Alkebu is derived from the ancient name of the African continent, Alkebulan.
It all started a few years back when my uncle made me a couple of fitted dress shirts with wax fabrics just like the one I am wearing in the video below. At the time I was in graduate school and I would wear them to school, work and to parties. A few people started asking me where I got them and I would tell them that my uncle made them for me. This is when I first started to think that it might be possible to commercialize slim fitted dress shirts made with wax.
Then I visited Burkina Faso Faso a couple of years after I started graduate school and my uncle shared with me how difficult it was for him to acquire new customers. He also shared with me how much his shop makes per month, which wasn't much and I thought to myself: how come a skilled laborer like him is barely above the poverty line and struggling to make ends meet? Then I thought perhaps we could set up an online shop and help him get access to international customers. This is where the motivation to launch Alkebu Style started.
On top of that, as an economist by training I have read countless papers and reports discussing why the African economies failed to take off and create enough jobs for its large youth population. Lack of industrialization and low export quantities among many other things are constantly cited. The exports from this enterprise might not be much in terms of increasing Burkina Faso’s exports, but similar small efforts in multiple sectors can add up to a lot or at least have a marginal effect on some people's livelihood. For instance, since we launched in July 2017, my uncle has more than doubled his annual income and was for the first time able to pay his daughter's tuition in one payment (instead of monthly installments).
It is the combination of the aforementioned factors that led to the creation of Alkebu Style in July 2017. We want you to know that when you purchase a shirt from us you are:
- (one) Contributing to increasing income for a skilled artisan in Burkina Faso.
- (two) Contributing to providing educational support to primary school kids in Burkina Faso because we donate $5 for each shirt that we sell and $1 for each pocket square to Botiminto, a non-profit organization providing educational support to primary school students in Zigla-Koulpélé, Burkina Faso (www.botiminto.org). In 2017, Botiminto provided tutoring services to 6th graders for 4 weeks and the success rate on the national entrance exam (to middle school) increased by 30% compared to 2016.
The shirts are designed to be slim fitted and can be worn formally with a suit and tie or casually. That means that you can wear them to work or to parties. These shirts will surely make you look fly.
Thank you in advance for your support.