It’s December and if this had been when I was young, my mum and I would have gone to the market. Per my very Yoruba mother’s habitual behavior, we went to the market every second Friday of December. To my young mind, that was the real Christmas. My mum would pick me up from school on Friday before closing time (I know, special day) and we would roll into Dugbe market in Ibadan. It felt like my birthday, Christmas, and New Year all rolled into one.
Most importantly, it was my mother’s time of year to splurge. This childhood memory has stayed with me till now and now I shop on Fridays. As the saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Fridays for most people are on the cusp of the weekend so shopping and there is no better store to go to than an African store. Shopping in an African store can be a calming and therapeutic feeling.
Many people like me love going out and buying new items to add to their collections. Some like African patterned shoes, raffia bags, kaftans dresses, wax print skirts, dashiki crop tops, Ankara boxes, and many more. Shopping can be tasking and time-consuming, but it can also be relaxing and fun. It’s one of the best activities to bond with friends over. My friends and I feel like we are going on an adventure anytime we go shopping and this is because shopping is an experience to be shared and enjoyed.
Coronavirus disturbed everyone’s plans for 2020 and made it difficult to go out and browse stores physically. However, thanks to technology and digital communication, online shopping has been a Godsend. Nowadays you can shop for almost anything in both bulk and pieces. Shopping for Africa-based items can be a bit daunting. The right African fabrics and pieces have to be picked to avoid overspending or being duped. Here are a few tips for African shopping.
ALWAYS PICK GOOD AFRICAN FABRICS
The pattern of the African fabric is the basis of whatever item you buy so it’s best to check it thoroughly. Rub the lighter part of the fabric on the darker side to see if it will rub off on it. This is because the dye used in making some fabrics is weak and sometimes, they rub off on other fabrics mixed with them thereby causing a mess.
The website you are shopping from should give more information about the items. Sometimes shoppers tend to overlook them, but they are essential so as to avoid problematic situations.
When trying to buy African art, you should negotiate well. There is usually a clause between the art dealer and an artist that allows the dealers to go 20% lower on the price of a piece below the asking price. Like the art dealer, Judith Selkowtz said, art doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s important to be out there and see what’s happening. It may take six months or a year to find what you like”
Fun fact: retail therapy lowers blood pressure but shopping therapy for what you love keeps you Zen. It’s amazing how much retail therapy can reduce stress, and boost moods. So, indulge in it today and share a dress with a friend (or at least how to find it).