Founded earlier this year by Zambian sisters; Angela, Sharon and Bupe, and their Nigerian technical counterpart Izzy, LiveFlavour is a premier online boutique that ‘aims to change the narrative surrounding the African continent by sharing and participating in the flourishing fashion industry in various African countries’. We caught up with the group to find out a little more about the company and future plans.
Can you introduce yourselves and your roles within the company.
We are Angela Mazimba, 26, Social Media and content manager; Sharon Mazimba, 22, Social Media and content; Bupe Mazimba, 24, General Manager and Izzy Chukwuemeka, 25, Web Director.
What is Live Flavour? and what does it mean?
To us, LiveFlavour is a brand and what we hope will become a movement. It is about us wanting to not only get great up-and-coming African and African-inspired designers, but also their stories and how they came to be where they are now. We are all about attempting to change the image of a continent. There are too many negative stereotypes and misconceptions about Africa as a whole, and we want to show through LiveFlavour, that the continent is full of talented individuals whose potential is only just beginning to be appreciated. LiveFlavour itself means there is so much flavor and variety in Africa, you just have to live it.
How did the idea for Live Flavour come about?
The idea came about in two ways. The first was about-how do we obtain African fashion online without needing to be in a certain country or a certain part of the world. The second was that we were extremely impressed with how many designers are working and producing amazing pieces but are hardly known. We wanted to begin a platform where we could do that for the designers and also the customers to know who made their piece. It was the realization that if the Gucci’s of the world could do it, then Africans could as well.
Three of you are sisters. What’s it like working with family? Do you ever butt heads when it comes to business decisions?
That’s an awesome question! Surprisingly we work very well together. Because we are all so close, it is very easy to keep each other accountable for what needs to get done but also to have fun with it. So many new businesses fail because the people can’t work together or they can’t get along. With us, we are family so if there is a problem we have to fix it and get right back to work. Plus we have a lot of fun and that keeps the work going without it getting too stressful.
How do you source the products for the store?
Lots of outreach! We approach designers whose pieces we like and we think are marketable and wait for an answer! Sometimes it can be frustrating because certain designers only look for wholesale relationships but we prefer a model where we can keep the lines of communication open with the designers we work with.
How do you decide what is sold on Live Flavour? Is there a requirement or guideline that designers must adhere to for their items to be considered on your platform?
There is not a set criteria to work with us. We vet the pieces based on how they incorporate Africa into them. In this case we are talking materials (kente, chitenge, mudcloth, etc). The second thing we look for is- are they wearable and can we see ourselves and our friends and other people in them? If the answer is yes then it’s a go!
Where do you see Live Flavour in the next few years?
In the next few years we hope to be carrying about 20 to 30 designers on the site. We hope our movement has also grown significantly so that people buy into the whole idea that we are working to uplift Africa along with the countless others that are doing so in business, NGOs, etc