Interview with the Glasglow Girls Club

Press interview

We connected with GGC member Chloe on instagram @mukalaafrica and wanted to find out all about her, her business and what she has learned from launching it in another continent.

1. Hi Chloe!  Tell us all about you?

So my name is Chloe, I am 31 years old and I was born and bred in Glasgow. I have a degree in Community Education, I actually teach ESOL by day and Girl Boss by every other waking moment for Mukala! I am a self confessed chocoholic, Beyonce fan and wannabe manifester.

4. Tell us about your business?

Mukala is a newly established business specialising in African Home Decor set up by myself and my Husband. Cameroon is actually home to many talented artisans and unique tribal art. Mukala is my means of sharing my love of Africa with my native home. We take the traditional craft and bring it into the modern world. Call it a Scottish twist! And we’re big into giving back! We offer fair trade to our artisans, sustaining their culture and craftsmanship. We also donate part of our profits to Cameroonian children in need.

5. What inspired you to start a business in Africa?

I’ve always loved and admired the artwork here in Cameroon, but I wouldn’t  have known about it if I hadn’t been here. I feel like there is a lack of knowledge about African decor in the UK and I want to celebrate African culture! Most of our products are actually said to possess abundant powers too. I was inspired to build on their craft and spread the good vibes in the most unique way. Now I feel like it’s my calling.

6. You specialise in Ju Ju hats, talk to us about how you became an expert in creating these beautiful items?

We’ve been working directly with our artisans in the creation of Juju’s for a long time now. We continue to work with them in terms of producing high finish products to make our buyers experience feel VIP. Each of our juju’s are intricately handmade and made to order making them all the more special for our customers. I personally love the vibrant ones, so we have been playing with colours and will continue to do so to widen our collection. We understand how to adjust them for desired looks, how to store them and how to handle envious house guests!

7. How does business differ in Africa?

Business in Cameroon can be somewhat challenging. The culture and work ethic is very different to the UK. Perhaps that’s to do with the hotter climate or the French inspired 2 hours lunch break, but whatever the reason, management comes with the need to always be behind someone to ensure it gets done. In addition the main language is French but some of our artisans have their own dialects meaning that we often take longer to communicate effectively. Thankfully, I can now speak French.

8. What have been your biggest learnings in business?

I think my biggest challenge in starting Mukala was my underestimation of just how much I’d be invested in the business. I’ve learned about sleepless nights (through excitement or stress). I’ve learned about having to find a healthy work-life balance.

9. What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a business?

I would say that while we all want success, learn to be patient. Try to enjoy every moment, and take the hurdles as learning points. Don’t quit even though some days are hard and take some time each day to switch off and spend time with those that you love.

10. What are your top marketing tools?

Well to be honest, it’s still early days for us at Mukala. I am still learning and we currently use Instagram a lot. I think it’s the best means of reaching new customers organically. I think that engaging with your followers authentically is key to building up your fan base. Word of mouth is fundamental and so we encourage our customers to send us their pictures too. Long term, we hope to have mukala wholesalers in the UK and one day our very own store. Look out UK! 

Well we say watch this space Chloe!
Find out more and shop Mukala at www.mukalaafrica.com

Laura MaginessGlasglow Girls Club Founderwww.glasglowgirlsclub.com

 

 

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