Thursday, 13 October 2016

Photos: Woman from Trinidad is building an empire by exporting Nigeria’s culture globally


Joanna Boer, the 36-year-old unassumingly daring Trinidadian entrepreneur is not just content with living a life of luxury behind high, gated expat walls, she saw opportunity in this situation and has spent the last 3 years cashing out gleefully to the bank.

Her company Empire Jane turns everything from street craft, scenic photos, slangs, street lingo, buzz words and social media viral trends into custom crafted homeware and gift items. These items are produced and sold to members of the expat community across Nigeria, to locals (who are fascinated with seeing their local cultures properly packaged) and to a global travel market interested in African culture.


The streets of Lagos are one of the liveliest places on the African continent, the lingo, mannerisms and vibes of Lagos has a huge influence on Nigeria’s movie and music industry. The movie and music industry has become a huge cultural export, not only shaping life and living in Nigeria but in other African countries were it is consumed.

Most of Nigeria’s current movie and music releases builds heavily on ideas from the street and viral internet sensations.


From the dirt filled roads of the local craft market in the Jakande-Lekki axis of Lagos to the over populated, nearly suffocating and sweat drenched Balogun market, Joanna can be seen navigating these places herself. Joanna buys the fabric herself; an opportunity to not only haggle prices but also to learn a thing or two from the local traders, or to use her own words, an opportunity to “get into it”


All of her staff and tailors are young Nigerian men who have been with her from the beginning. I noticed the tailoring, product finishing and quality was impeccable which prompted me to ask a few questions about her team.

Joanna and her team literally turned her home to her factory, her team of local tailors and assistants resume daily at her home. She says it was the best decision she had to make to get her passion off the ground due to exorbitant prices of real estate in Lagos.


Culled from TheNerve Africa

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