It was a fascinating summer!
Kupendiza got out to some of the local artisan markets and we listened to people as they interacted with our products: beautifully crafted handbags, clutches, and totes, handmade by women all over the world!
We also did a fair number of house parties and bar & cafe parties. (Which was a blast!)
People who stopped by our booths asked a lot of questions. They weighed in on the pricing, colors, and texture of the bags. They asked about ordering custom designs. They let us know their favorite features. They were concerned about shipping.
They wanted backpacks, and fanny packs, and bags for carrying around their mixed-martial arts swords (no kidding!). They promised to check back.
They cared a great deal about how, where, and by whom the bags are made. Many of them dropped their email addresses in our Guest Book and asked us to keep in touch.
These women - they were mostly, but not all, women - spanned every demographic: age, ethnicity, price point.
Certain patterns emerged as our inventory ebbed and flowed. Some one-of-a-kind bags are just simply gone! We now know the bags we will reorder again and again, because our customers love them! These are our best sellers.
The Baganara cross-shoulder handbag - in all its myriad colors and patterns, the super-stylish Morenike duffel, the beautiful silvery Mwanza handbag, and the ever-popular totes. These were the bags that flew off the shelves this summer.
Also VERY popular – these kitenge wristlets. At $15 they can be an impulse buy; the perfect little casual wrist-pocket for a quick run to the store - or the right accent against that basic black for a night at the club! Seriously. Either way.
Yoga mat bags have gotten a lot of interest. (And lots of people have asked about backpacks! I’ve got my eye out.)
Colors requested most often in a Kupendiza handbag: Red & Purple! Go figure. (Luckily, we’ve got that!)
People care about heft. Yes, heft. There's a word you haven't heard in a minute. The weight of the bag. This is particularly the case as ladies get older. That’s why we’ve started putting the weight of each handbag on the website. Our customers need to know.
What fascinates me is that we get every demographic of women – little girls are drawn to our booth like moths to a flame! – and their grandmothers are not far behind. How cool is that?
The bags shown are handmade by African Women & Youth Initiative, Global Borders, and Bahari Deco Crafts.
Beaded wristlets from Berlin, Maryland – in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
African Studies Association
59th Annual Meeting
Imagining Africa at the Center:
Bridging Scholarship, Policy, and Representation in African Studies
December 1 - 3, 2016
Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC