— 17 Aug 2021, 11:00 by Daniel Dear
We welcome Akinyi to unit 15 for a pop-up at BOXPARK Shoreditch this week.
We caught up with founder Olivia to find out more about the concept...
Tell us about yourself...
Akinyi first started after visiting Nairobi, Kenya, last year November 2020 with my 3 year old son to see my mum, where she had been working for a few months. As soon as I arrived in Kenya, I knew it was a bit of me and a place in the world where I felt like it could be home. I have travelled to quite a few different places and although have loved these places, the home feeling has never came to me, so it was a big shock for me to feel this as soon as I stepped off the plane! I arrived at my mum's beautiful home to see baskets upon baskets and I straight away fell in love with the crafts and knew this was something I wanted to take home! So, I took the plunge and bought back a few suitcases of stock and as soon as arrived back into the UK, I was on the lookout for markets, but seeing as though this was in December 2020, during lockdown, markets as you can imagine were hard to come across, but I ending up finding a new and very trendy Christmas market in Kingsheath, Birmingham, not too far away from my home and straight away, I felt that buzzy feeling! The interest gained at the market and love that I felt from nearly everyone that came to my stall was unreal. I then knew this was the next chapter for me! I work part time at Birmingham City University and still do to this day and am a single parent to the most beautiful but crazy 3 year old boy. Everyday I wake up with a spring in my step and not only because it is changing the lives for my son and I, but because it is also helping the families in Nairobi, which I now have a very close connection with and providing them with a sustainable wage. My goal in life is to be stable and happy and I feel I am there now and this is no thanks to all my customers and the constant support AKINYI is getting and continuing to get on a daily basis. I have been applying and attending markets all over the UK and Boxpark, Shoreditch is one I heard so many amazing things about and I thought it would be the perfect spot for AKINYI, so I made the step and applied and to my surprise was accepted near enough the next day. This was a big boost and drove me to continue to believe that anything in life is possible with persistence and a motivation and I know that AKINYI is going to grow bigger and bigger and I am so ready and excited for it!
Which song best sums up your brand?
Master KG - Jerusalem [Feat. Nomcebo]
What can we expect from your stay at BOXPARK?
Good Vibes and Happiness
Which item from your current SELECTION is your favourite?