Why “Belange Handmade”
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“Belange” is a French name that means Beautiful Angel, and “Handmade” is simply because our products are meticulously handcrafted with care and love.
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Our emphasis is to give you unique, enjoyable and quality clothing and accessories. That's why we spend a lot of time sourcing our fabrics from the Democratic Republic of the Congo , Nigeria, Ivory cost, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey. Thus Belange Handmade combines our love for African print fabrics with current western trends to give you clothing that you will treasure forever.
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I’ve always been a creative person since childhood, and handcrafting clearly has always been my passion. In April 2014, I opened BELANGE HANDMADE also known as B H M, with only $10.00 as the initial capital for the business. I started off by making handbags using old garments I would get from my local Goodwill store, and changing them into new valuable pieces. From time to time, my customers would give me their personal damaged items that they treasured and wanted me to give them a second life.
It was so fascinating to people from my hometown to see a 17-years-old girl run such a business given the fact that I had no proper experience in business or fashion as my major was actually Math-Physics. However, I managed to run my business, design and hand-make goods. I gained many skills by practicing on my own, by watching YouTube tutorials and reading Fashion/or Business related books, also by mirroring my parents as they both own their businesses.
Being a high school student contributed a lot to my success because nobody had achieved such a thing in my community, and I quickly gained popularity a couple of months after BHM was established.
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I went after recycling old products and it worked out very well for me. After a couple of months of good sales, I had enough money to afford a $100 sewing machine and more materials to continue my home-based company.
I quickly learned and enjoyed what I was doing, I was able to sell my products in my mother’s clothing store after I turned 18. My entire family was very supportive of me, my mother and my sisters helped me with production and deliveries, my father helped me with numbers, accounting and so on, and my two brothers helped me in the technology area by creating my website along with my logo.
A Dream Come True
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My parents believed in me very much that they decided to send me in the United States in order for me to pursue my education in Fashion Design and Merchandising.
I moved to America in August 2015 and continued growing my business. Opening up BHM made it clear that Fashion Design is what I truly want and need to do, it is my true calling. I continued making accessories still focusing on recycling, but I incorporated African prints in my brand image to promote the beauty of my motherland. In May 2018, I launched my very first clothing line for both men and women.
I graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa in May 2018 with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design & Merchandising, and a Diploma in Interior Design. In addition, I am pursuing my Bachelors Degree at Iowa State University, located in Ames, Iowa, in their Apparel, Merchandising, and Design program focusing my studies in Creative and Technical Design.
B H M Today
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BHM is located in Iowa, United States and continues to be a sustainable company where 70% of our products is made by hand from recycled materials or new/ raw materials. We are still a small business that is growing its network day by day thanks to friends and family. We went from a handbag boutique for women to a clothing and accessories boutique serving both males and females.