In this series, Man Repeller shines a light on standout independent, Black-owned fashion labels we think you should know about (and shop from!). And in turn, they’re passing the baton and spotlighting a handful of organizations and businesses they know and love. Today we have Paul-Simon Djite, co-founder of Lihte.
Lihte, an online platform connecting brands with stylists and editors, allowing them to select samples and make a request in under 10 minutes.
If we drew a 3-adjective Venn diagram, Lihte would sit in the center of:
Solutions-oriented, hyper-organized, protective
Months from now, you’re back at work and producing the first in-person fashion editorial shoot since who-remembers-when. You’ve been sitting on this big idea that’s been logistically impossible for a while and now it’s finally coming together: the models have been cast, your favorite makeup artist is confirmed, and the rest of pre-production preparation is trucking along. The whole team is buzzing with excitement to be on set next week.
One hitch you forgot about after all those months at home: it’s a complete frenzy keeping track of samples you called in for this shoot. And then you remember: you set up an account with Lihte last year, and they’ve created a genius platform that solves for sample-trafficking as a major pain point for editors and stylists alike. You call in the shoes and jewelry you’ve been eyeing for this concept for months, and you can’t wait to pick up these Mary-Janes and these mules with a swoopy heel by Nicole Saldanã, and this sculpted ring by Luz Ortiz to see them offline. Lihte accounts for every item once confirmed, and reminds the stylists when samples are ready for pickup and when they need to be returned (in this industry, a lot of publications hold onto samples well beyond their allotted time). When you pick them up from Lihte’s studio a few days before the shoot, it’s clear that Djite treats his samples with such love and care, and leading by example, encourages you to do the same. The only thing left to do is send out the call sheet!
Black entrepreneurship in Djite’s words:
“It actually doesn’t mean so much to me to be a black business owner. It means far more to be a business owner. I think that anyone who’s endeavored to go out on a limb and start their own business has experienced their own set of challenges, be it because of their sex, race, religion, (insert differentiating attribute here), etc. As a business owner, I feel much more strongly about the one question we all have to answer: Have we created something people want?”
Want more? Check out MR Market Strategist Elizabeth Tamkin’s database of more than 600 Black-owned brands, along with some of her personal shopping recommendations. If you have a suggestion that you think should be added, please share it in the comments.