Portobello Market: the Majestic experience
Last night, I went to sleep with so many memories and feelings about my past weeks, especially the days that we’ve spent in Portobello Market. Firstly, I’d like to say that I believe that everything happens for a reason and that the Universe guides me to the right places and the right persons. We started our adventure on April 25th with the famous local saxophonist Ray Carless that gave us a little space on his table. On May 15th, we made our official entry under the Canopy of Portobello Market with our own stall.
I was thinking about this day, how wonderful it was. Honestly, even though it was very calm due to the weather and to the demonstration that day, it was such a special moment. I love the fact that we are being a part of the culture of Portobello. It makes so much sense every week as new things appear in my mind, things get clearer. This day I met Cici, an old lady who was wearing a purple head wrap with a matching outfit. She looked so beautiful, powerful, and full of history. She is part of the story of Portobello, this neighborhood that was mainly afro Caribbean 50 years ago. People know each other here, they grew up together and see it changed.
Later this morning I had a moment after a white lady bought one of our Majestic Set. Don’t get me wrong, she was lovely and I loved the moment that we shared but I was so surprised, a bit shocked: I had the sudden feeling that I had to change my brand’s target customers because there were more white customers in the market. I don’t know if that makes sense but basically, I felt like if I want my brand to be sustainable I will have to make it more for them. This thought made me sad. As they say, business is business, but should I change my values, and why I am doing this for money?
Writing this is making me emotional because we never had anything for us. What I mean by that is that hair is something so special in our culture. As women of color, it is part of our identity. The world we live in has always been created for white people to thrive. Today, we finally gain back our inner strength, our power by realizing that we are as capable of being successful as anyone else.
My goal is not money but empowerment. The Majestic Set is so much more than a satin-lined turban to me: it is a way to show our light, to be majestic and proud of our roots. Even though many people visiting the market are white, I will still find the curly hair girl in the crowd and let her know that there is a stall just for her. Each woman that I help putting her turban on is a way for me to give her her crown. Then, I let her with the strap in her hands so she can design her own. Every time is special, unique, intimate, and powerful.
I’ve always wondered what can I give to the world, what were my purpose and my mission on this Earth, how can I contribute to make the world more beautiful? 3 years ago in my home island Martinique, I had the vision to empower women. I had no idea how I’ll do it but now, I think I finally found it.