APiF: Please introduce your brand. Buqisi Ruux: Buqisi Ruux, founded by Lynn Bugaari, Tetsi Bugaari & Nuba Elamin, is a footwear brand that provides heels made from African fabric. But most importantly, we use our shoes as a platform to tell stories of African women who are shaping our nation. Each one of our shoes is named after an inspiring African woman.
We are based in Nairobi, Kenya and have a presence in Kampala, Uganda and Cape Town, South Africa. We hope to continue expanding to several other countries in the near future.
APiF: Does the name Buqisi-Ruux have a specific meaning?
BR: The name means “Queen of the Village”. Buqisi comes from an ancient Egyptian word, Bulqisi, meaning queen and Ruux is short for our home town, Rukungiri which is in Western Uganda.
APiF: What differentiates you from other shoe brands?
BR: Buqisi Ruux places great emphasis on quality and the individuality of each pair of shoes. We focus on creating a product that fits into modern Africa while maintaining high quality standards that can compete with top brands worldwide. We also share the stories of African women, the backbone of our society. These African women, in one way or another, can be an inspiration to other women worldwide because they are relatable.
APiF: How does your culture/heritage influence or inspire your designs?
BR: Our brand is inspired by the African continent and African women. We place a high regard on our roots and heritage and this is reflected in our name and also in our “Kwanzaa” collection that was named after family members who have continued to inspire us and helped make Buqisi Ruux a reality. The Kwanzaa collection was designed with very bright colors and loud patterns (reds, greens, yellows). To us, this is a direct representation of our diverse continent.
APiF: How and where can readers in the US/Europe buy your shoes?
BR: We deliver shoes internationally. They can get in touch with us via email@example.com and place an order. However, our online shop will be launching in March to make this process much easier for our customers.
APiF: Please share with us the secret of walking in high heels!
BR: Number one rule: get the right size. Most women buy shoes that are either too big or too small – usually too small (guilty!) – making one walk like a penguin. For ladies that are just learning to wear heels, practice makes perfect. Start with a low comfortable pair and slowly work your way up to the higher “movie-star” style heels.
APiF: Any tips for start-ups in the fashion industry?
BR: Starting up any new business is always a challenge. Things will often not go as smoothly as expected and the best advice we can give is to keep going no matter what. When it comes to the fashion industry, the key is to have a unique product that evolves with the changing industry, that keeps your customers interested. But maybe what is even more important is the power of networking. It’s amazing how much we can learn from one another!