It's time I formally introduced Alex Blackmore as part of the Kupendiza team. I suppose you'd call it a "soft launch." He's been helping since March.
Alex's background is in operations consulting - specifically, he helps companies streamline their operations and business processes using technology. He's on board to contribute logistical and operational support. In other words, to hold my feet to the fire and make sure Kupendiza moves forward!
After the spring Coterie show in New York City (Kupendiza's first big-city, fashion industry mega-event at the Javits Center ), I stayed with Alex & company in the Bronx. I'd driven up from D.C. with a trunk full of products - handbags, bags, pocketbooks, and purses - not then knowing how Coterie operates, whom I'd meet, or if I'd have a chance to show anyone our stuff.
I didn't get to show much till I got to the borough and pulled out the new designs from the African Women & Youth Initiative and Global Borders in Kenya, and the Bahari Deco Crafts ladies of Tanzania. That's all we had at the time.
The crowd went wild! (Cousins, aunts, and friends, that is.) Alex witnessed the "market response" and got inspired.
I left from JFK the next day, headed to Guyana to see my folks. When I got back to the U.S. Alex called to ask how he could help.
Later, I wanted to know what had inspired him.
"It was falling in love with the product - and the social enterprise aspect of the business model," he said. "And I was impressed with the commitment of the founder." (Blush.)
Having the collaboration has meant a lot to the company as we round up on the end of our second year. Together, we have put in some strategy. With strategy came measures. We developed actual targets to work toward. We started to feel like a grown-up company.
We market mostly-handmade, many one-of-a-kind handbags, bags, pocketbooks, and purses, sourced from independent women's collectives around the world. We are a social enterprise, practicing ethical fashion and fair trade. We are members of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA).
Kupendiza - Washington & New York. Welcome aboard, Alex Blackmore!