Entrepreneur Brings African Values To Life
Chakou Collection, a remarkable brand named after the owner Chakoutio, is dedicated to keeping African traditions alive. This Ottawa-based family enterprise is making a big impact in their community, with all of the products handcrafted by Chakoutio’s sister, Zaba in South Africa, and jewelry crafted by the women in South Africa, who receive 100% of the proceeds. After successfully selling handmade beaded and wooden jewelry, and later expanding their collection to satisfy the demand of their customers, Chakoutio’s main goal is to build a dynamically impactful brand by celebrating African values and history.
After realizing that there were no black dolls in store, Chakoutio introduced Afroprincesses – black dolls. The Chakou label focuses on the African culture and tradition; allowing the younger generation to be able to have a sense of identity and learn to accept themselves. Chakoutio highlighted that “those kids have a different daily life than their peers.” It was important for Chakoutio to offer a wide selection of unique African-inspired products to help the younger generation create the image of African children born in the diaspora. Chakoutio has partnered up with schools and art exhibitions to make an impact for the African community, and will continue to do so to “put [their] best foot forward.”
When Chakoutio joined the ShopHERE Program, she already had a website, but her Coordinator diligently reviewed her site and offered her expertise in the field, to improve the website and provide tips on product photography and copywriting. “She is a team-worker. She has put forth her best effort into the review of my website.” The ShopHERE Program was beneficial to Chakoutio as it provided the businesses with assistance in transitioning and building an online presence.
“The world is now digital, and the small business needs to face that reality. The ShopHERE Program helps small business to make that transition seamless”
Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chakoutio now can focus more on marketing, since her website has been reviewed by an expert. She also keeps herself busy with planning and making of new products for the future. Through her polished website, customers can now easily purchase from the unique selection of African-inspired items.
Chakoutio recommends other small businesses to sign up for the ShopHERE Program to understand more about building an eCommerce website. “Creating the website is not ‘the everything’ that is needed for a small business; customers are needed which can be achieved through attractive functional websites.”
Checkout Chakou Collection, and shop their wide selection of products, from handmade jewelry to dolls. If you are a small business or know someone who could benefit from participating in the program, check us out HERE. To learn more about Digital Main Street and how it is helping local businesses survive the pandemic, click HERE.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.