African fashion has through the years had so great an indelible footprint that it has come to stay. However, for people outside Africa, having access to works from African designers has been either too expensive or out of reach. Merchants even go as far as travelling to various African countries to get these designed clothes at very cheap prices and sell at a premium in Europe, America and other continents. This challenge is what Ankcara.com has come to solve and co-founder Chuks Erinne takes us through the start-up history.
Ankcara.com is a creative market place designed to provide a place for African inspired designs and retailers to reach the world. Chuks said ‘the e-commerce platform was inspired because people in the US usually return home to get African designer and accessories.’ Ankcara helps designers reach people they couldn’t reach normally. Designers and retailers can set up boutiques online which is accessible to customers from across the world. The seller determines his/her price, available dynamic shipping options while buyers can buy via bank transfer, pay pal, or major cards worldwide. Ankcara.com gets a little percentage of the transaction value across the platform.
Customer protection is at the heart of Ackara.com. With an adequate monitoring of all transaction, a 24 hours customer service, and a money back guarantee, customers can transact confidently on the platform.
Since its formal launch in December 2013, Ankcara.com has been tagged by users ‘the afrocentric version of fab.com.’ Chuks confirms that they run an aggressive social media publicity strategy which has led to the signing up of over 50 approved designers.
Ankcara.com as a start-up has its own challenges, primarily being the poor quality of images being uploaded by the designers. Eriene commented ‘Africa designers don’t like to spend on their brand image, a number of these designers submit poor images which falls below our platform standards.’ But Ankcara.com is not giving up; they are linking designers in Nigeria and Ghana to professional photographers to solve this problem.
The Ankcara Marketplace is based in Atlanta, Georgia; and was founded by brothers Chuks Erinne (US IT industry), Onyi Erinne (engineer) and Kenny Erinne. It has 8 team members as well as a development team in India.
Ankcra also offers additional Services among which are website Design, graphics design and product development for designers.
In the coming years, Ankara will be a more truly global platform being a community of buyers and sellers.