Nyianga Jewelry located at 1423 North Third Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania houses a collection of unique handmade accessories, fashion and home decor by artisans in Cameroon. Some of the apparel is designed by the owner, Chantal Nga Eloundou who also coordinates with her family in Africa to bring these designs to the United States.
Chantal and I had a very candid conversation about how she stated her business and she offered advice to any one interested in buying direct from Africa. She strongly encouraged you to find a wholesaler you can trust and if at all possible, visit African to meet with your wholesaler. Chantal also made a point to emphasis the importance of hiring an interpreter.
She stated of all of the items she sells, her black soap and shea butters are her favorite because these are the items Chantal makes herself.
This interview with Chantal at her location is significant due to the increase of demand from our community for more tribal and ethnic reflections of home. Many of the headwraps, textiles, home interiors and fashions we are buying are not authentic. Much of the wax prints, hand bags and dashikis are made in China or India from wholesaler websites like Aliexpress, Alibaba, DH Gate and others.
It's important to be mindful of this fact and to also be conscious of where are dollars are going when they leave our community. Everything that looks like it is inspired by Africa is not made in Africa.
Walking into Nyianga Jewelry, I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. I was moved by Chantal's description of the tribal masks. I even got a headwrap lesson! Check out the video above and visit Nyianga Jewelry on Facebook and Instagram and www.nyianga.com.