Owner: Souadou Barry
Please introduce yourself and your brand.
I’m a Senegalese born Architect and Designer, I specialize in handbags. I grew up in Senegal West Africa and went to France at the age of 18 to study Architecture. I finished my degree at Howard University in WDC and now I live in Florida with my family. I’m the founder and creative director of Fulani Handbags a luxury handbag brand which signature mark is a contemporary twist on a ceremonial and iconic traditional fabric from Senegal called Rabal. I design simple silhouettes with an elegant profile that showcases the richness of the eclectic fabric I use. Each handbag reflects a subtle aesthetic mix between Africa and the West, chic and avant-garde, designed for a diverse clientele. Fulani’s philosophy is to offer a product of intuitive and accessible luxury. Fulani bags are the perfect everyday accessory, timeless elegance with a touch of eclectic sensitivity while remaining at the forefront of the latest trends in fashion.
What was the inspiration behind starting Fulani and how has it been since you started your brand?
I’ve always been very creative, I played around with sculpting, drawing and painting… I’ve always been fascinated by Architecture. Loved fashion but never thought of becoming a handbags designer, until I started working with a woven fabric called rabal on a home decor project. From there the vision to use this rich and colorful fabric as an inspiration for a handbag line was born. With so many pattern and color possibilities the design options were endless. Fulani takes an ancient pattern and makes it contemporary again.
Its been a very interesting ride, and I am still learning every day. Starting up I knew how to get my ideas on paper which was a great advantage but everything else from sourcing, to production and marketing and sales, I had to learn and sometimes the hard way. Building brand awareness is a long process but I am finally starting to see people embrace my design and that is so rewarding. At the end of the day its the support I receive from customers that keeps me going.
What or who inspires you?
I used to say that my work is inspired by my travels and by all the places I’ve been, and where I come from but in reality its more complex then that. Inspiration comes from so many places, I believe it comes from a series of events and experiences that translates into emotions.
What do you love about the work you do and what can we look forward to?
I love to create and design, that’s the second most enjoyable part of my work beside seeing my creations being worn, that’s when they really come to life. I would like diversify my product offering and open flagship stores in major African cities.
What is the future of African Designers and African products?
I think the sky is the limit. There are so many talented African designers and there is a great market for African inspired products, its not a niche anymore, this market has extended beyond the African continent. Consumers are embracing us like never before and there are some many channels such as your platform to reach them.