Feature story: Tiga – a lifestyle brand for handmade Afri-leisurewear (en)
A favourite activity of Gambians is to spend Sundays enjoying the beautiful beaches that stretch across the country's coastline. Although The Gambia has a great tradition of showcasing beautiful African fabric in vibrant colours, the country lacked local producers of handmade leisurewear, swimwear and accessories that look good on the beach and on vacations abroad.
As a frequent swimmer, entrepreneur Ndey Fatou Njie saw a gap in the market and began with Africa-inspired swimwear. In 2016, she founded Tiga, a Gambian lifestyle brand showcasing handmade Afri-leisurewear. The company targets Gambians in the country and global diaspora alike.
'Tiga focuses on producing handmade Afri-leisure products using African fabric, with a desire to revolutionize the fashion industry in The Gambia,' Ndey says. 'We celebrate the beautiful vibrancy of African fabric, the creativity of regional fashion, and the importance of locally produced art.'
Tiga is a pioneer of the 'Made in The Gambia' social media movement, which has inspired many young girls and entrepreneurs in the West African nation. Since Ndey began with the first samples in 2016, her company has gone from strength to strength.
Ndey has also been a member of SheTrades Gambia, the local chapter of the ITC SheTrades initiative, since 2019. She says that her business has evolved immensely as a result of her membership - today, Tiga has 11 employees and is preparing to expand even further.
'The SheTrades initiative has introduced me to a great network of women, provided me with access to great virtual learning opportunities and the opportunity to showcase my brand outside of The Gambia,' Ndey says.
Training opportunities offered by SheTrades on topics such as quality control, packaging and labelling built the foundation for Tiga to unlock new markets.
Based in Kololi, a resort town on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, Tiga has entered the realm of e-commerce, already attracting customers from abroad.
Earlier in 2020, as cases of COVID-19 increased in The Gambia and supplies of protective face coverings ran low, Tiga started the manufacturing of cloth masks. They are not only functional but highly fashionable as well!
Meet Ndey Fatou Njie and admire her amazing products in her online shop: https://www.shoptiga.com/
To contact SheTrades, please email: womenandtrade [at] intracen.org (womenandtrade[at]intracen[dot]org).