Keep Covered, In Style

This beautiful soul is my friend Thaimi. She has been supporting Ashante Design since day one and has gone beyond support to help raising funds for the renovation of the High School of Labé, in Guinea.

There is a good side to the facemasks we must wear all day long… No need for lipsticks anymore.

Apart from that, how did we go from:

– showing our bright white teeth, we spend hundreds on dirhams on at the dentist


– polluting the earth with these ugly plastic disposable chirurgical masks we spend a fortune on?

We changed our style in a trice without thinking about it twice. 

It is mandatory to wear face masks in public in Dubai and the easiest is to grab these 50 units polyester disposable mask boxes displayed in every corner. You cannot miss them. But you cannot miss them either in the street, in the trees, in the bottom of the sea… They will not disappear once you get rid of them… and you are supposed to do so three times a day…

Someone famous once said: “Change is inevitable, but progress requires all our attention and efforts.” Things are changing yeah, and without our permission yeah… but maybe we can make things a little bit better…

So why not go sustainable, responsible and with style?

Ashante Design flyer distributed to all our Network to communicate of the fund raising initiative throuh the sell and purchase of Africa inspired face masks made in Dubai, UAE.
  1. Our face masks are designed and stitched in the UAE, giving work to our tailor who was going bloodless;
  2. They are doubled, fabric is 100% cotton, size is adaptable to your face, and you can slide a filter in between the cotton fabric to make them 100% COVID proof;
  3. The fabric is sourced from Africa, buying from local markets hence supporting the small artisans in Niamey, Niger (that’s where I grow up);
  4. And we are giving back 100% of the proceeds to support an initiative taken by a member of the Ashante Design tribe – my venerable DAD – to renovate a High School in the Region of Labe, in Guinea. I said 100% of the proceeds, yes! Not just the profits but all the revenues. That is our way to support, we go the extra mile.
Me wearing one of the designs by Ashante Design.

Thank you for supporting us.

Anissa BOULAHYA, the Ashante Girl.  

The Day I Felt In Love Again

It is been a year in my new corporate job and I have been enjoying it. The diversity of clientele is what I like most. I must admit I have a little weakness for those originating from Africa and for a reason – I am tied by blood and education to the continent and each day I spend out of it, I am preparing for when I will come back to it.

I could hardly hide my inner child explosive joy when Boss 1 and Boss 2 as I like to call them decided I was ready for my first business trip to … Kenya! I pretended I was super cool with the news but inside my chest, my body was dancing the african samba on Papa wamba’s rythmes.

The result of these three days bounding with Boss2? Too many clients meetings to which our lovely driver Jacob (note 1: please ask me for his details if you ever plan to visit Nairobi) was fighting the dense traffic of Nairobi to get us to on time, an incredible story of a phone which disappears and hides under the car seat, a fire drill which obliges us to discover the wonders of Uber in Nairobi, various unexpectedly cashless services and facilities and more and more.

The most welcoming part of the trip were the gardens of the peaceful Fairmont The Norfolk colonial style hotel in the upper side of downtown. The birds and bats singing for us and flying above our heads are bigger than anything I have been so far.
Behind the hotel, a commercial street – nothing touristic – to get the best Kenya printed fabric. The owner was surprised at the white chick challenging him on the origin and quality of the Nigerian prints. I have also challenged the price but left more than I was convinced off on the table as it is part of Ashante Design philosophy to share the wealth with the populations back home.


Most of the business families we were visiting are in Westlands. That’s where you will find the Sankara hotel where we went for lunch and drinks and the Js Fresh Kitchen Musical restaurant (Mayaki Street), the most beautiful surprise of the weekend! Don’t miss this young Kenyan talents platform if you ever go to Kenya.

The last day, tired but eager to make the most of our trip, we head at 6:00 am at the Nairobi National Park and manage to even see 3 lazy lions getting a tan, tones of girafes, a hippo and many other wild animals. Felt like being in the Lion King Disney. Don’t forget your warm clothes if you are doing the trip in winter. We literally froze! You can feed the giraffes at the Giraffe Center and if you are clever and organised, you can even book a night over at The Giraffe Manor and have one of these majesties come and steal your morning croissant from your plate!

This trip reminded me to be and stay humble. The success of these entrepreneurial families, the succession and growth concerns they are facing, the sectors they vet in… every word coming out of their mouth is a gold mine to digg in. The learning possibilities are endless, and I am like a child in a toys shop!

I am proud to see my people so polite and well educating, smart and strategist about their moves, concerned by their national economies but already expanding regionally

I grow up raised in the dry and sunny West Africa and was in love with its people… East Africa made my heart swing… I wonder now which part of it will win me definetly, or maybe I should just go back to our nomade traditions and travel Africa tirelessly!!!



Big up for Teaming up!

Saturday the 27th of April 2019, a thrilling day for Africa in the UAE.

It all started with Friday breakfast get together organized by Mr. William Stenhouse, VP Africa for Agility. Then William brought on board TK Consultancy and many other business oriented stakeholders and created the UAE Africa Networking Group. William realized there was a gap in the market: a gap for getting together and closing business related to Africa, a gap for a platform for creative stakeholders from all background to express themselves, and a requirement to bridge both the Culture and the Business sides of our modern economy.

When William met the girls from Ashante Design and the CEO and founder of Ajala Project, they together decided to uplift the huge challenge of creating the first ever Africa Culture and Business Community!

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ACBC, What is it?

It is all in the Name:

Africa: We are a network of dedicated individuals and corporates eager to actively contribute to building an inclusive and progressive Africa. We are passionate and Africa is our passion.

Culture and Business: We are dedicated in providing you a channel for experiencing Afrocentric events and connect and collaborate on Culture and Business Initiatives. Together, we will create a modern and collaborative market of Small and Large Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Creatives from all backgrounds.

Community: We will build a strong community, backed by efficient tools and streamlined communication channels, we will create and engage in community-based initiatives community events and business networking.

How can you connect with us?

Pre-register and follow our progress in building the network There will be the possibility to join as Active member later on, with roles, responsibilities and a series of benefits that will make you and your business thrive.

Ashante is Designing Things in Big!

The UAE AFRICA Networking Group, member of the Africa Culture & Business Community (ACBC), is pleased to invite you to the Quarterly Business Networking Event that will be help on Saturday the 27th at 10:00 am in Kiza Restaurant, Emirates Financial Towers.

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What to expect for the morning session?

Learn more about the business arm of ACBC, exchange business cards with engaged stakeholders, connect with dignitaries and country delegates, close exclusive interviews, create links and enjoy fresh croissants and drinks. Cherry of top of the cake, the morning session will specially focus on 12 inspiring entrepreneur women.

RSVP Mandatory.

More details:


The morning session is sponsored by Ashante Design, African inspired lifestyle designs for Corporate and Special events gifting. Don’t miss your chance to grab one of our tote bags specially designed for the occasion and full of goodies and surprises.

The day will continue with a Fashion, Technology and Art Exhibition in the nearby Fogo De Chao restaurant, Central Park Towers, DIFC, from 2pm to 8pm. Join the afternoon session to discover new designers, vendors, artists and tech entrepreneurs / SMEs. Discover the full list of stakeholders on the microsite dedicated to the event. Grab this unique opportunity to interview the stakeholders but also the dignitaries amongst our guests.

Free unlimited food and beverage for press representatives.

More details:

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Happy New Year 2019!

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2018 has been a roller-coaster for many of us… well, at least we come prepared for a promising 2019. Thank you for being part of our adventures – read a summary of what we have been through with YOU in our previous blog.

For 2019, we take the challenge to unify Africa lovers around a unique proposition: you will travel with us to North Africa, you will join us in the best Africa themed events in Dubai, you will share with us the key moments of our lives… YOU WILL BE PART OF THE TRIBE.

Welcome again and let’s make this year crazy!!!

Jingle bells, jingle bells

2018 has literally vanished. I close my eyes and see myself jumping on everyone’s neck to wish them a prosperous 2018…

I am not sure about the money side, but it has been prosperous in many other ways for Ashante Design:

• We have started the year boosting ourselves through Boosted Wmn Network launched by Tatiana and Camille.
• We gathered our closest friends and esteemed clients to a vide-grenier in our garden – the first 100% African brunch ever organized in Dubai.

• We have celebrated our first anniversary and said good bye to Create Hub Gallery – our forever partner which transformed itself into Akka Project and is still our beloved partner but with an even fancier look.

• We started collaborations with great artists –Maria and Randa

• We designed and produced the best gift a student graduating from primary school of the Dubai International Academy could dream off. Read the testimony on facebook of Brigitte from PADIA who trusted us with that delicate mission.

• We dressed our first bride and groom for the Africa themed party of their beautiful wedding in Punta Cana.

• We designed the first planner starting with a Sunday for the biggest pleasure of our clients but also to respond to a corporate need.

• We launched our furniture collection during a One of a Kind event in our renewed home, Akka Project.

• We organized the first Africa Fest in Dubai fashion catwalk showcasing 7 designers from all over Africa and 120 looks.

• We furnished hotels in Niamey Niger with a all set of furnitures.

My head is spinning just thinking about all what we have gone through and achieved this year. And it is only the beginning, follow us and see what’s coming for 2019!!!

Also, in the meantime, come shop your Christmas gifts with us at Marina Souq tomorrow and Ripe Market next weekend. We would be delighted to chill with you on the grass of Police Academy Park!


Yesterday was a blast and Camille and I are still dreaming eyes open!

Ashante Design gathered very special yet real people for the launch of its first Ashante Home Collection, featuring unique pieces of U.A.E handmade furniture, kitchen and home ware, and the now legendary 2018-2019 planners!
All our designs are inspired by the joy of living we witness back home, the smiles and beats and vibes in the streets, the colors and smells in our markets, simply said: By Our Africa.

As for each of the now famous events organized by Ashante Design, it was not just about us:

It was about the place, the gallery and artworks selected by Lidija Khachatourian, owner and curator of Akka Project, which kept every guest’s eyes wondering from one story telling piece to the other.

It was about the refreshing coconut water distributed by Mighty Bee and the fresh ginger and water melon or hibiscus juices home made by Farima.

It was about the mouthwatering gluten free and organic bowls thought by Gbemi and catered in her newly opened Catfish restaurant.

It was about our dancers: Mia, Ozi, ArasaArasa, Faith Anita and Thaimi and the Moto Dancer crew (Karina, MJ and Thibault) who hit the flower with their Afrobeat moves.

It was about our excellent DJ Asma from the Weekly Diary which made all the audience move and clap.


It was about Thando from Ntombi Couture who head-wrapped so many of you and added colors to our photobooth.

It was about Eliqua and Alex who captured all the moments, we can’t wait to share all these photos and videos with you!

It was about our friends who helped advertise the event and Ashante designs and who even closed some sales on the spot.

It was about you if you where with us and still about you if life got on your way and you could not make it but sent a sweet message to encourage us (so many of you did)!

We keep on thinking we are so lucky to be surrounded with willing young entrepreneur spirits.

More than my words, I dropped a tear this morning ready this testimony that would serve the purpose of concluding this THANK YOU:

Ashante… I wanted to say BRAVO!

More than just for your designs, I wanted to say BRAVO for promoting Africa at a time where the continent is rarely advertised on the international economic and social scene, BRAVO for bringing the bright side of it to us.

BRAVO for bringing together people from all origins and backgrounds and for convincing them that we all have something in common, something we could achieve if we all align and look in the same direction. It has always been the case, in any of your events, this sense of belonging.

BRAVO for your mindset, your open mind, and BRAVO for making it happen and making it real! Thank you again. You are inspiring!

Albane Hermite

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Sunday is the new Monday, get used to it!

We travel the world, live in different places, different time zones, manage extreme weather conditions… we get used to it. We melt in the decor like chameleons in an urban jungle.

Our adaptation to changes is no sort of miracle of our own doing. It is actually scientifically demonstrated. Our cells renew themselves every 21 days. Our worst habits can be changed if we are brave enough to resist them for 21 days. It’s true in any culture.

There is an Algerian saying I love that illustrates quite well our adaptive skills: ” Spend one night with the rooster, you wake up crowing”.

There is one exception to the above though…


Sundays…. oh happy Sundays… It is been 3 years in Dubai already, and yet my brain did not process the early start of the week. How can a week start with a bloody Sunday? Sundays are for chilling out in the park with Luigi (Camille’s borrowed dog).

I wanted to fight that rigid brain of mine by acquiring an agenda that would fix my mind on weeks starting with a Sunday. I went to every bookshop and guess what? All agenda on the shelves start with a Monday. How can I process the change and get used to it if the most efficient week planner is not designed to help me!?!
While lamenting on Sundays having a weird place in my new life, my attention got caught by the little choice available for agenda and planners in Dubai and the boring black designs on the shelves!

Is it because we are not using paper agenda’s anymore?

I am also a phone addict. that’s said, when it comes to making sure there are no conflicts between my private life, Ashante and my Corporate job, nothing that can replace my paper notebook.

I am also one of those who likes coloring, drawing weird forms while my mind wanders around, taking all kind of notes on all discussions. I don’t trust my memory when it comes to engaging in work matters. I prefer my notes.
And I am one of those who like colors: I have co founded Ashante Design  with Camille for a reason.

No sooner said than done !


The creative minds of Ashante Design teamed up with the super creative minds surrounding them to design the first colorful, scribble proof agenda starting with a bloody Sunday!


We are particularly proud of our newest baby. It gathers all the love of our lives – Africa’s colors and our fabric designs are featured every month. Each one of them have been chosen with purpose and have inspired the creative designer, Julie Bernard, into creating each month’s pattern.

The cover is a bright yet soft fabric directly sourced from the West African markets and it is very proudly printed in the UAE, at a super high cost, but hey, we stick to our beliefs!

It…(sorry I am repeating myself)… STARTS WITH A BLOODY SUNDAY.

It has a lot of room for notes and can be entirely used as a notepad if you are not much into planners.


It starts with a quote from the inspiring figure of Nelson Mandela that I like to share with everyone who asks me how I became a side-preneur*, “It always seems impossible until it is done”.


Just give it a try and with well planned days and months, thanks to our inspiring agenda, you will definitely get there!!!!!

*Side-preneur: Someone who combines corporate job with an entrepreneurship experience on the side. Why choose when you can have both?

Mariage à Punta Cana

Imaginez, 90 personnes venues de Nouakchott, de Niamey, de Lomé, de Libreville, d’Abidjan, de New York, de Miami, de Montréal, de Toronto, de Martinique, de Paris, de Tours, de Bordeaux, de Toulouse, de Londres, d’Istanbul et de Dubai… qui se réunissent à Punta Cana… une île perdue dans les océans! Et pourquoi?
Pour une semaine de rêve consacrée à la célébration de l’amour de deux personnes uniques – Tatiana et Cedric – deux êtres qui ont écrit une belle étape de leur histoire entourés de leur famille et amis proches.


Le point commun de cette belle tribu: l’Afrique! Nous avons tous l’Afrique qui coule dans le sang! Les blancs comme les noirs, ceux qui y ont grandi comme ceux qui n’y ont encore jamais mis les pieds.
De la joie des retrouvailles – certains perdus de vue depuis 20 ans, d’autres rencontrant leurs tontons africains pour la première fois – aux larmes abondantes des au-revoir, nous avons vécu une semaine palpitante!
Mais commençons par le commencement et tentons de ne pas perdre une miette de ces moments exquis!


Après des installations quelques peu mouvementées (imaginez une centaine d’africains qui débarquent, comme un ouragan, sur ce resort habitué à des américains gourmands de bière et de burger), nous enterrions déjà la vie de jeune fille de Tatiana, en concurrence avec les jeunes hommes qui essayaient, en vain, de nous en mettre plein la vue. Dans un cadre romantique à souhait, en bord de mer, ces demoiselles organisaient des jeux de questions réponses et se déhanchaient presque tranquillement sur des rythmes suaves… et pendant ce temps la, les jeunes demoiseaux… PIIIIIIIIP CENSURÉ! L’auteur de cet article n’arrivera malheureusement pas à en savoir plus!


Alors que les jours se suivent et se ressemblent quelque peu entre petit-déjeuner buffet de trois heures, excursions en mer, beach volley en bord de plage, courses-poursuites derrière les petits princes et les petites princesses, flottage en piscine avec des coco locos glacés un peu trop alcoolisés, déjeuners lourds de calories… chaque soirée se distinguait par son thème!

À peine remis de l’alcool de la veille, nous enchaînions sur une soirée blanche au restaurant de fruits de mer du bord de la plage. Cette soirée marquera aussi le début de notre lubie de « wedding crashers ». En effet, un jeune couple essayait tant bien que mal de se marier en bord de mer à côté de la smala africaine débarquée à Punta Cana – mashallah! Mais peut-on jamais concurrencer le pas de salsa endiablé du plus incroyable des tontons? Moulay a fait valser la mariée avec une grâce telle, tous les regards étaient sur nous! Ce soir là j’ai aussi compris pourquoi le blanc était réservé à la mariée le jour du mariage… Nous étions juste trop beaux! Tout le monde avait joué le jeu à merveille. Mais la plus belle était quand même Mamie Nouakchott. Du haut de ses 82 ans, elle était éclatante de lumière, une étoile dans notre ciel des îles!



La veille du mariage était decretée « quartier libre » mais il fallait croire que nous ne voulions pas nous séparer! Après d’âpres négociations pour arracher la future mariée au fiancé transit d’amour, c’est spa entre filles! Nous voulions faire vivre la tradition arabe des hammams entre jeunes filles, mais avec les moyens du bord :)! Las caritas nous ont conduit au Spa Punta sur fond de « las cucarrachas, las cucarrachas… » chanté très faussement par des hommes en chapeau colonial. Là nous avons pataugé dans les eaux, mangé un gâteau crémeux en l’honneur de l’anniversaire d’une des nôtres, et enveloppé la mariée de chocolat! Le tout a fini par un shot de mamajuana, un alcool local fort!


Jour J: La mariée et sa suite royale disparaissent à 9:00 du matin!
Le future marié semble perdu seul, le costume à la main, à la recherche de son équipe a lui! Il disparaît à son tour à 14:00.

L’excitation est maximale, tout le monde se prépare longuement et arrive par vagues successives mais bien trop en avance – au lobby Punta – où deux bus nous amènent sur le lieu féerique où se tiendra la cérémonie d’union de nos deux tourtereaux.
Tout s’emballe – nous n’en pouvons plus de la beauté du lieu, certes, chacun posant à souhait face aux caméras mitraillettes. Mais alors, quand Cédric apparaît au bras de Tantie Charlotte de rouge vêtue, nous ne savons plus qui admirer! Et à la vue de Tatiana en blanc aux bras de Tantie Bibiche et Tonton Jean-Claude, nous cédons émotions et les larmes coulent à flot.


Comme l’a si bien dit le prêtre à l’église de Montréal, il faut un Dieu pour créer une union aussi parfaite – mashallah! La rencontre de Tatiana et Cedric ne peut être escomptée au seul hasard, imparfait!


On ne peut retracer toute la cérémonie dans cet article sans un faire un livre. Nous laisserons donc le soin des détails aux photos et vidéos. Mais il est quand même de bon goût de rappeler le mot clé de la cérémonie: en prononçant ses vœux de mariage, Tatiana nous a rappelé que sa rencontre avec Cédric a été synonyme de #coupdefoudreagogo, ce qui est bien sûr devenu le hashtag de notre semaine!

Les dominicains ont la fâcheuse tendance de croire qu’ils sont les seuls à savoir danser. Nous leur avons vite dit d’aller se garer là-bas et leur avons montré comme on se déhanche en Afrique! Eux qui sont plutôt bronzés se sont trouvés pâles face à notre énergie folle.
Les dominicains ont une deuxième fâcheuse tendance à vouloir aller au lit à 23:00! Que nenni! C’est à trois heure du matin que nous avons accepté à contre coeur de céder la piste de danse à la nuit! Ils ont bien essayé de nous dissuader avec une petite averse intense, mais cela n’y a rien fait! Petite pause de 5 minutes et nous revoilà, de plus belle!

Pour leur première soirée en tant que mari et femme, le jeune couple nous a convié à célébrer ensemble ce qui nous rassemble – l’Afrique! Tout de couleurs vêtus, nous nous sommes réunis pour le dîner. Nous ne passions déjà pas inaperçus depuis le début de la semaine et nos tenues cette nuit là ont fait des jaloux!


Comment, c’est déjà fini? Non attendez! Nous n’allions pas quitter l’île avant de crasher un autre mariage! Un détachement de 35 jeunes ambianceurs c’est retrouvé au restaurant pour célébrer les 35 ans de la plus fraîche des mamans! Au même moment, un jeune couple essayait de célébrer leur union… nous avons fait une contre soirée au premier étage du restaurant! Ils n’avaient qu’à nous inviter!


Et voilà, dans l’avion de retour je me suis dit qu’il fallait que j’immortalise ces beaux souvenirs avant que le temps me les vole!

Merci Tatiana, Merci Cédric, merci aux tanties et aux tontons et merci à l’Afrique!

Ashante Design… we are going big!

If you thought of us as merely an Ankara print clothing brand, you have missed out our most recent step! We are going big on the gift industry!

This time it is PADIA, the parent association of the Dubai International Academy that trusted us with the gifts for the primary school graduates; 158 white pillows with the student name and all the positive, confidence-enhancing words we would all like to be blessed with on a daily basis! We will make sure the coming generation is pumped up to achieve the best.

How did we come up to that? Just because we wanted to help! And how does that link to Ashante Design? Well, we aim to put a smile on each face, remember? And with this production, we will put a smile on 158 children and their parents and teachers! We think it is a huge achievement and we are proud of it!


What’s coming next? We are preparing an agenda/planner you will love! Expect to discover it early September.
In the meantime, let us know what you need and we will produce it for you in no time with the best quality you can think of. All produced locally because we want to contribute to the economy we live in and enjoy so much.

Thank you Dubai and Ramadan Kareem!