Interview with Huzaif Alhassan from Afrisocks
Western fashion has, more-or-less, become the norm. No one is going to a job interview in head-to-toe Ankara prints and patterns. But Huzaif Alhassan, Ghanaian entrepreneur and co-creator of AfriSocks, is ready to give you the next best thing. Afrisocks is an online boutique for socks with Kente inspired designs, allowing you to express your African roots in your business casual atmosphere.
We were able to ask Huzaif a few questions and get to know him better.
Inumunai: Hey, Huzaif, thanks for doing this. Let's just jump into it.
What's your story? What got you into Afrisocks?
Huziaf: Hi, thanks for asking me to do this. Well, I've been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is running behind my sisters when they're handling their business at the market and noticing that I could negotiate better than them. My mom and I have always done business together since I was young to support the family. I've sold food on the street, ran errands for people, ran a chicken farm, an Uber business, and many import-export ventures.
Inumunai: How did Afrisocks get started?
H: I had a business selling antique typewriters on Etsy and eBay when I noticed shipping out of Ghana was expensive due to the typewriters' weight and size. So I thought, "what could be easy and lighter to ship?" That's when my idea of socks and Kente designs popped in my mind. So I sat with a designer and started the work.
How'd you come up with the name, Afrisocks?
I wanted to represent Africa, not just Ghana. I'm proud of it, and we want to start doing designs based on other parts of the continent. Even now, our designs hail from Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Where do you most of your work, where are you based?
My work is carried out in Ghana. That's my team of 4 and my workshop. But thankfully, because my job is online, I can travel often.
What was it like getting featured by BET, LA Times, and New York Magazine?
It was unbelievable. I was surprised and appreciated it. I never thought Afrisocks was going to be this big. And the best thing is, they approached us, not the other way around. It's great to see your hard work get appreciated.
What would you like people who aren't of Ghanian or of African descent to know about you, your designs, and your products?
I want people who are not from Ghana to know that Afrisocks is about unity, bringing African culture to everyone, helping people get in touch with African fashion, being connected to your identity, and expressing yourself. You should also know I'm someone who strives to see others happy and bring unity among everyone. We love to see people who don't understand the significance of the designs wears them nonetheless. They just appreciate the beauty of it, and that's the best feeling all around.
What have you learned throughout your journey with Afrisocks?
Running Afrisocks has taught me that anyone can make it in this world if they put their mind to it. It has also shown me that improving people's lives contributes a lot to one's own happiness. We're also creating jobs in Ghana - which is a great feeling. Knowing that I can contribute back to my country and my culture. At the end of the day, the future is manufacturing locally - using our resources here in Ghana.
What's your favorite Ghanian food?
My favourite Ghanaian food is Tuo Zaafi, with Ayoyo Soup. Tuo Zaafi is made from Maize, and it's a traditional Northern Ghanaian food - which is where my family is from.
Is there anything else you'd like everyone to know?
I know blending African fashion with Western office wear is not easy. Usually, not everyone can get away with wearing African clothes on a daily basis. I thought socks would be a cool way to incorporate African fashion into everyday dress. We're also working on adding new and exciting products. We already are doing Laptop bags, and will soon unveil face masks!
Also, the comments people are living on my websites and social media showed me that there's a future here and more to build. It really makes my day seeing people of different colours, genders, and ages rocking their Afrisocks and posting good reviews. I read every single one.