Calgarian Franck Hounsokou calls his ecommerce platform Boutique Africaine “the Etsy of” African and African-inspired homewares and fashion. Inspired by the vibrant Dantokpa Market in Hounsokou’s birthplace of Cotonou, Benin, the online marketplace came to fruition in 2016 after he ordered a traditional garment for an African wedding and it arrived more than a month after the ceremony had passed. This past September, Hounsokou relaunched Boutique Africaine with improved shipping time, an easier-to-use payment system and an expanded vendor base. While the business is based in Calgary, prices are listed in Euros, US dollars and pounds only. Boutique Africaine has more than 50 vendors from Africa and around the globe. The relaunch was also a full circle moment for Hounsokou as it marked the introduction of his first Benin-based vendor, the wooden dishware maker Vaisselles Benin.
This article appears in the February 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.