Hello friends, my name is Jacqui and I've been working for Teranga Market since December, managing our marketing and social media content. Our primary blogger, Touty, usually brings us content about Senegal's history and culture, but everyone on the team had a crazy month in May. That's why we took some time to regroup, and decided to bring you something a little different- a look at the inner workings of this small, black owned, woman owned business.
Back in May, I had the opportunity to visit our command center, aka, Katie’s home in California. Our Teranga Market time was fast and furious- three days of working together in person, sorting out different aspects of our respective roles, and better understanding each other in the process. Our time was so short because I also attended Katie’s writing retreats, which began May 14th. We had just three days to do all the things we could not do when working remotely. It was three of the most exhausting days I’ve had in a while, to be perfectly honest, but what we accomplished was worth it.
Day one, May11th, started at 9am. I worked independently for an hour while Katie attended some necessary meetings. I knew that I wanted to create and schedule the posts that would need to go up during the retreats, so I started there and made good progress. At 10, Katie and I left for the co-working space that she often went to downtown. We discussed several administrative items, like report writing, analytics, and consistency on our social media posts. We also had a great lunch together and I got to have my first taste of horchata, a drink made from rice, flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It was so tasty and super refreshing in the heat of southern California. (me, beaming with my horchata to the right)
After lunch we continued to work on our respective tasks and wrapped up at 5pm- a full eight hour day! Much of what we discussed on our first work day has translated into a smoother, simpler, and quicker process of creating social media posts. I realized that there were many things I was doing “the hard way”. Katie also taught me things I hadn’t known about Facebook and Instagram, again making my job easier.
My big goal for day two, May 12th, was to establish our brand kit on Canva, something we had been talking about for a while. With Katie next to me, we looked over our options and made choices about colors, fonts, and even templates. Again, this made my role at Teranga Market easier. We had lunch at a great little Chinese place with Siw, who has written about Teranga Market for the local news. We took the long way back to the co-working space, checking out the welcome center, and doing a mini photoshoot in “Umbrella Alley”. (pictured left)
I even got to check out The Frugal Frigate bookstore, which stocks Katie’s book, “Teranga”. After about 45 minutes, and the purchase of more stickers than I knew what to do with, I returned to the coworking
Katie and I took much of our remaining time at the space to have a long and meaningful discussion about our goals and ideas for Teranga Market’s future. As we fed off each other’s energy, our love for Teranga Market had never been more clear. It was obvious that this international collective we were building was being led by strong, talented women who weren’t just teammates, but friends. I was filled with gratitude that what Anne-Marie and Katie had started together had become a major source of learning and community for me- the very definition of “teranga”. We left the co-working space earlier than the day before so we could attend to the very important task of unpacking, taking inventory, and putting tags on our May collection. I did a live unboxing as a trial run for my social media take over the next day. Katie had me model the tote and backpack and I hammed it up. Katie delightedly commented “Wow, how are you so good at this?!”
I laughed and shrugged, “Maybe because of all the dance classes I took when I was younger?”
Our third and final workday, May 13th, was devoted to running our booth at the local farmer's market. Katie had a beautiful set up (shown right), and I embarked on my first ever social media take over. I learned even more about how to use Facebook and Instagram.
The highlight was finally figuring out the magic of “boomerangs”- a short video that played forward and then in reverse before looping. I also snapped the requisite picture of my iced coffee, purchased from a fellow vendor, with our merchandise in the background. I loved flitting around to each of the neighboring booths, introducing myself and asking about their business. Most of all, I watched in awe as Katie chatted breezily with customers new and old, sharing the story and mission of Teranga Market. Katie admitted that she had considered skipping market day, but between our sales and all that I had learned, we agreed that it had been worth the effort.
I am simply baffled, looking back now, by how much Katie and I accomplished in just three days. Though I was physically spent, I was overflowing with excitement and gratitude about Teranga Market’s projects and plans. Katie and I had gotten to know each other in the past as teacher and student, but I could feel that we had truly become teammates during our time together in person. I was able to get better insight on her expectations and vision for our social media presence, and get a better handle on how each platform works. Katie learned what gaps I had in my social media and marketing knowledge and what my process looked like for creating posts. Together we reached a better way of doing things, and a better understanding of each other.
I feel so lucky to be part of this diverse, talented, international team of women. I truly believe in Teranga Market. Education has changed the lives of not only the women on our team, but the lives of our families as well. I can’t wait to see how many more women we can empower, how many more lives we can change. More than ever before, I believe that together, we can end the cycle of poverty, one bookmark at a time.