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Meet Ellisha Kamau

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellisha Kamau.

Hi Ellisha, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It all started as an undergrad at Alabama State University while attending a retail course back in 2006. I knew that e-commerce and women’s clothing accessories would be in my future but hadn’t found my niche yet. Later moved to Los Angeles, California, and met my husband who is a native of Nairobi, Kenya. He took us to Africa and instantly, I fell in love with the culture, history, and stories depicted through art. I said, “I found my niche” I want to work with African artisans to provide African-inspired jewelry and accessories for women.

Being married into the African Kikuyu Tribe and learning more about African culture and jewelry, it was only natural to merge those traditional native styles with modern-day chic. The combination of the two helped give birth to “Elegant Funk, LLC”.

In 2019, we focused on vendor events to network locally. In 2020, during the pandemic, we transitioned to online sales only using the Etsy platform (which we absolutely love) and it has been uphill since.

We launched the website on June 1st, 2021, and working diligently to provide the absolute best products, a great customer experience all while gradually scaling. It has not been an easy journey but the learning experience and growth thus far are heart-felt.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not the roughest road but most definitely a journey of lessons learned and continuous business development training. Conducting international business is not easy. Considering the communication barriers, currency exchange, trust, and managing expectations can be overwhelming at times. It literally took us a couple of years to figure out our shipping process without delays and custom issues.

Now, we are facing our biggest hurdle and that is the strategy for expansion. Marketing and lead generation are not the same as what I learned back in 2006. We are now working by trial and error to figure out what best suits our current and new customers.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
In addition to running a small business by evenings and weekends, I am a Contract Price/Cost Analyst by day. My extensive professional experience in this role has allowed me to utilize an array of international manufacturers and artisans over the years, to provide my customers with the most authentic indigenous, African-inspired unique products without compromising quality.

I am super proud to have created various professional relationships with my artisans and vendors. We work together to curate items and they always bring my vision to reality. We use different materials (some recycled) such as brass, aluminum, beads, cowrie shells, banana leaves, wire, and African fabric to make the most beautiful statement jewelry and accessories.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Authenticity and the uniqueness of our products are important to our success. None of this would be possible if I didn’t value the customer experience. We strive for excellent customer service and the timeliness of processing orders.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sunny of Photocave

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