I remember the morning so well. It was the 23rd of March 2013, I had barely slept the night before, as excitement took over my body and my mind refused to quieten down. I woke up filled with a mixture of joy and nervous energy, ready for the opening day of Grass-fields (it was called The African Shop at the time).
Michele and I had been working tirelessly for five months prior to the launch to ensure that everything was perfect. As excited as we were to open the store, we also just wanted to get it over with! It was like spending months studying for a test - you grow impatient and just want to get the results. We didn’t really expect much, we were just happy it was finally happening!
We woke up at 7am to take a shower and get ready for the day, but to our dismay, we had no running water in the house. Some may say this was a bad omen, but this was fairly normal for us, so we did what we did best - problem solving! We quickly asked one of our brothers to go fetch us water from the nearby well so we could freshen up. By the time he was home, it was already 9am, we were meant to open the store at 10am. This was when we started to panic…
We were late for our own opening! We didn’t have a computer or wifi in our house, so we were completely reliant on the cyber cafe. When we finally got there, our favourite spot had been taken, and to make matters worse, there were no seats available at all! We had to wait an hour until a space became available, soon enough our hopes for a 10am start quickly became more like midday. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, a space finally freed up and we could get back on schedule, shaking off our tiredness, we both sat on the only available chair and got to work. Even though it was tight and tough, these are some of our favourite memories as it brought us so much closer.
After we opened the Etsy store, we posted it on Facebook. Two hours later, we got our first order! We screamed so loud, everyone looked at us wondering what had happened. They probably thought we were crazy, but we couldn’t help it, we were so excited! Half an hour later, another order came in, followed by another loud scream. This time we were asked to leave, but we didn’t let it rain on our parade.
You probably think that we had orders flying out from then, but the truth is we really didn’t. We sold two sets of bangles that day. Yes, just two packs of bangles. Even though it was small, we were excited and grateful. It genuinely felt like we had won the lottery. To think that two people took the time to log in and place an order was such a big deal to us, it felt magical for us and it gave us hope, ; hope that we could really do this. If two girls somewhere in Cameroon could set up a little shop on Etsy and get two orders on the first day of opening, then there was hope!That night we went out to celebrate and ate some of our favourite foods: grilled fish, bobolor and a nice cold super malt to wash it all down. It felt like all the hard work we had put in finally paid off. It was the start of our adventure and we had no idea just how far this dream would take us. We are forever grateful for those two orders 8 years ago. They planted the seed of faith and motivated us to push harder.