Tongoro Studio Fashion Playful Colors At Work
Tongoro Studio Fashion Background
Sarah Diouf, launched Tongoro in the Spring of 2016. It is a 100% made in Africa label. Designed and produced in Dakar, Senegal
The focus of the brand is on understanding their customers’ wants and needs. While offering unique and playful apparel that stands out. Craftsmanship is the foundation of the brands’ designs. The clothing is meant to show in the style and imagery of everything that it is inspired by. Establishing a 360 lifestyle brand that can be embraced by anyone. In that spirit 2019 saw the launch of menswear.
A key point is the sourcing of materials on the continent and working with local tailors. Looking to establish the mindset of honoring the creativity and talent of the culture. The local artisans have the talent to rival other parts of the world. This is an opportunity to be able to put that on display. Tailoring is a huge part of the culture in Senegal.
Often asked why are she is based out of Africa. The most exciting part for me is creating visual stories. They contribute to the narrative of Africa that nobody wanted to believe existed for so long. There’s just so much pride in our land and culture. This is an opportunity to put it on display.
The Vision, Goals & Aspirations
Sarah Diouf, looks to solve the equation between local tailoring, African style, mainstream fashion, and a global customer base. The question became how can she blend off it together and come up with something that is new, different and can generate income through sales. Creating jobs. Trying to find an angle to tell the story that will resonate with everyone.
The long-term goal is to create an Africa-based manufacturing foundation. One that can foster economic and social development of the talented homegrown artisanal workers in Western Africa.
Entrepreneurial Spirit & Marketing A Brand
One of the challenges of shopping online is trust and building audience awareness. Knowing that to be the case especially for an African brand. Sarah took to doing pop up stores in different cities where there’s potential for the brand to grow. You get the opportunity to have people come in and feel and try on the clothes. Become more familiar with the style and the fit. Increased the audience following up with going to the online site and making the purchase.
Reinvesting the earnings and getting all of her tailors under one roof in 2018. Taking great pride in the first person to see the new space being her Grandmother. Who will be one of the first to let people know the meaning of Tongoro is “Star” in Sango. That kind of belief and encouragement can take you far in business and building something special. Nothing tops the experience of seeing your vision come to life.
As an entrepreneur, you have to have a vision that goes beyond your comfort zone. Which is why she’s chosen Africa for her home base because there is no limit to her ability to her extension and expansion. She can produce anywhere in Africa.
Gaining Notoriety Through Stars Acknowledgment
One of the biggest boosts to the labels are the people who have discovered and worn the label’s womenswear & menswear. Stars like Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keyes, Iman. The list is continuing to grow along with its popularity.
Sarah can remember closing out monthly sales at $6K per month. Once Beyonce posted herself wearing different pieces on social media. The number jumped to $22K that following month. Visiting stores when you touched down in Africa. Is an experience that stands out for the designer. Then following it up with a donning the clothing in her video “Spirit” for the Lion King. Opening so many doors that other known stars walked through.
Tongoro Studio has been listed among the Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies for 2020. While placing 7th on the top 10 most innovative companies in Africa for 2020. Gaining accolades and featured in articles and magazines like Nylon as one of the 5 African designers you need to know. Clothes featured in Vogue, British Vogue Style Dispatch, Elle as well as Bazaar, and many more.