Fashion4Africa Digital International Women's Month 2021 Edition

Page 11

Daphne Kasambala

As an African Diasporan working in Corporate and Investment Banking in London, DAPHNE KASAMBALA was seeking ready-to-wear African brands making modern fashion pieces with a touch of Africa that she could wear with ease every day at work and play. When she saw a gap in the market for this type of product, Daphne took the plunge and established Sapelle in 2012. A lifestyle retail brand offering contemporary African Fashion, Home Decor and Gifts products, Sapelle ethically supported and worked in close collaboration with its skilled partners from around Africa. After several years at the helm of Sapelle, Daphne has gone back to the drawing board, taking the lessons she'd learned working across the African value chain and seeking to address some of the structural issues she experienced as a retailer sourcing from Africa. In 2020, Daphne relocated from the UK to Southern Africa where she has spent several months in Kenya, Malawi and South Africa, gaining insights from creatives on the ground, and launching her new venture, Meekono,

an online wholesale marketplace dedicated to connecting small-scale African producers with retailers around the world who are seeking to buy high quality ethical and sustainable products. Recognising that many producers need support in becoming exportready and in meeting international quality standards, Meekono is creating a value-added ecosystem where producers can access tools and relevant market information and be supported along their growth journey. Despite the various challenges she's faced. Daphne has been ultimately determined to create businesses that build bridges from Africa to the world by offering tangible solutions that help creatives achieve success. Her ambition with Meekono is to create a global brand that puts African creative businesses firmly on the global map and is the go-to for creatives seeking to professionalise and scale up.