The Story Behind the Malagasy Fashion Brand Voahary
Madagascar is blessed with a fashion industry that thrives much better than most, in Africa. Its industry is blessed with creative entrepreneurs who are doing amazing work in their spaces, mostly using resources that are native to them. In this week’s edition, we celebrate Voahary, a Malagasy brand that has established itself as a household name for quality high end fashion accessories!
Voahary is a fashion company based in Madagascar that was birthed in 2018. The company is founded by Mino Randrianasolo in 2018. It works mainly with Raphia and aims to highlight both the material and the know-how to make high-end accessories. The birth of Voahary was inspired by its founder's passion for handcrafted items. The name Voahary was an obvious choice because it is the first name of his eldest son, which means "Natural" or "Creation" in Malagasy.
Having started with only 3 people, Voahary now has about fifteen employees. Its founder Mino, has a background in Marketing and International Trade and she has an experience as a commercial in an international transport company.
During the initial set up of the company, Mino was supported by a very young team who had skills in business administration (Sarah Lalatiana Production and quality manager 23 years old and To Fifaliana Operations Manager 23 years old). When the company started its vision was to be able to provide quality and original products that are both beautiful and practical in order to achieve this, it started with the sale of fairly basic items on the Facebook platform. Setting up the workshop was easy but the business faced challenges in getting a serious notoriety. As the company grew, it managed to adopt strategies such as segmenting-targeting-positioning in order to overcome these obstacles.
Now in 2021, Voahary sells high end bags. Its market is mainly local or expatriate working women who aspire to consume in a more responsible way through handmade products from natural fiber. Voahary’s market has grown over time and the brand has recorded significant milestones such as:
- The birth of a collection dedicated to women "Viavy" in collaboration with the brand 3 Ladies Pirates in 2020
- Mino's selection in the WETECH WILE 2020 adventure (she is one of 30 finalists among 300 candidates)
- Moving the workshop to a more spacious and comfortable location and opening the showroom in Antananarivo in late 2020
This April, Voahary launched a new collection of bags called EUPHORIA. The young brand is inspired this time by the great outdoors to discover and surpass itself. The whole collection is an invitation to escape and go far away. Euphoria (in the right sense) or this feeling of excitement that runs through us and makes us feel an intense happiness precisely at the moment when we are free and freed from the barriers that life can impose on us.
The choice of colors was turned towards pastel tones with green, blue and lavender for their soothing virtues (serenity, well-being and reverie). Other more pronounced colors such as caramel (orange tone) or saffron were also added to express the joy of living and optimism.
The whole team contributed to the creation process, the artisans for the proposal of new crochet stitches as well as the workshop managers for the details of each bag.
All the pieces of the collection have been thought for a nice day of mopping whether in the city, in the countryside or at the sea. Large tote bags, shoulder bags, small bags will make the happiness of the free woman, decided to take in hand her life.
Adapting to COVID 19
“Although we are doing better now, there has been a drop in productivity within the company. There have also been some artisans who have not been able to work anymore with us. During the containment period we have favored work at home by the artisans by setting up a system where they can pick up and bring back their work without being forced to work in the workshop.”- Mino
What is your view of the African fashion industry and what are your words of advice to upcoming fashion entrepreneurs?
“The African fashion industry has a huge potential and is becoming more and more interesting to the whole world thanks to the arrival of the culture of diversity. It is interesting because we see more and more young designers, passionate and especially motivated to bring a new breath to the aesthetics and fashion of the continent. They do not hesitate to draw from their history, their identity and at the same time from the current world around them to create something new and vibrant.
My advice would be to be proud of who you are, but above all not to be afraid of the new, of what you don't know yet. The beauty of fashion entrepreneurship lies in taking risks”.-Mino
Regardless of the difficult climate, Voahary has been working on setting up a website to market its products in Europe for almost a year now. Voahary is almost there, and for the moment you can already glimpse the site via www.voahary.fr. You are invited to subscribe to their Newsletter in order to not miss anything of its next launch. On this E-shop Voahary has selected its best products to satisfy a demanding and very competitive market. However, the bold company is confident of its creations and its potential!