I have started a venture called ‘Project Sierra Leone‘ and it is all about empowering the women of Sierra Leone. I was born in Sierra Leone but have been living in the UK for the last 17 years. I recently went back for a visit after all this time and was blinded by the colours and buzz of the place.
I visited a few markets and made contact with 7 women that were in a bad situation. They made the most amazing products but were struggling to sell them as Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Believe me, I am not a designer or anything but I left them thinking that surely there must be a way that I can help. I have a passion for handbags as I am the proud owner of about 200 bags myself so I thought that could be a great starting point. I came back to London and gave up my job at Sky Sports (PA to Director of Operations, Sky Sports) because I feel like this is so much more rewarding as I am investing in people and changing lives.
I love different textures so I decided to get some handbeaded clutch bags made but in simple designs. All the bags are lined in the finest African Cloth and they have a zip for easy access. I have only got a limited collection of 10 at the moment because I wanted to firstly see how they will be received and secondly to search for outlets to showcase my beautiful goodies. All the women I work with are paid a fair wage. By this I mean they are paid the prices they set per item. The bags are priced at £70 each.
I have also made some beautiful Kaftans. I think Kaftans are so versatile because they are not just meant to be worn on the beach. Team it up with leggings, skinny jeans and you are good to go! The Kaftans are priced at £60.
Lori van Echtelt from the Netherlands
A deep conditioner is priceless in the haircare regime. With the right deep conditioner your fingers should slip through your hair. I use a deep conditioner once a week on my hair. I do color my gray so I feel that I just can not do without a deep conditioner. Make sure that you leave your deep conditioner in for at least 30 minutes. Make sure that the conditioner is combed thoroughly through the hair. You can use your fingers for this process. You can give your deep conditioner a boost with the use of a plastic cap of plastic foil on your head. Use a heavy cotton towel to seal in the heat. This is part of my weekly regime. Rinse with cool water. If you are suffering from hair breakage, consider getting the best deep conditioner that you can afford.
Here are some really high quality deep conditioners that Mariposa Import (www.mariposa-import.eu) sells:
HPO Spa hair conditioner: Even if your hair has been in a weave for weeks, your fingers will glide through with this conditioner.
HairVeda SitiriNillah Masque: Essence magazine rated this as one of the best conditioners. This is a must have for those who have hair that breaks very easy (fine-haired types as well).
Curl Junkie Curl Rehab: If your hair has been relaxed and is broken off or if your hair just feels crispy after the use of a shampoo, this is the only type of Rehab that you want to go to.
Mariposa Import offers many more deep conditioners, this is just a few from the offering. Make sure your dead/split ends are trimmed for the best results.
Love Your Hair!
Lori van Echtelt is the owner and founder of Mariposa Imports (MI), based in the Netherlands. She was on the Black Women in Europe™ 2010 Power List. Mariposa Import started in February 2004. It is the first and original shop focused on curly and frizzy hair in Western Europe. MI specializes in unique, high quality, hair and skin products from America and Afrika. We only sell products we ourselves use. The products we sell do not contain mineral oil or petrolatum, ingredients which block moisture absorption by the hair. We select products is based on our personal experience and that of our friends.
I quit my Hollywood exec job and on April 1st 2008 I moved to Rome, Italy. I arrived a broke, bitter person. Things have changed for the better.
To experience her life in Italy read her blog and savor the photos.
Transatlantic move and wedded bliss. That’s my story. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment in France. My blog is about what follows!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with France and most things French. Included in this list is French food. Yes, the quintessential icon of French food/baking, le croissant, is one of my favourite indulgences. It doesn’t just end there. Other favourites include: duck confit, la mamie’s escargot at Christmas, rabbit (oh so cute yet oh so yummy!) and champagne! Non-food favourite things include: the Eiffel Tower; Moliere; the Seine; the Arc de Triomphe; the towns of Bonnieux, Chateauneuf du Pape; and the Sunday market in Coustellet.
Some of my friends find my French obsession to be a little strange. I was born in Jamaica and it seems a far stretch I suppose. But, there are two things at play. First, I spent most of my life in Toronto, Canada. It was in school in Toronto that I found this love for France. Lucky for me that I found a French man to help me cultivate my passion. Second, Jamaicans are everywhere.
The next stop for this Jamaican-Canadian: Nice, France!
Read Tanya’s blog.
Safia Otokoré’s parents came from Somalia when they took refuge in Djibouti in the mid sixties. She grew up in Djibouti and became a track and field athlete, representing her Country. A scholarship gave her the opportunity to further her studies in Dakar and Abidjan. She later married the well-known soccer player Didier Otokoré and moved to France where she became involved with grassroots African organisations and subsequently embarked on a very successful political career with the French Socialist Party.–Taken from her book: Safia, un conte de fées républicain
Accent was originally opened in Copenhagen in 1997 and started out in a colourful part of, Copenhagen, Nørrebro, on a little side street as an experience – a unique workshop/boutique – appropriately named ACCENT.
Customers found zany painted furniture, exciting lamps, stylish room dividers and other unique home accessories, and interior solutions, all specially created by Claire Requa. Products designed and produced by Claire in her workshop. You were sure to find fashionable ACCENTS for your home, reflecting the latest decorating and interior trends.
The CLAIRELY jewellery line was launched in May 2008 in NY, at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The engravings reflect two themes: Chandelier – mirroring the Claire de Lune Chandeliers and Chocolatey, a tapestry of symbols from Ghana, the birthplace of chocolate, which was launched in Chicago, USA, March 2009.
Claire Requa, designer and creative force behind ACCENT which produces mainly lighting products, mirrors and other interior accessories, and has now expanded her product line to include a funky collection of jewellery also made from acrylic which she calls CLAIRELY. This line currently consists of necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings made primarily of transparent acrylic, and mirror acrylic.
Inspiration for this line of jewellery came from a deep, long-time, personal commitment to the environment regarding the reduction/use of waste material. Production of lamps is carefully and meticulously planned in conjunction with the line of jewellery ensuring that very little material/resource is wasted. Not only are these funky light pieces ornamental, but act as colorful “light catchers casting wonderful shadows on the skin of the wearer. ACCENT products are sold in over 19 countries worldwide.
The pieces are designed and produced in Denmark, with the designer having a close grip on the quality of the products to ensure they are of a high standard.