We had the good fortune of connecting with Moe & Emari Mansaray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Moe & Emari, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Honestly, starting a business was not the initial thought process. Being West African, Sierra Leonean, and growing up in America in the early 2000’s wasn’t easy. Our African culture wasn’t as accepted and glamorized as it is today. Due to the lack of African cultural appreciation, many young Africans disowned their African culture and blended in with their American environment. We’ve always been advocates for the preservation of our African cultures, so in 2013, while in college, we started an Instagram community.
DoAm4Salone in English translates to, “Do it for Sierra Leone”. What is DoAm4Salone? It’s more than a community; it’s a tribe! The sole purpose of DoAm is to unify and inspire Africans all over the world to take pride in their cultures while making a positive impact in their communities. For over 8 years we have highlighted various Africans and their talents and/or accomplishments to help inspire other tribe members. As we grew, the demand for products that represented our movement increased, so we then developed our e-commerce platform.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We currently have over 44K followers on Instagram and we’re growing daily! Social media has truly given a voice to the voiceless; it’s an outlet that gives us as Africans the opportunity to speak for ourselves on topics that concern our communities. As we reflect on our journey, the number one quote that comes to mind is by Jordan B. Peterson. He said, “When you have something to say, silence is a lie.” DoAm developed because we believed that there were things that needed to be done to develop a collaborative environment among Africans. Our mission is to unify Africans globally through curated virtual/live events; inspire Africans by showcasing African success stories, and to cultivate a safe-space and digital environment where Africans can freely express themselves respectfully. We want our African brothers and sisters in the diaspora and on the continent to take pride in our cultures and ownership of our narratives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is tough because Houston has sooo much good food and fun things to do! The food places that we would definitely eat at are 88 Boiling Crawfish, Burns BBQ, Mikki’s Soulfood, Los Tacos, Papasitos, & we can’t forget about Turkey Leg Hut! For quick drinks we would stop by NOLA Daiquiris or Candy Shack. So for a fun night out with good vibes and great African music we would go to 02 Lounge, Ebony Food & Music, or Azura and if you’re looking to party some more you can stop by Cloud 9 from 2 AM until 6 AM.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Building our DoAm community from the ground up was very challenging, but the moral support of others kept us motivated! Firstly, we would like to thank those who don’t know us personally but continue to show love and support because you believe in our mission. Secondly, we can’t forget about our amazing friends and family who supported us from the very beginning when the ideas were fresh and the vision was blurry. We want to publicly thank you all for your encouraging texts, uplifting emails, post-likes, post-comments, post-shares, and online purchases because we would not be able to DoAm without you all!
All images taken by MM Entertainment Group – www.instagram.com/mmentgroup