10 Congolese Brands You should Know in 2020

Kinshasa

Throughout the years I have been privileged to experience, work with and test some amazing Congolese products and services and if you’re not in on the bubbling start-up scene yet, you’ve got to get on it real quick. It’s encouraging and inspiring for me to see young entrepreneurs like myself willing to reshape not only their own lives but bring their contribution to building and changing the Congolese story for the better.

I would like to share 10 Kickass Congolese brands I believe you should get to know in 2020 and look forward to your thoughts on my list and possibly any other that I could look up; I do intend to make this an annual subject. Here we go! (In no particular order…)

 

Malengi

Malengi
Malengi Kimono dress

Ethnic fashion is the rage right now and Malengi is simply refreshingly cool. I fell in love with their jewelry, which is how I got introduced to them and that’s not the rest of it; they have over the years introduced full clothing lines. Their entire catalog not only celebrates African femininity in a way that I’ve seen very few local brands do but their pieces are unique and yet versatile taking you from that African Goddess feel to rock chick’s night on the town. Malengi works with artisans from whole over the world whilst committed to promoting Congolese artisans in their collections. Thank me later.

 

Champagne Lord Valère

Lord Valere
Champagne Lord Valère – Brut

 

Next time you’ll think of popping bottles, think Champagne Lord Valère. I had the privilege of visiting Lord Valère some 4 years ago in Romeny-sur-Marne in France’s Champagne region and I was thoroughly impressed by their story and their vision. Whilst staying true to France’s Brut tradition, they are set to tell an African success story in the years to come. Fast track 2020 they now have now an online store and deliver globally, including in SA!

 

Fina Linga

Fina Linga
FL Lipstick in Snakebite

At the center of the Fina Linga brand is this palpable desire to share their knowledge about beauty and celebrate the African woman in all her diversity. This South Africa based Congolese brand founded in 2012 has grown from cosmetics to skincare and hair products whilst maintaining their community-based approach in their communication with consumers with regular fresh content on their blog, sharing tips and tricks that will have you feeling like a guru yourself.

As they say it, “there are no shortcuts in beauty. A consistent routine and coupled with healthy habits will always pay off”.

 

Natural Nyota

Natural Nyota Hair care

Natural Nyota is a 100% Natural and handmade haircare brand based in the UK. I have been watching the brands Youtube Channel for many years and their knowledge and understanding of Afro hair is extensive and the amount of information, tips and tricks you get out of there is simply amazing, and that alone is enough to keep you going back for more.

PS: that growth oil…

Pagnifique Home

Scatter cushions, Pagnifique Home

I stumbled upon Pagnifique Home’s Instagram page a few years and never looked back; not only is the imagery practical and on point but the quality is a match.

If like me, you are keen on beautiful and unique African print pieces for your home to bring in that pop of color elegantly, I strongly suggest you give this brand a browse.

 

MaxiCash

MaxiCash Visa card

MaxiCash is a mobile application that helps African expats globally to support their loved ones back home financially. MaxiCash links to various service providers such as schools, hospitals, mobile operators, or banks; and what started as a peer to peer payment service has now grown to become a payment gateway to enable online merchants in the DRC to receive payments from consumers across the globe. The latest offering MaxiCash Visa card is offering the flexibility of having a visa card minus a bank account.

 

Working Ladies Hub

Working Ladies Hub

According to Techcrunch, female-founded businesses only raised 2.8% of VC funding for 2019 in the US. This is a global trend and the DRC numbers would be far off. There is a dire need for female representation across various industries. The Working Ladies Hub, based in Kinshasa is a startup accelerator focusing on growing and supporting women lead businesses in the country; from start to scale.

The Working Ladies Hub also offers office space with long and short term options, as well as various workshops and events centered around entrepreneurship and growing the female leaders’ ecosystem.

Uzasi

Uzasi
Uzasi Mini soaps

As they define themselves, Uzasi is a cosmetics brand proudly made in DRCongo by Congolese women. I cannot rave about this brand enough, from their locally sourced ingredients to carefully crafted packaging. Uzasi takes me back to my childhood, with my grandmother who would use charcoal and red clay to bathe us; of course, they are far more refined than I remember, but it’s nothing short of incredible to see the wisdom and traditions of African women finally being celebrated and recognized. Their mini range makes for a perfect gift for any occasion. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this brand.

 

Le Choix de Nadine

Miel du Kongo Central – Le Choix de Nadine

 

I stumbled upon Le Choix de Nadine products a little over 3 years ago at the Kinshasa airport and this love story is not about to end any time soon. They offer a range of jams, honey, chilli sauces, syrups, and more; all made from local ingredients. To believe that the founder is a trained photographer, one can’t help than be happy she followed her passion for cuisine.

If you ever visit Kinshasa, do yourself a favor and grab one of those gems, perfect to take back a piece of Congo with you.

 

Emart.cd

Palm oil Emart

Emart.cd is an online grocery store based in Kinshasa, DRC. Whilst the e-commerce industry is booming in the country, Emart.cd’s unique approach is its mission to empower local farmers and cooperatives by working directly with them to source fresh produce and also pass on the savings to their consumers as their pricing rivals those of the traditional supermarkets. Emart.cd was awarded the Orange DRC 2017 Social Entrepreneur prize and went on to win a few more prizes over the years. They recently released an updated mobile app and increased payment options to allow the Congolese diaspora to buy groceries for their loved ones hassle-free and enjoy free shipping. Emart is not only making strides on the e-commerce scene but also growing its supply chain by introducing their own branded and locally produced goods on the market.

 

I would like to advise that this is not an ad and these are all brands that I love and support personally and love to share. I would love to hear from you, if you’ve tried any of their products or services and any other recommendations you could have.

 

xo Tania

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