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Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses! Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Entrepreneurship

Mary SKYROCKETS with her MAFCouture Line and AMAZING and FAST design!

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Mary from MAFCouture

MaFCouture

When I was a child I was kinda the “happy feet” of my family.

Designed by Mary for MAFCouture

Designed by Mary for MAFCouture

What are your roots?

I am a Cameroonian with Some mix of Nigerian heritage. I came to the Netherlands when I was  about 14-15 years old.

 

 

Do you have siblings?

I do have siblings here in the Netherlands that I stay with.

One is a musicianBessemoh.com– and the other one is an IT guy that loves fashion shows and parties.

 

Is sewing a thing in the family?

No, sewing wasn’t really an inheritance from my family neither can my grandma or my mother sew. She’s (my mother) very creative but sewing I never saw her do. I actually developed this talent on my own and I enjoy it thoroughly.

WATCH the MAFCouture Launch Party coverage here.

 

 

MAFCouture by Mary

MAFCouture by Mary

What would be your passion if you didn’t choose to be a designer?

Hehe, Dancing!! When I was a child I was kinda the “happy feet” of my family.

 

MAFCouture design worn by model

MAFCouture design worn by model

Why are your designs different than the rest?

My designs are different from the rest because it comes from a place inside of me. When I want to get creative the most I shut off everything, go in myself and start imagining things.

 

The "Janet" dress worn by stunning model

The “Janet” dress worn by stunning model

 

 

Then will I sketch them all down. Every creation I design is clearly to be seen from the things I make for my clients.

It is like two different worlds. I am literally attached to my designs, because they are very personal to me.

 

Mary in one of her own designs made with a long train

Mary in one of her own designs made with a long train

Do you feel like you have any competition here in the Netherlands?

In Holland? Not that I have seen. In countries outside the Netherlands, yes! Like a Ghanaian designer called: Christie Brown. I love her stuff!

I feel like she is a game changer and it scares me the most because we think alike and that can bring some tension between us.

 

MAFCouture

MAFCouture

Who is your favorite manufacturer for Ankara fabrics?

I can’t say I have any. But who do I think they have creative patterns and designs in their fabrics? Julius Jansen in Helmond.

 

I can name designers that are better than Louis Vuitton and the rest

 

What is your favorite place u have traveled to up till now?

My favorite so far will have to be London.

Is your plan to go international?

Yes

 

Please learn how to support each other and connect with the person

 

Where do you expect to be in 5 years’ time?

My own small boutique here in Holland, France, Cameroon, London and Nigeria next to my atelier where I could freely express myself through my creativity and travel the world for more inspiration and collaboration.

Mary with her models at a runway show

Mary with her models at a runway show

Have u ever experienced being treated different because of the color of your skin?

Yes, I had this crazy experience once in Rotterdam Blaak. An interior shop that was close by the metro station Rotterdam Blaak was open that I was passing by to get some furniture to work with. I went to the shop and the door had a note that stated that the store was open . If the door was closed I should ring the bell so I did. I had a black hoodie on from sweatswithattitude and a black legging.

This guy walked up to me to open the door took a look at me and tries to imply that they were closed. When I brought to his attention what was written on the door he then asked me to come in.

I went in feeling this awkward “we don’t need you here” kinda stare. I saw amazing things and I was inspired! While looking around this guy stood by the help desk and stared at me the entire time meanwhile there was a Dutch girl in the place with a huge camera.

So I pulled out my phone to take some pictures; he rushed quickly to me and asked me to not take pictures of their stuff cause it is their new Collection bla bla bla.

Meanwhile the girl next to me was doing just that. Ok, I said fine. Before I knew it he handed me their card and said I could look at the things online and showed me the door.

I was not even ready to leave yet, men I was super pissed and I was sad the whole day because of it.

 

MAFCouture for every one!

MAFCouture for every one!

How do you feel about diversity in fashion?

I feel as though it is very much needed especially NOW! I can name designers that are better than LV and the rest.

We need those people to inspire our little black children at least they won’t be insulted by them or called names in public like these other designers out here do to black people. Our black kids should also know that their moms and pops are able to archive such names and success in the fashion industry as well to motivate them and most importantly inspire them.

Fashion show by Mary

Fashion show by Mary

What do you want to see change in the fashion nowadays?

The skinny models. Let’s start elevating the big girls and the world will be a little better . Because a confident woman can archive a lot.

Fashion to make our men look like women; Please stop that! I cannot allow my kids to be inspired by such designers, so they need us. They need change!

Adama Jobe for MAFCouture

Adama Jobe for MAFCouture

What do you consider fashion?

Fashion for me is a form of expression. Who I am inside shows on the outside by what I wear and how I present myself. But fashion has a lot of meanings and translations world wide.

Fashion comes with presentation.. how do I want to present myself to the world. Different, mixes, cultural influences or whatever.

Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Does fashion come with size or do all models have to be a size 4?

Like I said earlier, if fashion came with just one size which means the big girls won’t be able to express themselves. Fashion is for all sizes.

Do you have a partner?

Hehe, who would like to know?

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I am happy when I am eating. If you want to make me happy, get me food.

Fashion by MAFCouture

Fashion by MAFCouture

What is your favourite song at the moment?

Assurance by Davido

Where can we FIND YOU!

Instagram: mafcouture
Personal IG : mary_tataw
Facebook page : mafcouture
Pinterest : mafcouture
Snapchat : youngestceo
Facebook group: My Ankara Closet NL

 

Mary

Mary

Final say?

“For the African male/females that have businesses in the Netherlands please learn how to support each other and connect with the person. Let love rules above all Love is the strongest. We can do whatever, give shoutouts, hold meetings or seminars but without love all we do is vain.” – Mary

 

 

“Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another,
 for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God 
and knows God [through personal experience].”

‭‭1 JOHN‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭AMP

MARY

Mary and models

Mary and models

Entrepreneurship

Why I speak their names

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 I don’t know sh&^%t

My life as an entrepreneur started around thirteen years ago. A know-it-all 29-year-old young woman. Mother of three children. Two biological and one bonus. I had this very idealistic idea and nobody could tell me otherwise. Well, after falling flat on my face a couple of times and many sleepless nights, disappointments and heartaches came the realization that maybe I didn’t know it all at all……in fact that maybe I don’t know sh&^%t.

This was a tough pill to swallow

What I came to realize is that entrepreneurship is one of the most spiritual journeys you will ever be on. There is nowhere to hide, nobody to blame. You have to self-reflect on a regular, be open to change your way….basically stepping out of your own way.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Grief the people you lose along the way. Be accountable for your failures so you can transform them into success. All this and much more but the most important part is being clear about your why! Cause let me tell you guys something, there will be many many moments that you will declare yourself to be crazy for continuing.

In all honesty, to be an entrepreneur you got to have a bit of crazy in you. I know that’s right! (In Sawaeetie’s voice)

What will sustain you through the moments when you are frustrated, disappointed, or have to cry yourself to sleep is your purpose. It may sound like a cliche but it’s my testimony.

My purpose was to be part of a movement, built companies to provide opportunities for ourselves so we can create them for our children. In July 2010 I wrote a poem explaining my Why. At the time we were a group of black women, mothers working together in realizing our dreams.

It is because of you today WE RISE!!!!

I dedicated this poem to my children and the women I was working with at the time. I would like to share it with you. It’s called We speak your names.

We speak your names Tariq, Iyanla, Hakim, Glenn, Roli, Dwayne, Omar, Jaden, Musa, Angelina, Hadjia, Euson, Iluminee, Uriel, Khadian, Lakisha, Kimani, Melanta, Rayla, Donna, Gillion, Brandon, and all the other ones.
We realize that we stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us, as we are making way for the ones coming after us. We take our own responsibility so that you can stand upon our shoulders.
It is for you that today we day we refuse to remain in the victim role and to be content with a marginal existence.
It is for you who are growing up in these beautiful neighborhoods that we say; enough is enough.
Enough with the labels of disadvantaged.
It is for you that today, now (!) we stand up and act together to move forward.
Because our dream for you is that you have freedom of choice. That your zip code doesn’t determine your study advice. 
In ten or twenty years there must be a business network consisting of successful companies in various industries where you can have internships, get jobs, and/or subsequent take over companies.
It is because of you today WE RISE!!!!

Fast forward to 2021 and look at all the amazing black-owned business networks.

Baba Kwabena told me in my early twenties that a self-respecting community should own the three E’s: Education, Economics & Enforcement.

WE may still have a long road ahead of us but we are slowly but surely on our way. For the new entrepreneurs make sure you are clear of your why. Your purpose. Trust me there will be moments on your journey that it’s the only thing you have to hold on to. Hold on to it and keep on RISING. Our children need you. Speak their names and a new reality for them into existence.

Ashé

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Entrepreneurship

Aaron West, extremely passionate about inspiring change in others

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Can you introduce yourself?

So, my full name is Aaron West, I am 31, Black and proud and I was born and mostly raised in Shreveport, Louisiana by my mom and grandparents. My mom moved my twin brother, little sister and I from Shreveport to Houston when I was 15 after she graduated from college and I’ve been here ever since. I would say I had a pseudo-rural upbringing in Shreveport because it was a slower city compared to Houston.

I say this not to imply we lived on a farm and milked cows but basically Shreveport as a city was far behind what Houston was in terms of modern black culture like fashion, music etc. Upon arriving to Houston I really started to think I was living on BET because everything and everyone was so cool and fashion forward lol. My brother, sister and I played most sports growing up to stay busy and I think that is probably where I grew to love Fitness.

What are you passionate about?

I am extremely, extremely, extremely, passionate about inspiring change in others. I would say I simply love to see people change their bodies or achieve their fitness goals, because I’m a personal trainer, but it’s so much deeper than that. For me it’s all about helping others understand what can be done with a little effort. Nothing and no one can make me feel as I do in the moment that someone who I talked to previously about where I see them going with their body remembers that conversation while presently living in that body we talked about in the past.

I own a personal training studio where I conduct one-on-one sessions with clients and sure we talk about fitness but it is not uncommon for us to also talk about other life goals, in-fact we probably talk about more life coaching type things than anything else, I really just enjoy helping people reach their full potential in every facet of life.

 

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

 

What is your profession?

My profession is complex but if I had to label it I would say I am an entrepreneur because I create things. Currently I am operating as personal trainer in my personal training studio but I have goals of becoming a motivational speaker and I also plan to start a few non-profits and other business outside of fitness.

How long have you owned ur fitness business?

By the grace of God my business has been open for almost 3 years. I started Almost PerFit Fitness after graduating from University of Houston and having a hard time finding what I considered a “real job”. I was still working for a local gym as a personal trainer and as a very broke post-college grad I figured that there was no better time to start a business than at the bottom, that way me and Almost PerFit Fitness( the business) literally would grow together.

With no real business plan I simply started training clients on the side in parks for less than what they would pay at the gym but was able to pocket more than what the gym was paying me. As business grew I decided to rent a space add some fitness equipment “wollah” i was in business on your own.

 

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

 

How do make sure your clients eat healthy?

I usually cannot really control how my clients eat so once I design the meal plan best tailored to their needs I focus on making sure they understand how eating wrong can impact their fitness goals. I’ve found that the more they understand the better their food decisions would be. I weigh my clients in weekly to track progress towards or away from their goal and then make adjustments.

Why start your own business?

I would now presently answer this question with “why not?” but honestly I never considered working for myself until I realized that I was worth more than what someone was willing to pay me to do a job I could create on my own. It is actually something I heard “Master P” of No Limit records say about his decision to start independent. I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everyone but it is definitely worth a shot if you are passionate about adding value to someone’s life with a service or product.

 

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years I see myself in the fitness industry. I actually plan to remain in the industry for the rest of my life but as a trainer to trainers as opposed to simply a trainer. I would like to have a larger platform to help more people in various ways.

Do you have other hobbies or crazy habits?

Aside from working out I really enjoy photography. I actually do most of my own photography for promotional flyers, social media marketing etc with a Nikon D330. I’m a self professed student to the craft and I’m also actively learning more about editing software. Me and my girlfriend are learning a few actually to help with our couples YouTube channel.

I have one habit that I think is pretty crazy, I am constantly stretching my body trying to get comfortable from multiple weekly workouts. I’ll be in bed literally popping and stretching until I finally fall asleep. It’s actually pretty common in the bodybuilding world and I wouldn’t say it’s painful but at every opportunity I feel the need to stretch my muscles/joints out I am probably going to stop everything I’m doing and do it, it’s weird but it feels so necessary. Other than that I’m just a guy .*lol*

Check out his Instagram for more about his business and some stunning pictures!

 

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

 

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Culture

Angel Rich the Melanin Wonder named to be “The next Steve Jobs” by Forbes!!

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Angel Rich “The Next Steve Jobs”

 

Angel Rich, from Washington, DC, has developed a very innovative app called Credit Stacker that teaches students about personal finance, credit management skills, and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. The app is so popular that 200,000 people (and growing) downloaded it to their smartphones and tablets within just two weeks of its launch.

 

Melanin Wonder Angel was raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Hampton University. She also studied at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Way to represent her Melanin self!

She briefly worked as a global market research analyst for Prudential, where she conducted over 70 financial behavior modification studies.

She says that during her time there, she helped the company generate more than $6 billion in revenue. She resigned, however in 2013, to start her own company, The Wealth Factory.

Remarkably, the app has been named the “best financial literacy product in the country” by the Office of Michelle Obama, the “best learning game in the country” by the Department of Education, and the “best solution in the world for reducing poverty” by JP Morgan Chase. It has won first place in several business competitions including the Industrial Bank Small Business Regional Competition and the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. Angel has won more than $50,000 in business grants with her efforts.

Her company’s Credit Stacker app is available in four languages and in 40 countries and is rapidly approaching 1 million downloads.

Although the app is free for users to download, the revenue model is to generate money on the back-end from advertisers in addition to existing contracts. She also has a partnership with the D.C. Dept of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.

In time, other major financial companies like NASDAQ, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Wells Fargo, and more will likely want to get on board as well

 

Download the Credit Stacker app from the iTunes App store here, visit:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creditstacker/id1130346776

Download the Credit Stacker app from the Google Play app store now, visit:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.capital.creditstacker

Follow Melanin Wonder Angel Rich on Facebook and visit www.facebook.com/wealthylifers

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