These entrepreneurs are behind Calgary's first all-female Black collective
It was an idea she had to showcase Black excellence: A storefront created and operated by Black female entrepreneurs.
Now, Adedoyin Omotara is making that happen.
"We are making Black history in Calgary as the first all women-owned Black collective," she said. "That's why we're trying to make a lot of noise during the Black History Month that we are here."
Omotara is the founder of Adoniaa Collective, a store that sells products made and sold by Black female entrepreneurs ranging from skin care and spices to clothing and makeup.
For those involved, it goes beyond being just a business.
"My mission for the Adoniaa brand is to lift women up, is to uplift women, is to validate women," Omotara said.
"When they come here and they start to sell, I see the joy, I see the confidence, I see the pride in them. It makes me so happy, like I'm fulfilling a purpose in life."
'It gives us a voice'
Adoniaa Collective operates in Westbrook Mall. Before the storefront was open, the vendors involved had difficulty bringing their products to market.
They found themselves confined to basements in their homes, selling to family and close friends and competing with overcrowded online platforms.
Now, that has changed.
"It gives us strength, it gives us a voice, it gives us presence," said Ronkeh Shonubi, the owner of IHOF Seasonings.
"It gives us the confidence we need to put ourselves out there and let the world know the excellence we bring to the table."
The Nigerian-Calgarian first started her brand when she noticed a gap in the market for what she was looking for — a taste of home.
Shonubi sold her products online throughout the pandemic. After restrictions were lifted, she wanted to find a spot where she could bring her spices to market physically.
"Adoniaa Collective offers us, with the Black-owned theme of the company … an identity to put behind the brand," she said.
A celebration of culture and identity
On Saturday, the collective held an event to celebrate their launch — and Black History Month.
It was an opportunity that fashion designer Omodara Ojosipe said was a chance to engage with the community and make their presence known.
Within her latest design Ojosipe wanted to depict how she sees the African woman by incorporating symbols of transformation and beauty.
"This is the month that we get to talk about Black history," she said. "This is the month that we get to talk about what our potentials are.
This is our time, this is our moment."
Ojosipe said the image of the woman she chose for the shirt-dress she recently made was representative of a hopeful future.
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For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of.