DIASPORANS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Today I feature Chantal Kamya, founder of Leon and Lucie, African inspired homeware, clothing, custom made items, and other fine accessories. This interview gives you insight on the inspiration that helped start her brand and her vision moving forward. Read below find out more and check out her website to support! I love my mug and t-shirt for sure!
Ndidi Love: What inspired you to start your own brand?
Chantal: I remember when my sister and I were young and my mom always made an effort to get us dolls that looked like us. One time she got my sister a Barbie storage box, and they didn’t have one with a black Barbie on the cover, so my mom colored it by hand. That has stuck with me. I created Léon & Lucie because I think young women and little girls should have the joy of seeing themselves and their culture positively and beautifully reflected. So, I design things that have images and words to accomplish this goal. I grew up at the intersection of African and American culture. I also felt really nurtured after family get-togethers, parties or celebrations where I heard music, ate food and saw people who made me proud to be me – even if every other day I didn’t feel like I quite fit in. I want Léon & Lucie, to be a little piece of that in every product. We are at the very beginning, but I look forward to releasing more products and resources to fulfill the vision.
Ndidi Love: What does the African Diaspora mean to you, and how do you best connect with the diaspora?
Chantal: I am a part of it, so it is everything. I hope to serve it well and do justice to a segment of its experiences.
Ndidi Love: If you could give back what would that look like specifically?
Chantal: I think one of the best things I can do for the diaspora is to empower and equip communities, especially young women, with the practical resources to succeed in their careers and in entrepreneurship. I worked as a career coach at a business school for a few years and I like to share insights from my experiences. So, I write career-focused articles on medium.com/@ckamya and I hope to evolve the resources I provide. One day, I also would like to invest in start-ups powered by young women from the diaspora.
Ndidi Love: Where do you see your brand in 20 years?
Chantal: Whoa that is far! I like your optimism. I want to be a trusted brand for high-quality, beautifully-made everyday products and resources, that positively reflect the culture and beauty of girls and women of African-descent. I want some little girl to say they felt represented and loved by our brand, and pass down the tradition to their daughter to buy our products.
Website for business: leonandlucie.com
Blog with articles mainly on career things: medium.com/@ckamya