Anji Degante Is Using Her Tampa-based Clothing Business To Help Orphaned Children In Kenya.
A Tampa business accepted into the 5508 Small Business Incubator Program is using the opportunity to make an impact beyond the Bay area.
Anji Degante, the owner of Accent Styles Boutique, has been inspired ever since her 2014 trip to Kenya. She launched her African clothing business three years ago and now a portion of those proceeds benefit orphan children in that community.
“The Maasai tribe that I lived with were extremely traditional,” she said. “If they did not make it they did not wear it,” Degante says she learned a lot about Kenyan culture while living there.
“I’ve seen a lot of things that I wanted to improve,” she said. I thought that I could change Kenya but I feel like Kenya changed me. It made me a better person. It made me more conscious. It made me take a look into sustainable fashion. It made me look at ways to create cultural retention programs.”
After two years in the small business incubator program, Tampa Hillsborough Executive Action Plan CEO Derrick Blue says Degante’s business has become a bankable small business.
Accent Styles Boutique sells sustainable clothing & African fashions inspired by owner Angi Degante's excursion in #Kenya. The Tampa native has been giving back to the village that influenced her brand by supporting a local orphanage of 300+ kids. @BN9 @accent_styles @THAPgroup pic.twitter.com/lUPUnWmZ6b
— Fadia Mayté Patterson M.S. (@FadiaTVNews) October 10, 2021
“We have a lot of success stories from individuals that started off with laptops as coworkers in one of our spaces to now being seven-figure companies,” Blue said.
As she continues to be a success, Degante has been giving back to the community that influenced her brand.
A portion of the proceeds at her shop is helping more than 300 children at a Kenyan orphanage with their education, uniforms, and food. Degante says she felt compelled to step in and help when the orphanage’s leader passed away.
She also opened a library in Nairobi, Kenya with books donated from St. Petersburg and Tampa.
"Happy, I'm happy."
At Accent Styles Boutique it is beyond purchasing a product. A percentage of every sell towards providing education and hygiene products.
Its more than a pretty purchase, its making a child happy. pic.twitter.com/rEYlVsMUxG
— Accent Styles Boutique (@accent_styles) August 31, 2021
“They are definitely like my adopted children I absolutely love them,” Degante said. She credits her success both locally and abroad to the opportunity she has with 5508.
“One of the things that I love about the rent being so affordable is that I’m able to buy more product, I’m able to hire more employees and I’m able to donate so much of my time,” she said.
— Accent Styles Boutique (@accent_styles) September 1, 2021
Time and effort she says are fueling our local economy while providing resources and a future for orphans in that Kenyan village.
Content courtesy of Spectrum Bay News 9 & Nairobi fashion hub