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The Folklore Group Announces New Wholesale E-Commerce Platform for African Designer Brands, Raises $1.7 Million Pre-Seed Round

The leading commerce company empowering African designer brands will introduce a premier wholesale platform alongside a shopping aggregator and online media platform that enables global retailers and consumers to discover and shop African and diasporic fashion and lifestyle brands

NEW YORK, April 13, 2022 — The Folklore Group last week announced the launch of The Folklore Connect, a premier wholesale ecommerce platform for African and diasporic designer fashion and lifestyle brands. The company raised a $1.7 million pre-seed funding round led by Slauson & Co. with participation from Fearless Fund alongside other notable Black investors, including WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, and is using the funds to build a conglomerate of B2B, consumer and media products that will enable global retailers and customers to seamlessly discover, connect with and shop African and diasporic designer brands.

The Folklore Connect marks the continued expansion of The Folklore Group, which also includes the introduction of two new innovation platforms, including The Folklore Marketplace, a consumer shopping aggregator that will replace the company’s original direct-to-consumer platform, and The Folklore Edit, an online media platform that will feature industry analysis, interviews and news about the African and diasporic design industry.

“The Folklore Connect is the next step in our vision to see African brands in the hands of customers around the world and to create opportunities for them that encourage scalability and fuel them to compete globally,” said Amira Rasool, Founder and CEO of The Folklore Group. “We’re using technology and community to connect brands, customers and partners that value sustainability and support the new vanguard of design.”

The Folklore connect provides access to trustworthy global retailers for African brands looking to expand their wholesale business locally or internationally. Retail partners include a carefully vetted selection of e-commerce retailers, specialty boutiques, department stores and concept stores around the world that are eager to connect with the brands of the future. Platform features include virtual brand showrooms, wholesale order management, two-way messaging between brands and retailers, a retailer and brand discovery marketplace and streamlined online payment, with payment providers tailored to the needs of African businesses.

The Folklore Connect and The Folklore Marketplace launched with established and emerging African and diasporic designers across apparel, accessories, beauty and homewares with notable brands including Rich Mnisi, Orange Culture, Suki Suki Naturals, The Underargument, Vavvoune, alongside global retailers that are eager to discover designers and provide access to their customers internationally.

Since launching in 2018, The Folklore has operated as a multi-brand e-commerce retailer for luxury and emerging designers from Africa and the diaspora, including womenswear, menswear, beauty and home,but after nearly four years, the company has restructured to form The Folklore Group to create better solutions for the way brands, retailers and consumers engage in conscious commerce. "The world is beginning to wake up to the untapped talent across Africa. The Folklore highlights the best design talent across the continent, and demand for these products that reflect the culture is exploding,” said Ajay Relan, Managing Partner, Slauson & Co.

The Folklore Group is now accepting applications for the next wave of brands and retailers to join the waitlist for The Folklore Connect, as well as The Folklore marketplace.

About The Folklore Group
The Folklore Group is a conglomerate of B2B, consumer, and media products that enable the global
ecosystem to seamlessly discover, connect with, and shop African and diasporic designer brands.

About Slauson & Co.
Slauson & Co. is a Los Angeles-based VC firm focused on early stage technology investments led by investors Austin Clements and Ajay Relan. The firm is driven by its mission of economic inclusion and democratizing access to entrepreneurship for underrepresented founders.