Fashion is expanding tremendously nowadays. While more and more influencers dabble into the industry, newcomers find their luxury niche as well. This African bag brand, for example, got recognized by Beyoncé herself!
Focus On Black Community
When it comes to luxury, Wilglory Tanjong and her Anima Iris handbag brand are no exception. The Black-owned business is named after her best friend from childhood, Anima, and her mother, Iris. Although it’s already in the spotlight, the brand itself is very young. Tanjong launched it at the start of 2020. What’s so special about it? First and foremost, it’s made on the continent of Africa – in Dakar, Senegal. Secondly, every purse is made by hand! Tanjong had a fashion discovery early in life, though, so it’s only a natural sequence for her. “As a child, I always remember being really into fashion,” the founder said in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I always loved dressing up [and] just looking very nice. I think that was something that was just part of my culture as well. We always had to look nice.”
When Tanjong was studying at Princeton, she found her focus on the Black community and the African Development course. As soon as she started working her post-graduate job, she decided to take a six-month leave of absence for mental health purposes. To escape the routine, the future businesswoman went to explore the African continent, Kenya and Senegal. She started the African Hustle Series to explore entrepreneurship in Africa. Different entrepreneurs all over the continent in various industries were included in that series.
It was in Dakar and Senegal that Tanjong found her ties with other creators inspiring. There was no visa requirement there either, so she could stay and explore for longer. First, she only made a few bags for herself. Yet, the positive feedback rolled in, and Tanjong started building her brand. The most challenging thing was to continue the hustle alongside the second degree in MBA. Now, the graduate has her business thriving. ”Seeing how women, especially Black women, react to a handbag that’s luxurious…and that is also made with them in mind I think creates a special kind of emotional reaction for me [and] makes me feel like our world really needs,” she said.
“[It is] something that is missing in this luxury landscape and can be the next big thing.” Since the launch, luxury handbag brand Anima Iris has been earning more than $100,000 a month. In 2021, it made $603,819. These bags were noticed by Beyonce herself, after all! One day, Tanjong woke up to see the celebrity show off her Raspberry Zaza bag on Instagram. That’s when she knew the brand needed an expansion – more influencers were talking about Anima Iris! Furthermore, the whole website was instantly sold out. To help out the African economy and present high-quality products, Tanjong pays her Dakar employees twice as much as other workers usually make. In 2022, the company’s prospects are very positive.
“I project that we’re going to make at least $5 million next year because I think that there are a lot of opportunities for people to learn about us,” Tanjong says.
Sources: Anima Iris, Black Enterprise, CNBC