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Shade and Nafi: Mother, daughter and business partners
We often hear of mothers and daughters being best friends, but what about mothers and daughters being successful business partners? The faces of our Mother’s Day campaign, designer Shade Affogbolo and her mother Nafi Affogbolo, know all about this special relationship. Together, the Parisian pair runs the successful brand Nash Prints It. Amazed and enchanted, we sat down for a chat with Shade and Nafi about their business, style, ambitions and mother-daughter relation.
The brand offers fashion classics for both women and men, and exclusively uses wax fabrics. They work very closely with a tailor in Benin who produces all of their clothes. “We want to promote both the variety and beauty of wax fabrics and the savoir-faire of African artisans,” Shade explains.
So how does this work? In Nash Prints It, Shade is the Jack-of-all-trades and master of everything. She is the creative director and face of the brand, designer of the clothes, she choses which fabric to work with, tries the samples, runs the website, does the campaign shoots, press relations and does business with wholesale buyers. “But my mother’s work is essential to everything I do within the company. For example, she oversees the production in the production of our cloths in Benin, which is such an important part of our business. And of course, I need my mother’s advice on designs and other matters.”
Can you describe each other in three words?
Nafi: Shade is bright, creative and strong
Shade: My mom is strong, elegant and generous.
How did you go from mother and daughter to being businesswomen together?
Shade: My mother is a very talented stylist, but had not developed her career. When I was graduating in journalism, my father wanted the family to help getting my mother back to work again.
Nafi: He even offered me money to get back to work. But I refused. But then Shade suggested starting a company together, so of course I gave in.
Shade: I always wanted to work with my mother! So I decided to start the brand, so she could help me. Working with African artisans and Wax fabrics was an idea that felt natural to us both. We both wanted to honour our origins.
Which qualities do you value most in each other professionally?
Shade: I would say I most value my mother’s attention on details, her savoir-faire, her involvement with the tailor atelier in Benin. Her sure taste.
Nafi: Shade decides quickly.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from each other?
Nafi: Organisation, and keeping a thread.
Shade: I literally “learned” fashion from her. She is my cornerstone in that sense. And having her by my side in this adventure has helped me trust myself and fight for my ideas.
In which way do you think you complete each other?
Nafi: My experience in fashion. I am a stylist and I used to have my own shop with dressmakers and tailors in Senegal. I think Shade appreciates that experience because it was real, effective and local. My experience reflects a combination of her youth, her view on her generation and her fresh creativity. That is what has driven Nash Prints It.
Shade: We also complete each other because we are from different generations. She is a style icon. Much more feminine than I am. She has witnessed eras of fashion that I would have loved to see. The combination of our experiences and styles creates a twisted classical, and timeless fashion that I love.
What do you reckon is the big advantage of working with a family member?
Nafi: It is easy because we know and trust each other.
Shade: Trust. Complicity. And when we disagree, we have to peacefully find a way to fix it. Our bond as a mother and daughter is always the priority, and we both are attached to our brand.
What do you look forward to / hope to achieve together in the future?
Shade: We would love to develop our brand into a lifestyle brand that would be a universal reference in the Afropean style we experience and share through our creations.
Nafi: I totally agree with Shade. We want to realize this by continuing to work with African artisans. We would love to help them in becoming acknowledged for their talent and becoming a respected part of the fashion industry. Also, I am looking forward to settle the production in Benin and to upgrade it with better equipment.