Journey Home Festival’s Business Exchange Taps Value of Liberian Craftsmanship

Naomi Forleh serves a customer her Nao's Spices at the Journay Home Festival business exchange.

Liberian fashion designers, artisans and craftfolk of all kinds could not have been more grateful for an opportunity to showcase their own hand-made or packaged goodies at a mini far at the Cape Hotel on Tuesday June 21, 2022. Such events are few and far between mainly because their customers mainly come from subsets of local and expatriate affluence.  

The gathering, hosted by the Journey Home Festival, a newly introduced Diaspora-African connection platform in Liberia, saw scores of customers flock to the venue throughout the afternoon, fascinated by these made-in-Liberia products.

Princess D. Edward, sales agent at LIBASSA (Boutique) said she was excited for the opportunity to showcase what her management is doing in the country.

“Today is like a memorable day for me because I have had a lot of beautiful interactions and stories with the friends from the United States.  The unique side of it is that I am able to showcase my products today. If this opportunity was not here today, people who are from different parts of the world wouldn’t have seen these beautiful products from LIBASSA,” Ms. Edward told the Daily Observer. 

She disclosed that the main aim of sales of the African made things, including hand bags, cases for placement of things, is to generate funds for the education of less fortunate school-going children who attend a school known as Butter Fly Alien Learning Center in the Marshall area. 

According to her, LIBASSA raises money not only to pay fees and tuition but also to feed the students, most of whom are boarding, and to pay teachers who look after their education.

Sam P. Jesse of Dewula Cultural Artistic Chic Brand said his business agency sometimes pays for Western made or imported clothing and other materials and then enhances them with African designs. He also sells handbags, place mats for tables ,among others. 

“As Africans, we should promote our culture,” says Jesse. “People were excited when they came to do business with us. They expressed satisfaction for what we produce.”

For her part, Tina Naomi Forleh, a young lady in her late twenties said she was glad that the Journey Home Festival considered her spices for the business exchange.

“Nao’s Spices is the brand name of my business and I am involved in the preparation and sale of seasoned pepper that is made of dried pepper, bony fish and crab fish. I also have seasoned benny seeds, dried kittely (bitter egg plants).” Ms. Forleh said.

She added that she also sells coconut farina processed by her and she can be reached at her Benson Street’s point of sale located adjacent the building that once hosted the offices of the Defense Ministry. 

There was also on the stand the Medicated Kissi butter soap produced in Liberia by the Scot Tabi Group of Companies.

Leda Knowlden, Consultant at Jomani Enterprises, an international business consultancy and development institution with offices in Texas (USA) and Monrovia, said she is glad that she has come in contact with Saqar Ahahh Ahershu and Den Tut Ray, African American organizers of the Journey Home Festival.

“We are here to support this dream. Connecting our people back home from the United States is indeed a great mission and we are committed to working with this team to help Liberian businesses flourish,” Ms. Knowlden said.