Ara Emporium stitches new path with fabrics from the continent
Classic, timeless and ageless, this is what has inspired women’s clothing brand Ara Emporium. At the launch of their flagship store in Melville, Nigerian-born founder Funke Majekodunmi said she was inspired by her own need for clothing that was perfect for the workplace and still had longevity.
As a contractor in the telecommunications industry, Majekodunmi often travels to different countries, buying fabrics from the different places she visits. With a vast and particular exposure to different styles of fashion, Majekodunmi was well equipped to start her own company.
In 2016, Majekodunmi left her nine-to-five job in pursuit of making Ara Emporium a success. At the time, Ara Emporium sold pre-made garments but due to the complications of importing goods, Majekodunmi chose to start designing her own clothing instead.
Heavily inspired by telling an African story, the Ara Emporium name became an eye-opener for Majekodunmi.
"So I thought Ara means style in my local language but my sister who is much older than me said 'it’s not style, it means wonder',” said Majekodunmi, sharing how she chose the name for its double-barrel meaning of creating effortless style and wonder. “When you wear it, you must feel like you are going to conquer the world.”
Brand adviser to Ara Emporium, Louise Darko, said the success of the boutique is the importance of learning how to separate between one’s brand and business.
“Do you have something that’s memorable? Is it a good name? Is it spelt correctly? Is it something other people from other countries will understand and if they can’t, you should have a good logo,” said Darko. “So, once you find your target continually bring them in on the ride, story tell and teach them. If you have their attention that is the best thing you can do. Brand loyalty comes from a good fit but it is also a good gimmick.”
Majekodunmi hopes to continue more dialogue sessions like the one she recently held at the launch at their store in Melville. The team also hopes to not only branch out to different countries but also to open their own studio as well.