Ankara In Bloom•
Posted on July 31 2019
Ankara In Bloom
Where do I start? The Exclusively Ours Collection started by creating the Fine Girl tee that I honestly didn’t plan nor prepare for it to be as successful as it is. The success of the tee, lead me to believe that there was so much more that I could create/offer that fit the Mission Lane DNA. For those new to the site, Mission Lane is not only our store name but my family’s street address in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Bonthe Sherbro Island to be exact.
So with the Fine Girl tee running its course, and a trip to Sierra Leone planned in December 2018, I started to brainstorm on styles and trends that I would consider adding to the website.
First step I started saving a few fits from different classifications (Dresses,Shorts, Tops,etc..). Second step was to reach out to my cousin Edna in Freetown, Sierra Leone to send me some pictures of fabrics and trends that the girls back home were into. She sent me sooooo many options that I had no idea where to start, she was a HUGE help in getting this collection together.
Right before my trip in December I contacted another cousin of mine and told her that I have a design that I would want the tailor that she raves about to make for me. This would be the first sample of the dress and by the time I would get there it would be complete and I can decide from there if I wanted to carry on with the style. Unfortunately things didn’t turn out as planned. I arrived in Sierra Leone and 1-2 days after my arrival I meet with the tailor gave him fabric, measurements, pictures and many examples since the style wasn’t foreign to the area, and told him that I needed all the dresses before heading back to the United States and guess what I boarded my flight to the United States with only the sample in hand and NOTHING for the website. Saying he failed to deliver is a understatement.
Frustrated and pissed off, Edna came in to save the day. Again none of this would’ve been possible without her help. She recommended a woman tailor that she’s used multiple times and said that she is very good and what she does. Fatmata who I’ve never spoken to, took all direction from Edna on everything I wanted. She made a sample, had multiple fittings and sent Edna pictures that then came to me to show how it fit, If I wanted to make any adjustments etc. Not only was she a professional, I was happy to have another woman on the team that was talented and could benefit from having this project.
After final agreeing on fit and measurements,purchasing all the fabric Fatmata got to work. A few weeks later the dresses were complete and I my mind was finally at ease. At least I thought. Next was trying to figure out how I was going to get everything to me. The items were done in February /March and didn't arrive till May, not to bad, but it was done by some Facebook stalking and noticing that a close family friend was in Sierra Leone at the time.
With all the work and patience needed to complete this project, I'm very pleased with the final product. I learned how to work with others when you are miles apart and that communication is sooo important. I'm looking forward to doing this again, now that I have a team in place. I hope you guys like the dress and tube top. Please let me know your thoughts. Here's how the final product turned out.
Ankara In Bloom Shirred Dress
Ankara In Bloom Shirred Tube Top
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