would normally to go when needing an outfit for an occasion. I kindly asked her to create three garment samples for me ahead of my arrival.
I arrived in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro airport on the 9/1/23 knowing that I’m here on a mission which needs to be completed. My mission was to a), create a collection in 10 days, b), Build a working and trusted relationship with the tailors, where we can continuously work together and c), Find the best and safest shipping company who can safely transport my future garments back to London.
I went to visit the tailor the next day of my arrival and with no surprise, the garment samples were perfect! Knowing how much I wanted to create in 10 days, I then had to reach out to another tailor, who has previously sewn clothes for my daughter. I am now working with two tailors on my third day in Tanzania where I also spent all my days at the market choosing fabrics, going back and forward to the tailors to make sure all garments were well prepared and amended as planned. The fabric I chose is satin, Khanga print and Kitenge print, each fabric has its beauty and uniqueness. The satin has a flawless, clean look, where’s the Khanga print represents Tanzania and has a meaningful writing on each piece and then we have the Kitenge, the most popular print on the whole continent of Africa.
It’s now time to travel back to London with a brand-new collection which I managed to create in 10 days, and I’ve also come back to London knowing that I’ve gained new connections and a small team!!
This will be my 11th collection which I have not -for the first time- sewn myself! I am now officially the creative director behind my brand where I now have decided to put the sewing to the side, so I can spend more time creating and directing and finding new ways to expand. Not only can I create more ideas, but I can also launch larger collections. As of before, I would spend my evenings by the sewing machine after my 10-hour shift at work or spend my whole weekend sewing.
Letting go of the sewing and trusting someone else working on my baby has been a big step for me as a creative founder but also on a personal level. I had to come to a realisation that ALINES HANDMADE won’t be able to grow if I was not to find a team and more recourses. And the best part, my team is at home, where my roots are from, where I feel the happiest and where I gain all my inspiration from.
I’ve also created new opportunities for two incredible women in Tanzania who are working in a sustainable and fair paid environment. Having all my resources in Tanzania is a dream coming true and I want to make sure that
ALINES HANDMADE will always stay ethical for as long as I can.