Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Our Own Stories is back! Check out our latest blog featuring April & April Home, an African inspired home decor company. Learn more our about this new Black owned business below
How did April & April Home come to be?
I have always had a penchant for the arts and design, which oddly often shows up in my tech career, but the idea for April & April Home was birthed when I was at home on maternity after having my son. Having just moved into a new home I was on a hunt for on trend interior accessories with a twist – African design. Not finding the right fit for the interior styles I pictured, off I went fabric-shopping, and with the humble help of my small sewing machine wallowing in a state of disuse, I made some cushions covers and kids room decor. These piqued the interest of friends and family, especially my husband; a home interior enthusiast who encouraged me to take this a bit more seriously and pursue a business out of it. The rest is now history.
Inspiration behind the name?
The name is inspired (as you may have guessed) by the month of April and what it connotes - freshness, spring colours, the bloom - always sparks my imagination. But, also, April is a special month for me as it is my birth month and as well as my husband's. So, it is from all of these, that's where the double ‘April’ play on word was derived.
You create all the products found on your Etsy page! Walk us through the creative process. How do you design the cushions and wall prints?
This usually starts with the inspiration first, which is usually from anything and anywhere - the outdoors, kids' books, clothing, online – naming a few. The designs for both my soft furnishings and wall prints starts with an initial rough or detailed sketch using the good old pencil and paper. Then I work on matching colours and creating a colour palette, to see what would go with what, before going further to create a mock-up using a design tool.
How do you source your fabrics?
As with my creative process, I start by drawing my concept design, just to work out the right my fabric selections and sourcing, giving a great deal of consideration to mixing patterns and textures. Once I have a visual of some sort - manual or digital, then I proceed by going on to sourcing the fabrics, which are from Nigeria (especially the African wax print) and the UK. The only time this changed a little was in the height of the pandemic when I had no choice but to procure through a UK-based supplier, especially for my wax print fabric.
Greatest accomplishments and challenges as a business so far?
Although the idea for my business came to be whilst on maternity a few years back, April & April Home as business only kicked off in 2020 – in the lockdown, with the launch of my first range – Autumn/Winter collection. For me this is an achievement as I have never thought of myself as an interior designer-maker.
And the challenge, nothing has ever posed a challenge to me like juggling a small business – building the brand and juggling a career with a young family. However, I am learning to pace myself and avoid stretching myself too thin to the point of overwhelm in the season I am currently in.
What does it mean to you to be Black owned business?
It is encouraging to see the spotlight on Black-owned brands and Black entrepreneurship in showcasing our talents and creativity. I feel particularly proud and excited that I can also use my creativity in offering a product range that is reflective of my African heritage, with a market appeal that cuts across all backgrounds. That said, I am mindful of the expectations therein, which is to prove myself twice over and always strive towards excellence.
How are you adapting your business to the COVID-19 environment?
Currently my business is solely conducted online, which makes adapting to the COVID-19 climate less strenuous. The delays I experienced in the height of the pandemic on sourcing has taught me to keep alternatives as far as procuring my fabrics goes. When I am unable to access physically located suppliers, connecting with suppliers is always my next option.
Any advice for Black creatives or entrepreneurs?
I have not been in the entrepreneur game long enough to offer advice as I am still learning the ropes. However, I would say exactly what I often tell myself: know why you started (or you are starting) and stay on course. Be agile and do not be afraid to build on your idea instead of waiting until you have everything ready before setting off on the entrepreneurial journey.