Birimian, the first operational investment firm dedicated to connecting African luxury and heritage fashion brands with international investors, has launched to accelerate the international emergence of African creators and designers brands.
Founded with an all-female executive team, Birimian is led by Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, a seasoned executive of the African financial services and private equity industries alongside Michelle Kathryn Essomé, the former chief executive officer of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, who will be the chief financial officer and head of investor relations.
In addition, Céline Gainsburg-Rey, who specialises in supporting luxury brands, has been named head of strategy and marketing, while Olufunke Faweya, who has dedicated her career to operations management and international brand expansion, joins as head of brand operations.
The aim of Birimian is to support African designers and help them facilitate and accelerate the growth of their businesses regionally and internationally, acting as a bridge between the continent’s entrepreneurs and creative talent, and strategic stakeholders in the international fashion and luxury industries.
It will work with brands across the fashion, accessories, beauty and cosmetics, and, gourmet sectors.
The first brands to join its portfolio are women’s apparel and accessories brand Christie Brown from Ghana, which has been worn by Beyonce and Alicia Keys, Loza Maléombho from the Ivory Coast that bridges traditional African aesthetics and contemporary fashion, womenswear brand Simone et Élise also from the Ivory Coast, and Belgium-based bag brand, Yeba.
Birimian said that it will focus on providing long-term financing of brands in the company’s portfolio, investing between 30,000 and 3 million US dollars in brands and creative enterprises at incubation, acceleration and growth levels.
Alongside financing, brand consultation and coaching will be offered to ensure business processes and brand identity are in line with each designer’s goals, as well as strengthening of internal control and financial planning processes, and production and distribution capacity through strategic partnerships.
Birimian will implement expansion plans ensuring sustainable growth, both regionally and internationally, with investors tied in for a minimum of five years to ensure long-term support for partner brands, as well as international exposure for creative companies by optimising the use of digital channels.
Commenting on the launch, founder Laureen Kouassi-Olsson said in a statement: “Birimian has been created to champion the exceptional talent and creativity emanating from the continent in order to help it reach the audience it deserves. Our mission is to use a combination of finance, mentoring and operational support to help our brands gain international exposure, achieve their true potential, placing hence the continent’s cultural heritage on the world stage.”
Source: Fashion United UK