Afrotouch Design - Our 2020 Story So Far
Posted on 25 September 2020
Well, it is fair to say that 2020 hasn’t panned out the way we expected it to. There has been lots of forced change, and pivoting for businesses around the world, however although times have be hard there has also been some new opportunities for small business to change direction and ultimately grow in the process. For AfroTouch Design there has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes, and I am delighted to report that we are starting to see the fruits of that labour, and I want to share with you what our 2020 story has been so far for Afrotouch Design.
New Retailers Join the Afrotouch Design Revolution
I started the year on a big campaign to be stocked in 20 stores by the end of 2020. And despite a dry spell between January and May, I have since been able to agreed partnerships with six new independent retailers who will stock my African-inspired greetings cards and stationery. As a small business owner, I know how much independents need support, especially in trying times like this, so I am hugely excited to work with six brilliant businesses who are blazing their own trail.
However, when it comes to stockists, I had some major news. In July I partnered with retail giant Waterstones who now carry my cards in over 20 of their retail stores including their flagship store in London Piccadilly, as well as online. Honestly, this is a dream come true for me and a real validation for the hard work I have put in since I launched the business.
Not only that, but I am incredibly proud that Afrotouch Design is the first female black-owned publisher to be stocked by a major bookshop chain. It’s great to be making history.
Afrotouch Design in the Media
There has also been a lot of buzz about Afrotouch Design in the media this year, which has really helped increase our profile. I was delighted to talk to Just Entrepreneurs in July about my story as a small business owner and the things I have learnt along the way. I was also featured in an article in Forbes, detailing how I was able to pivot the business to roll with the punches of the Covid lockdown. In addition, I was featured in The Voice and You Magazine among many others this year.
Following the Waterstones news, BBC London invited me to chat about it with Gaby Roslin. The opportunity to talk to the city in which the company launched was a very special step to take in the Afrotouch Design story.
I was also asked to contribute to a panel discussion at the Autumn Fair@Home, the Covid-secure online version of the annual retail gift and home show. We discussed the changing behaviours of consumers and how to win their custom with sustainable products.
Sustainability and Ethics
As an addition to that panel appearance, I have been working hard to make Afrotouch Design a more ethical and sustainable business. We are now corporate friends with the World Land Trust, which protects biologically important and threatened habitats. Every time you buy one of our African-inspired greetings cards, I will donate 5p to help the charity with its work. I am committed to giving back to the environment and restoring forest areas to allow the habitat to thrive in countries in Africa.
In addition, I am cutting down on plastic in all areas of the business and we have just introduced biodegradable cello bags to protect cards whilst also looking after the environment.
More About Afrotouch Design
Finally, I should let you know how the business is doing and where we go from here. I’m unbelievably happy to share with you that sales have grown 240% over the past year. This is a really proud achievement for the business that I fit around my day job in the corporate world. It certainly makes the early mornings worth it!
As for what happens next. I recently launched some new products. I’m a real ‘to-do’ list person, so a planner is a hugely important stationery item for me. If you are the same, you can get hold of African-inspired planners from Afrotouch Design, both in physical and digital form.
So as you can see, 2020 has been eventful for Afrotouch Design, and it’s not even over yet! Keep an eye on the blog for updates on other exciting developments.