Amira Rasool, the 26-year-old tech founder behind The Folklore, is making history as one of the youngest Black women to raise over $1 million in pre-seed funding for a fashion and lifestyle company.
Rasool was just 22 years old when she created The Folklore, the e-commerce platform offering fashion and lifestyle products from Africa and the diaspora. Now with the new funding, from investors like WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, Rasool is expanding The Folklore to include a new B2B wholesale e-commerce platform called The Folklore Connect.
“Our vision is to see a customer walk into their local boutique looking for a last-minute outfit and find products from their favorite African and diasporic brands,” Rasool told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“The more retailers we connect with brands, the closer we will get to making that a reality for everyone around the world.”
The new platform will allow global retailers to more easily discover and work with African and diasporic designer fashion and lifestyle brands. The funding sets Rasool apart and made her one of the few Black women to raise over $1 million in venture capitalist funds, as noted by Business Insider.
“Our mission since inception in 2018 is to bring African and diasporic designer brands to the forefront of the global high-end fashion and lifestyle industry,” Rasool said.
“As a part of this mission, we are creating solutions that have a positive impact on the way brands, retailers, and consumers engage in conscious commerce.”
Rasool is passionate about creating new opportunities for African designers who have historically been undervalued or ignored when compared to their Western contemporaries. In recent years, retailers have started amplifying more designers from diverse backgrounds.
The shift inspired Rasool to pivot her business model to help retailers keep up with the demand..
“For brands, we are helping by developing streamlined supply chain systems that expand entrepreneurship, jobs, manufacturing, and the overall African and diasporic economy,” Rasool said. “For retailers, we are helping them discover and access the brands of the future that their customers will love and buy.”
Despite the hurdles, Rasool was able to convince her investors of The Folklore’s importance within the fashion and lifestyle sector.
“The biggest challenge was trying to sell investors on the market size without having hard data,” Rasool admitted. “There are not many studies on the high end African and diasporic fashion and lifestyle industry, much of the information out there now is dated or very broad.”
“Since most of the investors we were speaking to were not familiar with this market, getting certain investors to see the huge multi-billion dollar opportunity was difficult.”
The Folklore Group is now accepting applications for the next wave of brands and retailers to join the
waitlist for The Folklore Connect. To learn more about The Folklore Group, visit www.thefolklore.com, and
to explore The Folklore Connect, visit connect.thefolklore.com.