How She Does It: Yacine Bio-Tchane and Winstina Hughes, Founders of Mi Pikin

Mi Pikin is modern, trendy, ready-to-wear clothing brand for children between the ages of 1 to 7 years old.

The brand was launched in 2018 by Yacine Bio-Tchane and Winstina Hughes, two women of African origin who want heirloom African clothing for children everywhere.

Mi Pikin fabrics are popular throughout Africa. Some fabrics are traditionally made in specific countries and others are manufactured and popular in certain regions.

Mi Pikin means “My child” in the Krio language of Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Winstina and Yacine. Can you share your motivation for starting the company?

Winstina Hughes: I decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship soon after graduating from college. The CEO of the company I worked at started a business in college with friends and spoke about it frequently. I chose to have faith in myself and took the leap to start my company the year I entered graduate school. Though my inspiration to start my company came from a colleague, my persistence to continue comes from observing my father run his own business. Mi Pikin is a new venture with my close friend Yacine.

Yacine Bio-Tchane: I come from a background where people make a living from different sources of income, especially women. I took the leap thanks to my friend Winstina who simply asked me, do you want to launch Mi Pikin with me? I believed in both of our strengths and resolve.

Our ideal clients are anyone with a child in their house, family or surroundings. We want Mi Pikin to attract anyone who is open to adding our vibrant brand in their child's style.

Winstina: Yes. I also see Yacine and her children and me and my children as Mi Pikin clients, too. I look at our clothing and my reaction is, "I would buy that!" Since I have no children, I want someone else to have a chance to buy beautiful clothing made with a modern African touch for a child they adore.  

Yacine: My vision is for Mi Pikin to become an international brand with customers all around the world who can access our collections simply by going online.

Winstina: I want the same thing. I can see our customers buying Mi Pikin clothing with the touch of the screen, a click of the mouse or at our pop up store. Yacine and I were both born in West Africa. I was raised in America and it is incredibly hard to find children's clothing made from African cloth. When you see it, it was a gift or a mom had it custom made by a seamstress. 

Deb: What have been some of your successes and challenges? 

Winstina: My successes with my company, Planning Write, are tied to not accepting every opportunity I am offered. Not every web design opportunity is the right fit. One challenge I have had is that not everyone wants to be a paying customer. I anticipate that I will have different experiences with Mi Pikin. 

Deb: I love the passion you both show for this company. What inspires you to do the work you do? 

Winstina: Love. Honestly, I only do what I love and I only work with people I respect. This keeps me positive and inspired. 

Yacine: I am inspired by the desire to have impact. I want my venture to change the course of African people lives through the opportunity to express their creativity, their skills and through employment. I want the world to see clothing Made in Africa and to applaud the style and the quality of the clothing.

Deb: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out? 

Winstina: My advice would be to bootstrap and avoid spending money if you do not have. I believe I am still in business because I have avoided capital intensive investments. I only accept payments on my company website, chose a co-working space over renting in an office building, and e-commerce over renting a store. 

Yacine: The best advice I will give a woman entrepreneur is to structure her business from day one. She must make sure that she takes the necessary measures to have contracts, to file taxes, to have the right skillset around her, to keep track of her spending, etc. The more structured a company is, the most sustainable it will be.

Deb: Terrific advice. One more question: what do you wish you could tell your younger self?

Yacine: I would tell my younger self to explore anything I wanted and not to be scared of failure or ridicule. 

Deb: Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Before you go, please share your website and social media URLs:  

Winstina & Yacine: It was a pleasure to share our company with your readers. 

@MiPikin on Facebook and Instagram.

No comments

Back to Top