MIT Video Case Study: Aminata Kane and Fula & Style (2014)
Aminata Kane [MBA '13] was born in Paris but brought up in Senegal. Her goal after graduate school at MIT was to create a business in Africa that would design and sell affordable, fashionable, and climate-appropriate clothing for Africa’s professional and office workers. An additional goal was to improve the lives of West African tailors. Her company, Fula&Style, would sell kits of pre-assembled, 80%-sewn apparel to be completed by local tailors in order to get a perfect fit. Materials would be sourced locally and from nearby countries as much as possible. Finding tailors to complete the apparel turned out to be the most difficult problem. Using local, self-employed tailors required substantial waiting time and frequent trips to their shops; however, these tailors wanted to be independent and not work for a business with regular work hours and a boss. One future possibility was to recruit young people and train them in the tailoring skills needed. The case shows the necessity for flexibility, making a plan and updating it frequently, having a strong mentor, being “on the ground,” knowing one’s market, and possessing a great amount of persistence and determination.
Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, 2014