Episode 031

Diarra Bousso Niang

You are never ready, so just start!

August 26, 2018

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Episode Overview

Diarra Bousso Niang always knew she wanted to be in fashion. Growing up in Senegal, she loved seeing her mother dressed up in her African fashion.  She also always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur.  But she didn’t want to “just” be a fashion designer – she wanted to tell a story.

Frustrated with hearing the stereotypical narrative about Africa, Diarra decided to create a brand that would tell a different story….the story of luxury from Africa.  Inspired by a beautiful phone case her mother had bought in Senegal, Diarra started a handbag line, which she called ‘Bouswari‘. The brand name is a combination of her middle name Bousso,  and the name of a small tribe of people call the Bassari, who are primarily found in West Africa.

The Bouswari line of handbags, which are handmade by artisans in Senegal, are all inspired by Africa and African design.  Having the bags made in Africa is important to Diarra because she passionately believes in supporting the emergence of African design and African brands in the global market.

Despite being a relatively young brand, Bouswari is already making major waves in the international fashion industry – the handbags have been featured in high-end publications including Vogue, Glamour and Elle.

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • How the stereotypical narrative of Africa inspired Diarra to start her company
  • Why telling the story of African luxury is so important to Diarra
  • How Diarra found the money to start her company
  • Her big dream and vision for the company
  • Where Diarra gets her inspiration for the handbags
  • What has been the biggest challenge for Diarra on her entrepreneurial journey
  • The advice Diarra would give to anyone who has a dream
  • What Diarra’s “I am…” is

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