In 2006, Color Blind Cards was the first independent brand to have a presence on the Great British High street with cards that featured Black people. Despite the conversations back then about the importance of ethnic representation, it would take another 14 years for another entrepreneur to have her cards stocked in a major high street chain, this time a bookshop. Georgina Fihosy is the Creator and Owner of AfroTouch Design. She started with cards and later she developed stationery, homeware and fashion range. I had the pleasure of meeting Georgina many moons ago and even back then, her determination and light inspired me. I am thrilled to have the pleasure of interviewing her, to share her entrepreneurial journey. This is Georgina’s interview.
About AfroTouch Design
TTT: Tell us about yourself, the story behind AfroTouch Design.
GF: My name is Georgina. I am the founder and creative behind AfroTouch Design. I’m a British born Nigerian and a proud mum of 3 beautiful children. I was brought up by a proud Nigerian Mother who instilled in me that I could do or be whatever I wanted in life, all I had to do was put in the work! That message has stayed with me. By day, I in inhabit the corporate world as a Pharmacist working within the pharmaceutical industry.
I run AfroTouch in and around my family and working life. I tend to run Afrotouch in as little as 3 -4 hours a day. I love what I do, so I make it work and I have a really supportive family which is an enormous blessing.
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Hey AfroTouch tribe This is one of my favourite family photos. They are my world! and although it’s a busy and loud household ( mainly me being loud 😂😂) I wouldn’t have it any other way. We went back to the area we lived when we first got married and where my eldest was born. Back them we were living life in a 2 bed flat in London and @AfroTouch wasn’t even a thing. It’s amazing how quickly time moves. Feeling grateful 😊 Photo credit @raymondmarkphotography
The creative spark for my own business was ignited whilst I was on maternity leave with my middle child Josiah… as I was breastfeeding him! With a baby on one side and a laptop on the other, I was searching for a greetings card for a friend that truly represented African culture. I didn’t find anything. I went to my local High Street and there was nothing suitable there either. Driven to fill that gap in the market, I decided to get some African fabric, a piece of card and put something together myself. My friend loved it and here we are!
When I first started my greeting cards business my end goal was always to create a buying option for our community in mainstream stores and to build an amazing brand.
TTT: What differentiates AfroTouch Design from its competitors?
GF: We are more than a digital card publisher, what’s great about AfroTouch Design is that all our product designs centred around West African print fabric patterns. In fact, out cards are actually embellished with real laser cut print fabric pieces which gives then a very luxe and contemporary feel. This is our USP
Diverse Brands on the Great British High Street
TTT: In your experience, what does it take for a brand to have their products stocked with a major retailer?
GF: I think fundamentally, you need to be visible and the retailer needs to believe in your brand and your brand message, so you really need to be clear on what that is. Your offering needs to fit with what the retailer is trying to achieve and sometimes they might not see a clear partnership at first, therefore, you will need to showcase how your brand would fit well with them. There is the bit about being in the right place at the right time.
TTT: How has Covid-19 impacted your business and the way you work?
GF: Being an online business is great because I have been able to fulfil orders and post directly to customers. The main challenge has been around supplier delays and postal delays, but most people are quite understanding given the circumstances. It’s important to set expectations around these things to aid transparency and maintain a good level of customer service.
The Black Pound Day Effect
TTT: Has Black Pound Day impacted your brand?
GF: Black Pound Day was great for AfroTouch Design. It came just after the Waterstones Partnership, so, there was already some level of noise around the brand. I had a great sales day; my online conversion rate was 13%. The day has really helped with Brand Awareness and so If every day was a Black pound – I could give up my day Job!
The Future for AfroTouch Design
TTT: What’s your most requested item?
GF: The most requested item is our Birthday bundle – where a customer can choose their own selection of 10 African Fabric finished `birthday cards. Then, next is the A4 daily planning sheet, which our customers really love.
TTT: What has been the most fulfilling feedback you’ve had about your products to date?
GF: People really do appreciate the time and effort that goes into making each card. I get excited when my customers tell me that the cards have made their loved ones smile because the cards represent their culture or that they couldn’t throw the card away so they’ve framed them – that’s truly amazing to me. I always try to ship really quickly. When people comment on the great customer service that’s always very fulfilling.
TTT: Where do you see AfroTouch Design three years from now?
GF: I would love to have a fully operational AfroTouch Design Studio with inhouse operations and a small team. I’d also love to have a brick and mortar store where I can carefully curate African inspired stationery and gift items.
If you missed any of my previous interviews with brand owners, CLICK HERE.