Belange Handmade - BHM
Belange Handmade - BHM  Profile Picture

Belange Handmade - BHM

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Fashion – Des Moines, IA

I was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, but I am currently living in Ankeny, Iowa since 2015. I am a college graduate with an AAS Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising, an AS Degree in General Studies, and I am also an aspiring Interior Designer. I have always been a creative person, and handcrafting has certainly been my passion since I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I could not fully express my passion for art because I wanted to follow my father's path as in I wanted to become a chemical engineer. As a result, my area of study in high school was Mathematics and Physics to prepare me for my future career. However, my passion for handcrafting was never buried, and that's how I ended up opening up my accessory line during my senior year in high school and named it " Belange Handmade" also called BHM. I was only 17 years old when it all began , and at first I used to craft jewelry just for my sisters and close friends. Little did I know, I quickly became the talk of the town and the demand increased. I would use old garments and change them into new valuable products. This made it clear that Fashion Design was what I wanted and needed to do, It was my calling. The only challenge for me was the fact that I no proper education in fashion design, or tailoring or anything else related to that. I soon realized that I had to teach myself everything, that's why I started watching YouTube videos about sewing and that's how I learned most of the design stuff I know today. I have been in this business since 2014, and I will be honest that it has not been busy running it alone. Despite the fact that I faced several challenges, I never GAVE UP! I am glad I followed my heart and pursued my dream because I am happy with what I do, and I personally think that I would never have made a good engineer! Today, BHM is located in Iowa, United States and continues to be a sustainable company where 70% of my products is made by hand. It's still a small business that is growing its network day by day by the help of friends and family. I went from a women's handbag and jewelry boutique for women to a clothing and accessories boutique serving both males and females. My goal as for now is growing my business and hopefully expanding it. I see myself a few years from now owning a physical store. I am also oriented towards philanthropic causes and charities meaning I donate money of physical goods whenever I can depending on my profits . In addition, my long-term goal for this business is opening up a free fashion school for single mothers in my home country, teach them basic skills about sewing and prepare them for the workforce so they can provide for their families. Moreover, I pray that one day God will give me the means to open up a fabric factory to produce African prints in my own country in order to provide jobs for a few people in my Congolese community. ...more