How AAKS Founder Akosua Afriyie-Kumi Is Weaving Impact and Community Into Her Handcrafted Bags
Few products capture the spirit of conscious shopping like AAKS's delicately handcrafted bags. Made by women in Ghana, the bags are designed in a joyful range of colours using expert weaving techniques that speak to a strong cultural heritage. The founder, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, built a sustainable brand that is rooted in empowering women artisans and promoting African craftsmanship.
"Providing opportunities for other women in my workplace is inspirational to me."
When asked what being the woman founder of a successful business means to her, Akosua told POPSUGAR, "I love the freedom of creativity that comes with owning my own business and incorporating my passion into my day-to day-activities, plus providing opportunities for other women in my workplace is inspirational to me."
It only felt right to highlight this brilliant entrepreneur and her impact during Women's History Month.
POPSUGAR: Why and how did you create your brand?
Akosua Afriyie-Kumi: I grew up around basket bags as a child in Ghana. I used to give them as gifts and also use them for storage. I remember having a lot of "I wish it was more like this, I wish it was more like that" moments. I wanted softer, foldable styles with modern colours and a beautiful finish and detail.
Building on this idea after studies in the UK, I started researching bag designs and fibres and found a lot of attractive benefits, which were in line with my vision and ethos. I launched AAKS after seeing a gap in the market for beautifully handcrafted bags. I knew I wanted to go out on my own and combine all my passion and talents to create something unique that would be fulfiling both personally and professionally. So I embarked on my journey to Ghana to make this happen.
PS: Do you have a big business achievement you're particularly proud of?
AAK: The Anthropologie team contacted me to sell my first collection of bags in their stores just four months after launching my business. This was a pivotal time for me, and it made me believe I was building something impactful.
PS: Does your brand have any exciting releases or news coming up?
AAK: We have had many delays because of the pandemic, but I am very excited to launch our new spring/summer collection in the next few weeks.