Q&A: Bibi Invitations Founders on Managing an African Inspired Card Business For Ethnic Brides

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MN: Do you think that being in and primarily marketing within the wedding industry will contribute to the longevity of Bibi Invitations as it’s a special occasion and people are willing to spend money?

IO: Although they’re called wedding invitations, they can be used by anyone. We market specifically in the wedding arena because we felt that it was important to fulfill that niche for ethnic invitations — specifically for people of color.

OB: The word wedding however isn’t stamped anywhere on the card. You can personalize the invitations for other occasions such as anniversaries.

MN: What steps did you take to launch the business other than doing what you needed to for the website?

IO: The first step was acting on the idea and inspiration. The second step was the execution; designing the cards and coming up with different concepts. We have three categories; one is the signature couture collection that is more on the luxury side. There’s a middle line and a very affordable line. We tried to make something so everyone is happy while meeting each income bracket. Some people might have the income, but like simple things so all of the collections cover everything from simple to elegant. After that, we made the prototypes and went back and forth with our printer.  From there we went on to launch the website.

MN: Does the name “Bibi” hold any significance?

IO: The full name of the company (Bibi Nyame Dua) can be translated to “Alive in the presence of God.” “Bibi” is latin for “alive” and “Nyame Dua” is a Ghanian Adinkra symbol that means “The presence of God.”

MN: Your business is run for the most part online.  At any point did you encounter difficulties linking up with a company that would ship the invitations worldwide?

CA: No, there were no difficulties. We investigated the options then found that Fedex and some other companies ship to different countries. We consulted them for an online quote then factored the quote into the cost.

MN: Was there anything that you all learned upon starting a business like yours? Was there anything unique or any obstacles within the online card business that you came across?

CA: Since it’s specifically online, it has its own challenges. You really have to market. With a shop online we have to consistently advertise. We do a lot on Facebook and social media to put ourselves out there and make sure customers can find us.

MN: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs trying to start a business like Bibi Invitations?

IO: You can’t afford not to. You can have a flash of inspiration in a second, but to actually build a business and make a business work is hard. You definitely have to see the light at the end of the tunnel. One thing that I’ve come away with is you can’t really take “no” for an answer. We’ve had doors shut and faced obstacles, but you have to keep pushing until you get what you want.



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