Calgary Herald Feature: Jameela Ghann and Alora Boutique
Recently, Jameela was featured in the Calgary Herald where she shared her story on what inspired her and her mother to make jewelry! Read the Original article by Daniela Codreanu at the Calgary Herald Website
Jameela Ghann’s love of her Ghanian culture and making jewelry are the two things that inspired her to open Alora Boutique, an Afro-Canadian shop that sells natural beauty products and accessories. Her goal is to show the vibrancy of her Ghanaian heritage.
Ghann (pronounced Jan) came to appreciate her background at a young age having gone to school in Ghana as a toddler and then again later as a teen. “It made me a better person. I connected a little bit more with my roots. I appreciated what I had in Canada and I appreciated my Ghanaian heritage,” she says.
Alora Boutique was created by the bond she and her mother share — making jewelry together for fun. Eventually they started giving it away but it wasn’t long before people began to purchase their creations, so they began by selling their jewelry at various craft markets.
“We want to share the beauty and positivity that’s part of our culture,” says Ghann. “I feel like, when I am in Ghana everybody is so nice and so kind. When you walk by others on the street, they greet you … It’s like a really positive chill vibe and that’s what I want to show people through our jewelry.”
Every jewelry piece has some element of Ghann’s roots through the use of symbols such as safari animals and materials like recycled glass and brass. The Antelope Necklace is popular because it signifies the beauty of someone’s personality, not just looks, says Ghann.
Ghann has expanded her business to include Afro-Canadian natural beauty products, such as black soap and shea butter along with baskets and bags.
Products are available online and at the following local boutiques: ReWorks Upcycle Shop (Inglewood), InGear (Kensington) and Steeling Home (17th Avenue).
Here’s a bit more about what we learned about Ghann:
Q: Tell us about your experience running a family-based business.
A: Running a family-based business has been an excellent experience, so far! I believe this business has brought our family closer together. Instead of seeing each other only in the evening or on weekends, we have a chance to spend productive time together. Having a business with my family helps us to grow as individuals and celebrate our achievements together. We have always been a close family, so having a business together was a great move.
2. What is black soap and what are its benefits?
Black soap is a 100 per cent natural skin cleanser that is traditionally used in West Africa. Alora brought it to Canada in a bar form. It is excellent for all skin types including sensitive skin and acts as a moisturizer. Black soap leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturized. There are no harsh chemicals that dry out your skin so this helps in making your skin look younger. Customers tell us that it has helped with acne or eczema. Overall, it is an excellent all-natural cleanser for the body, face, and hands.
3. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I am motivated by sharing my culture and heritage and creating jewelry that inspires positive thinking in people. I enjoy creating a piece of wearable art and having others enjoy it. I am motivated by my husband, Peter, and my daughter. They help me every day to remember why I am doing what I am doing. Peter reminds me to make my to-do lists and helps keep me focused on my goals. My daughter reminds me that I am working hard, so that I can provide an amazing future for her.