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No-one wakes up and automatically knows how to run a business. It is a skill that needs to be learned and honed over time, even if you have a natural talent for it. As a creative entrepreneur, I stumbled many times in the early years of trying to build a successful business. I had no immediate examples of what I needed to do, so just went with what I thought would be the right things to do. Much of my early ideas about business were borne from novels featuring successful heroines who made having their dream businesses look easy and that made me want to be like them. Reality bites and separating fantasy from reality has been a long and difficult path to where I am now.

I still stumble but with growth comes wisdom and I have learnt to seek the answers to the questions I don’t know, to follow or surround myself with individuals who have walked the path before me, and my peers who are facing similar struggles. So one thing I know for sure entrepreneurship is rarely something that you can do alone. And events like Global Entrepreneurship Week a week-long event held in 170+ countries, are about celebration and connecting business creators to those who can support them into the future. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. WED celebrates women in business and honours their struggles, the hurdles they face, their achievements and successes.

Celebrate and connect are two of Atelier Fifty Five’s values that fuel our mission of supporting the development of the African design industry. Through our editorial content, we seek to inspire, celebrating knowledge and the diversity in culture, heritage, and creativity. Through our consultancy and creative business services, we work hard to connect creatives to opportunities and foster trade, enabling people to build successful businesses and earn a decent living from their craft. As a new edition to the editorial offerings, Atelier Fifty Five introduces Design Diaries a section dedicated to entrepreneurship for creative entrepreneurs and sharing my experiences of the entrepreneurial journey to inspire and motivate your creative career and support you in becoming the best at what you choose to do.


– Tapiwa Matsinde


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[Image credits: The image shown is of London-based textile and lifestyle brand Dar Leone, and belongs to Tapiwa Matsinde/Atelier Fifty Five. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive