We have had the pleasure of interviewing the creative ones of SIKHA, a fashion brand that was born with the clear intention of highlighting the handcrafted savoir-faire of Togo, adapting to the European style, and particularly to the Parisian style.
Q.- What is the meaning of SIKHA?
A.- SIKHA means “gold” in Ewe, the language spoken in West Africa. The women in my family love gold, especially in costume jewelry, and as they are a true inspiration to me, it seemed original to put this name on my brand (although I personally am not a big fan of gold).
Q.- What motivated you to start your brand?
A.- Since I was young I always liked to create, draw, paint… I even won a contest of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. That is why I wanted to take advantage of this innate creativity to undertake and realize my dream, which is to have my own brand of clothes. My colleague Wesley takes care of the most technical part. Because it is very meticulous and has a more scientific view of things, we form the perfect team!
Q.- What is your cultural heritage and how does it inspire you?
A.- I was born in France and I am of Togolese origin. And Wesley is from Martinique, an Atlantic island of France. We both come from a multicultural Parisian neighborhood, and our best friends are from all over the world. All this has made us grow in an environment with a very special cultural richness, and it has certainly inspired us.
Q.- How would you describe the aesthetics of SIKHA?
A.- SIKHA is Africa, but the fashion line is also influenced by the Parisian style and the many trips I have made across different continents. SIKHA is as plural and diverse as the world is.
Q.- What makes your designs unique and stand out from the rest?
A.- We have a very defined style. As we know that there are already several Afro brands we try to keep a simple line throughout our collection. We also produce very few units, in fact there is only one unit of each garment.
Q.- Tell us a little more about the latest SIKHA collection. What are the key pieces?
A.- Our key piece is the Suit & Tie, a very special suit (both for its fabric and for its patronage) and we have designed it with a lot of pampering so that whoever carries it feels unique and special. We wanted to wink the famous piece by Yves Saint Laurent but with an Afro touch! The Unique Dress is also a key piece and very versatile. It can be combined in several ways and fits all types of body.
Q.- Diversity continues to be a problem for many industries, including fashion. What is your vision for the future for SIKHA?
A.- We would like to further develop the accessories part, so that we can be present in more cities. At the moment we are in Madrid, and we will arrive in Paris next year. Our idea is to always convey the lifestyle and philosophy of SIKHA.
Q.- What are the main challenges you have encountered when building a business in Europe and how have you overcome them?
A.- Especially a lot of paperwork. I think I already have an administrative “phobia.” My great luck is to have Wesley, who is in charge of solving and managing everything with great agility. In the end the solution is to surround themselves with people who have skills that perfectly complement your own.
Q.- “Sustainability” is a recurring theme in global fashion and is presented less as a slogan and more as a central value, anchoring its entire methodology. How does ethics marry aesthetics?
A.- At SIKHA, ethics and aesthetics are two complementary concepts. For us it is essential that each part of the company is remunerated fairly. We want both the people who work with us and the customers who buy our items to be satisfied with their work and purchases respectively.
Q.- In terms of sales and marketing, how do you reach customers and what are the results?
A.- We do not have a 100% defined strategy, we are observing what works best at all times. What we like the most is to feel close to current clients and potential clients, that they have the confidence to write and talk to us. We want you to know the brand, its garments, the origin and our work philosophy as well as possible.
Q.- What are your three tips for managing and promoting a successful online market?
A.- Do everything with the greatest possible honesty. And not only being honest with yourself, but also with customers. Transparency is key. Then, obviously, the rigor, know how to work well. And for me, the most important thing is to have fun and be excited about your work. I think it’s wonderful to be able to get a good job done and enjoy a lot of laughter at the same time. For example, our latest collection was very hard; We worked days and nights without stopping, but I also remember that we laughed a lot. In the end, this good humor and the positive energy that we always have are perceived in the collection.
Q. – Finally, some advice to inspire young and / or emerging entrepreneurs.
A.- Never, ever give up! Well, you don’t know when and how the results will come. And as they arrive, enjoy and feel happy with what you do.