Sierra Leone Opens it's First Modest Clothing Store in Freetown
If you are Sierra Leonean and on social media, you may have heard the exciting buzz about the first modest boutique opening in Freetown and you should be excited. This is such a great milestone for many Muslim women in the country that have struggled to find modest and fashionable clothing in the local market. Sure we all have seen the abayas , hijabs, jilbabs and skirt being sold in the streets and stalls of Freetown, but we have never seen something this major and mainstream. Today I spoke to the CEO of this big venture; a trailblazer in her own rights Ayesha’h Bah and here is everything you need to know about ANIQ Modesty.
Hello Mrs. Bah! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. Many hijabis across Sierra Leone and the diaspora are excited about your new venture. I am sure many of them will like to know a little bit more about the brand and what to expect on the grand opening.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand ANIQ modesty?
My name is Ayesha’h Bah, born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone and currently residing in London, England. I am a graduate in Accounting and Finance from the University of Kent. After I graduated, I worked as an Account Assistant. However, due to family commitments, I took a break from the office to focus on my home life. I am a devoted wife and mother of three beautiful children. I actually come from a family background of fabric and clothing retailer. Back in the days, my dad was a tailor, and later moved on to selling different types of fabrics and clothing with my mum. So may be it’s in my genes (LOL). Plus it has been a lifetime aspiration to be self-employed.
In 2015, I started a page call African Hijab Fashion on Instagram and Facebook; the page showcased African hijabis ways of styling their hijab and modest clothing. I started this page due to the fact that there were very little pages that showcased the Black Muslim women.
The name ANIQ is derived from Arabic where ANIQ means elegant. ANIQ Modesty is a business that specializes in modest, elegant and fashionable clothing, hijab, accessories and many more. Our aim is to provide an extensive line of modest clothing to women seeking to be modest, fashionable and elegant without having to sacrifice style and/or faith. Often times a Muslim woman is identified by her way of dressing, we want to help with the normalization of hijab in the mainstream and to ensure that women who choose to dress modestly are empowered, feel confident in themselves and their choices, as well as looking elegantly modest wherever they are. This is why our motto is Beyond Fashion. Be it at corporate events, occasions or just everyday, with ANIQ Modesty, you are sure to stand out from the crowd. Our target customer is not just Muslim women who wear the hijab, but women in general from all faiths, beliefs and all aspects of life who want to dress modestly and fashionable.
Before we proceed any further, is it fair to say ANIQ modesty is the first formal modest store in Sierra Leone?
Yes. I believe it fair to say ANIQ Modesty is the first formal modest store in Sierra Leone. There are shops everywhere that sell hijab and/or abaya but with ANIQ Modesty we have an extensive range of modest clothing from skirts, trousers, jumpsuits, abayas, kimonos, maxi dresses to hijab accessories like under caps, turbans, the list is endless. It’s basically your one stop shop for modest clothing. So yes it is fair for ANIQ Modesty to claim this title and we are extremely grateful.
What is the inspiration/idea behind the brand?
I have always loved fashion especially modest fashion and I have also wanted to be my own boss and have a business in Sierra Leone. Giving back a little to my home country especially to the youth. Home is where the heart is! Family and friends sought my advice about what to wear for an occasion, or where to get modest clothes or hijab. I toyed with the idea of starting modest clothing business for a number of years, anyone who is close to me knows this, and it’s all I spoke about. I was tired of talking about it and taking no action. Dreaming is easy; bringing that dream to reality is hard. So I stopped talking about it, and put aside my fears, insecurities, what ifs and I finally took the necessary steps to making this dream a reality.
Plus finding elegant, beautiful and most importantly MODEST clothing in Sierra Leone is like finding a needle in a haystack. Most people resort to sewing their clothes in order to meet their modesty requirements. Based on this important gap, ANIQ Modesty was established in July 2018. We provide modern, fashionable and elegant modest clothing. Our collections are unique, elegant and affordable.
What challenges are you are facing or faced starting the business?
Juggling family life and business especially with young children can at times be overwhelming, trying to find the balance in family life and business but to achieve greatness, we must be determined and be willing to compromise when necessary. Nothing great is achieved easy.
When is the store set to open?
Our grand opening is scheduled for 17th March 2018 at 34 Regent Road by circular Road Freetown, Sierra Leone. We are super excited and anxious to show you all we have in store for you and many more to come.
What should customers expect?
Customers should expect not only an extensive range of fashionable, elegant, modest clothing and accessories but they should also expect a modern, contemporary and beautiful store layout. Our store is fully equipped with a changing room, AC and overhead fan to help you relax while shopping in peace, without having to worry about the hot weather. Our sales assistant are there to attend to all your needs, answer to any question you may have and we are happy to give any advice you may need. We are simply there to meet all your exceptions and beyond. Our excellent customer service alone will make you want to come back to our store. Furthermore, there are lots of goodies such as free lipsticks, cupcakes, snack, live hijab tutorials and many more for our customers especially on the day of opening.
What are your future goals and aspirations if you don’t mind sharing?
We have many goals for our community, but we will like to take it one step at a time. However, we want to ensure that women who choose to dress modestly with hijab does not face discrimination in any way or circumstances and accepted for who they are and what they are capable of doing rather than the way they dress. Therefore ensuring modesty become a norm and not looked down upon.
Any final words for your customers anticipating this opening?
We would like to thank all our customers and potential customers for supporting us, we are extremely grateful. We appreciate you all.
Enjoy a sneak peak of the collection below: