Hello, my name is Angela, I’m the founder and CEO of Àntachi. I would like to welcome you to All Things Àntachi: The Blog. Firstly, let's start with an introduction! Join me and blogger Tadi Kativhu https://tadikativhu.com as we begin to unmask the face behind the brand.
Tadi: Hey! I'm so excited about this interview, getting to know the face behind the brand! Can you tell us a little bit about you? Where did 'Antachi' the brand come from; how did it start - the name?
Angela: Hey Tadi, thank you for this opportunity just to tell you a little about myself and my story. Growing up I’ve always enjoyed traveling and along my travels, I always pick up pieces like clothes, bags, and accessories. I love learning about other cultures and also just embracing different cultures. I’m from Zimbabwe, my Mum is Ndebele and always says to me “Uthand’Izinto “which translates to “you like things”. I am naturally a lover of things, so Antachi was birthed from my love of authentic, hand made products. I enjoy discovering something and learning more about the story and culture behind it.
My dad is the one who encouraged me to start a project from this passion. We were on a family holiday and I’d come across some handmade bags that I loved. I struggled to pick just one bag to go home with and ended up leaving with a suitcase full. At Church, we were being encouraged to work Talents and start projects. I had been praying and scratching my head all year trying to think of something to do and Voilà! I now had something to work with and began my journey into entrepreneurship.
When it came to choosing a name for the company, I struggled to find a name that would reflect me and my values. I played around with a few names, but nothing felt right. I was trying so hard to come up with something different and something new that I was drifting further and further away from who I was. In the end, I decided to use the first few letters of my name: Angela Tatenda Chiweshe. And that’s how ‘Àntachi ‘the name came about. Sometimes we try so hard to be something we are not, when in fact we are enough just as we are, we all have something unique about us and we have to embrace that and share it with others, not everyone will accept and understand you but that doesn’t take away the value of what you possess.
Tadi: Wow! So creative. I never knew what Antachi meant! I love the motto: Embrace, Embody, Enhance, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Angela: Embrace, Embody, Enhance, describes a journey that I have had to go through and I’m still going through.
Embrace: I’ve had to learn how to embrace who I am, where I come from, and everything about my heritage. There was a time I was embarrassed to wear traditional African clothing. Growing up In England most of the time I was either the only black person around or one of the few. I wanted to fit in so badly. I knew I couldn’t change the colour of my skin but the one thing I had control over was the clothes I wore. I’ve had to learn how to embrace other cultures without despising my own.
Embody: This is all about becoming and expressing yourself. In a world where you can choose to be anything you want, choose to be the best possible version of you. I choose to be the embodiment of Royalty; my crown may look a little different to yours but I’m still a Queen.
Enhance: This is about building on what you already have. I love making a statement and so much can be said through the accessories you wear. A lot of our pieces are transitional, and you can dress them up or down. The goal is to add value.
Tadi: What are some challenges you faced when starting the company? And how did you overcome them?
Finding a balance: I started the company in my third year of my master’s degree. I had to balance running a company and finishing my degree. It was physically and mentally exhausting but because I enjoyed the process of starting something new, (kind of like when you first enter a relationship), there is a certain level of excitement, that’s what got me through in the initial stages. I now work full time, so I have to be intentional about finding a balance between work, home life, and running the business. I can no longer just ‘wing it’ burn out is REAL! I have to pace myself and try to plan so I don’t neglect anything, what you feed will grow and what you starve will die. This is still a journey and I continue to learn and adapt; I sometimes have to tell myself to slow down, but the most important thing is that I keep going and don’t give up.
Staying motivated: There have been times where I struggled to stay motivated and keep the vision alive. I’ve been through phases where I felt like giving up and for some time, I had gone quiet. What has kept me going is that I have people who have kept me accountable. Having people who believe in me and have faith in what I’m building keeps me going in times when I don’t believe in myself or have periods of self-doubt.
Vulnerability: I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling vulnerable. In times when the business was stagnant, it was mainly because I was feeling vulnerable. I struggled with ‘What will people say syndrome’. Vulnerability is an essential part of growth. Business is risky, you can’t always predict how things will go and you’ll never know unless you try. In everything, there will be people who are for you and people who are against you. I’ve had to learn to keep it moving even when I’m the source of the negativity. Even now as I’m writing this, I’m a bit apprehensive about putting myself out there because I can’t fully separate myself from the brand because I am Antachi, Antachi is me. It’s important to find a balance between preserving your privacy and withholding that which was placed in you by God for the benefit of others. What does that have anything to do with bags and bonnets you ask? The majority of the collections are inspired by traditional African culture, an integral part of my identity, an identity I used to be ashamed of, an identity I didn’t know much about or connect with, an identity I’m learning to fall in love with again and again and I’m inviting you to tag along with me on this journey.
Tadi: What inspires you?
Angela: My past experiences as I was growing up have driven me to do better, not only for myself but for everyone that looks up to me. I only really began embracing my identity when I saw my younger sister going through the same phase that I went through when you’re trying to ‘fit in’. It was then when I realised the importance of representation. The importance of her being able to see someone that looks like her feeling good about the colour of their skin, feeling good about their heritage. The importance of seeing someone from her background going into business and making it. I want her to see what Is possible and to inspire her and a generation of young girls to fully embrace who they are and to make their dreams a reality.My story is still being written. I want to continue to show up for myself and everyone that dares to step out of their comfort zone to seize every opportunity.