The founder of a new store selling premium African clothing, music, and lifestyle brands in Peckham says her business is all about trade – not aid, writes Tolu Bakre…
Mariam Tijani’s Bidhaar officially launched her concession store at Market Peckham, 133a Rye Lane, on October selling products made in Africa and by its diaspora communities.
Miriam, from Croydon, says the vision for the “afro-urban” business came during a visit to Nigeria, where the 31-year-old realised many modern brands struggle with distribution and marketing.
She describes Bidhaar’s target market as “cultural in-betweeners’ with a passion for Africa beyond traditional crafts.
“I want us to build legacy brands that will last forever,” she explains.
“We are careful with who we work with and want everyone to be a part of Bidhaar.
Mariam also believes Peckham’s regeneration can be an advantage in reaching new customers.
“Peckham has a bad reputation of being run down, but this is changing. I’ve known Peckham before was gentrified and its growing more and more unrecognisable by the week.
“Our minimalistic design will fit it in with the changes and hopefully it’ll attract a more diversified audience that wants to learn more about Africa.”
Brands she has selected to work with include London-based Misemi, a clothing line with a street-wear influence, and Egyptian brand Up-Fuse, which employs refugees to make backpacks and other accessories from recycled plastic bags.
“Africa doesn’t need helplines, we need to strive to support local talent – trade not aid,” says Mariam.
“If you buy from designers they are able to provide for their families. Bidhaar helps others abroad whilst creating independence.”
For more information visit www.bidhaar.co.uk