Afro Real Initiative’s Personality for the month of August is Enow Grace Fidel, an emerging young female Cameroonian entrepreneur.
Who’s Enow Grace Fidel?
A graduate from Joyce Ababio College of Creative Designs in Ghana, the Cameroonian-born Enow Grace Fidel, commonly called Grace Fidel, has risen tall from humble beginnings, into a remarkable personality in the Cameroon fashion designing industry (and beyond), through her innovative strides – which initiatives are worth emulating and reckoning with.
To begin with, Grace Fidel is currently the Creative Director of the brand, ‘de aura’, a fashion designing platform founded in 2013 aimed at meeting every dressing need from women, men and kids of all ages.
“The raison d’être behind the label, ‘de aura’, which goes with the slogan, ‘look good, feel good, and turn heads’, is the distinctive value that accompanies anyone who wears any of our designs, anywhere you go, anytime”, she explained.
Her latest innovation, in ‘de aura’ series of outfits is the ‘Nsen Dress’, an outfit named after Barrister Nsen Abeng (the person whom Grace Fidel ascribes, made the said innovation to witness an unprecedented turnaround). The result of which has been an upward trend in the daily sales margin. In just 2months following its introduction to the market the Nsen Dress has already sold around 50 pieces, and still counting.
Barrister Nsen Abeng (above), the name behind ‘Nsen Dress.’
Mirabelle Sonkey of UN — visibly relaxed and satisfied in the ‘Nsen Dress.’
In Grace Fidel’s words, ‘the Nsen Dress is a timeless multifunctional or multipurpose ready-to-wear and fashionable design that suits responsible women who intend to enjoy the dual comfort of the Western and African cultural identity in one package.’
Grace Fidel in a typical ‘de aura’ mode, putting on the much-coveted ‘Nsen Dress.’
Her yearning drive towards uniqueness is one of her hallmarks. This is also elucidated in the following words of hers, ‘…I love interacting with my clients to know exactly what they would love to have, so as to customize my innovations to suit their specific taste.’
The entrepreneur, Grace Fidel belongs to the school of thought that, the net worth of success in business is not gauged by how much income we generate, but by how much impact that we create. Reason why her works have a humanitarian orientation!!!
The corollary to this was the recent launch, of the ‘Nsen Dress Campaign.’ The scheme seeks to dedicate 20% of the proceeds from sales of the Nsen Dress, to sponsor single mothers, who dropped out of secondary school due to insufficient finance.
‘This is our own way of giving back’, she disclosed.
Grace Fidel’s rise to prominence didn’t come over night!!!
A cursory look at this fashionista’s pathway reveals that she painstakingly, patiently, consciously, and confidently worked her way to where she is today.
For instance, no sooner had she started her course work in fashion designing in Ghana, than her innate passion for the art permitted her to immediately start implementing the same, through the designing of some accessories.
‘I started designing necklaces in 2013 while still in school, which helped me cater for certain needs and to gain experience. Beading came naturally and was not taught in my school. I did that till I was ready to go into what I really studied in school i.e. fashion designing. I can say 2017 is when I really started full time business’, Grace Fidel divulged.
‘…Each step of my life has further equipped me for the next level’, she was upbeat.
Grace Fidel’s pieces are typical fascinations to prominent Personalities. The necklaces (worn above by fashion blogger, Hilda Ngelo of Mammypi TV, and British Top Model, Irene Major) are snippets of Grace Fidel’s baby steps into the fashion world, way back in 2013, in Ghana.
Meanwhile, after realizing way back in 2014 that it was difficult to get event-planners in Cameroon on social media, her quest to seek a solution to such a glaring deficit prompted her to found The Wedding Associates.Camr, aimed at bringing the best in this sector to meet clients’ needs in Cameroon.
‘…Home décor, and event planning have always been a natural thing for me even before I went into fashion designing’, she confesses.
‘I brought the idea of street sales to Cameroon after I left Ghana in 2017…’, she revealed. As she explained, ‘it is an avenue to bring Cameroonian designers and consumers together. [And] rather than waiting to be recognized, we take our products to the streets.’
In addition, she founded ‘Let’s Tok Fashion’ in 2018, a forum to educate and learn about the fashion industry in Cameroon in particular, and Africa at large.
Still, in 2018 she co-founded with Nadine Nangah, another ongoing project called ‘Kamr Campus Market.’ The rationale behind this is to promote, encourage, and educate youths on the benefits of consuming products made in Cameroon, and to prioritize and start wearing Afritudes at an early age.
Like any other promising youngster out there, Grace Fidel’s journey this far, has not been a walk in the park. She too has had her own fair-share of challenges that await anyone willing to wade through life’s odyssey. But as a self-motivated, determined, focused, and dynamic lady full of hope, she has most often than not, braved through the odds, and used trial moments as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks, on her way to greatness.
‘All my collections have been inspired by my life experiences’, Grace Fidel affirmed.
More eclectic and customized collections from ‘de aura.’
Having suffered domestic violence severally, this single mother of 2 has eventually risen from the doldrums of a pathetic victim, to an inspirational survivor. As such, she is now a role model to especially her entourage, and is an ardent advocate for the elimination of all forms of violence and human rights abuses against women and girls.
Grace Fidel’s future prospects portray in her, a foresighted lady who is not only concerned about herself, but also about empowering her community.
‘In 5 years I want to build a solid steady market for fashion designers in Cameroon…. I believe if God gives us life, we should wait and see…’, she quipped.
‘I hope to make fashion designing a huge source of income for myself, by producing ready-to-wear outfits that reflect our environment and seasons’, Grace Fidel went on.
‘I hope this business can take me to the extent of having different showrooms all over the country and abroad. ‘de aura’ should be known and consumed by any kid to adult, even when I am dead and gone’, she prayed.
As if the aforementioned weren’t enough, she corroborated her career ambitions by stating that, ‘in the years ahead, I would love to see myself partnering with other designers outside Cameroon, to join heads and do more exploits.’
Her advice to aspiring youths
Quizzed on what piece of advice she had for the youths of today who may want to follow career trajectory, she was plain on that: ‘I will advise them to take their craft seriously as if it was the very air they breathed: for the love of it first, and money [should come] secondary, because many challenges will come, but the passion will sustain them if they stay focused to their goals.’
Grace Fidel’s ‘Let’s Tok Fashion’ has been featured in Grace Christian Youths (GCY) Magazine.
She’s a polyglot who, despite having sojourned 5 countries abroad, decided to return home and make a living back in Cameroon.
‘I believe in Africa…’, she asserted confidently. ‘…There’s still something one can achieve back home’, she maintained. While in Holland, she was lead actress in the movie, ‘The Return of Chacha.’
She also holds Higher National Diploma (HND) in business management from Siantou University, Yaoundé – a qualification she obtained in 2013, prior to furthering her academic prowess in Ghana.
Grace Fidel enjoys performaning arts, swimming, traveling, listening to music, and reading.
You can get to Grace Fidel through the following:
Telephone: (+237) 690 087 275
Photo credits: Grace Fidel of De Aura