How Rwanda’s Christine Mbabazi built a Fashion Empire from her Bedroom
The journey of Christine Mbabazi to success began when she decided to make her own clothes so she could look unique and interesting.
Her friends saw her designs and convinced her to start selling them. Not long, clients started knocking at her door to ask for her creations.
“My friends saw me and saw I was very unique in parties, weddings, even at work. That’s how the word spread out. It’s still a big challenge convincing people you can go to work when you have a African fabric suit but we are still fighting those small challenges.”
Eventually, Christine had to expand into a bigger store to keep up with the orders. Currently, she is coming up with unique strategies to become a household name in Rwanda and sell her clothing globally.
“The brand is promoting African fabric and African designs, with my creativity and developing it for the rest of the world,” says Christine.
Now the owner of her own store; Christine Creative Collections (CCC), she has even bigger plans: turning her fashion boutique into a household name.
In March 2014 she made her dream of owning her own store a reality. “The brand is promoting African fabric and African designs, with my creativity, and developing it to the rest of the world,” says the young entrepreneur.
Mbabazi’s startup produces and sells a wide variety of eye-catching fashion items, including bags, shoes and clothes. Mbabazi says Rwanda is at the very heart of her brand, so every creation in her store is handmade with locally-sourced materials.
Christine believes that most people are of the opinion that “It’s a big challenge convincing people you can go to work when you have an African fabric suit. I love the African fabric,” she says.
“Growing up, I liked looking unique, I used to cut my clothes in different ways. I used to change them, I used to sew with my hands. It all inspired me to come up with what I have today.” She concluded
Mbabazi, who is also a radio presenter, makes use of social media to reach new customers, but says she has found it difficult to convince people that traditional fabrics are acceptable in formal settings.
Her next step is to take the brand, which she calls CCC for short, out of Rwanda. Mbabazi has plans to become a household name and sell abroad “I want to be exporting things made in Rwanda,” she says, “so that when you are in Europe and you see something, you’re like this is from CCC.”