Entrepreneur Jamila Acheampong is poised to compliment your shoe collection with these complexion-perfect pumps. Acheampong, a young business woman of Ghanian descent, saw a gap in representation in the footwear game and formed a company to fill it–insert Kahmune. HelloBeautiful sat down with the entrepreneur to discuss her career journey and what inspired her to diversify the defintion of ‘nude’ in fashion.
HB: What Inspired You To Launch Kahmune?
JA: Kahmune was inspired by my own personal struggle to see myself, more particularly my skin tone, represented in the fashion industry. I spent hours searching online for a nude shoe that would match my dark complexion. When you search the term “nude” it returns garments and accessories that are the same beige and tan colours, hues that are far from nude on my complexion. I found it ridiculous, and slightly infuriating, that in this day and age something like this was still an issue! Why shouldn’t myself, or anyone else for that matter, be able to have access to skin tone accessories? It was in that moment that I decided to make sure it was an issue no longer. ALL skin tones are beautiful and we all deserve to have our beauty represented in the fashion industry.
HB: What obstacles have you faced as a womanprenuer?
JA: I think most of my issues have stemmed simply from being a woman trying to start a brand dedicated to remedying the fashion industry’s exclusion of black women, and women in colour in general. I’m fortunate to say I don’t feel as if my struggle as been any more difficult to any other entrepreneur, however, I will say that now that I’m trying to grow the brand access to capital is huge issue. Last year alone, female founders only received 2% of all of the Venture Capital funds that were poured in to investing in new companies. 0.2% went to women of colour, meaning practically none. It is statistically harder as a black woman to attract investment but I certainly won’t let that stop me. It is another reason, though, I would argue it is so importantly for women to support each others’ ventures.
“I’d be lying if I said every woman needs a true nude shoe. What is important, however, is that every woman is given the option.”
HB: How do you think your brand of shoes will contribute to diversity in the fashion industry?
JA: I’d be lying if I said every woman needs a true nude shoe. What is important, however, is that every woman is given the option. It’s ridiculous that the word “nude” has been been used to refer to a very specific colour. The word itself is used to imply naked, yet there is only a select group of people that can wear “nude” garments and have them match their skin tone. It’s a shame that the ideology hasn’t been challenged sooner. Since starting Kahmune I’ve had a lot of people either say the idea of nude being universal is something they’ve never thought of. I’ve also had people tele that nude, the tan/beige colour we’re used to, is a colour in itself and I should leave it alone. Kahmune makes people think about the implications behind the term nude and how they dictate representation, or in particular the lack thereof, in the fashion industry. I think the brand will make women demand more divesrsity in the industry. It’s important that we all see ourselves, and our skin tones, represented. I hope to play a pivotal role in ensuring that no one has to say “they don’t have my shade” ever again.
HB: What should Black women know before launching their own business?
JA: It’s HARD. However difficult you think it will be it will alway be 10x more difficult than that. Nothing is guaranteed and it’s a constant rollercoaster of emotions. But it’s worth it! It’s an opportunity to bring about change in whatever industry or area you choose. Use your network. Find a mentor. It’s NEVER too early to seek funding. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but know that not everyone is going to want to help and not everyone will see your vision.
HB: Why did you choose New York for your launch party?
New York has always had a special place in my heart. I lived here briefly a few years ago and have always wanted to come back! Not only is it arguably the fashion capital of the world, it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world. I knew bridging the brand to New York would be well received and it has been. It’s one of the cities I envision a Kahmune woman would live. It embodies so many qualities I associate with the brand: raw, beautiful, steadfast and independent. I couldn’t imagine debuting the brand anywhere else and am very much looking forward to meeting all the NYC ladies at the launch
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