From her real Natacha Kanzié, this young Burkinabe girl is better known by the name of “Lena Pearls”, a name taken from the combination of his first name (Natacha) and his loving mother (Léonie) whom he loves very much. Formerly a professional basketball player and even a model, Natacha Kanzié is now changing to making pearls, more specifically women’s ones attached to stones known as “Bayas” and sometimes to feet and hands. Attached to pearls since his early childhood and driven by a rage to gain financial independence, he gave himself the means to no longer depend on his mother, the only parental figure since birth. Burkina24 zooms in on this fighter…
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Natacha Kanzié is the only child of her mother, Léonie! He never had a chance to be with his father. With each passing day, every night he sees his mother fighting and sacrificing for him to give him a good life.
So, over the years, Natacha thought hard about what she could do to support her mother and not rely on her anymore. Bingo! He finally remembered the pearls he had always loved since childhood. So, she started weaving small bracelets that she sold at school for between 200 and 250 CFA francs. Facts from 2011 when he was in 5th grade.
” I am an only child and my mother is always with me. I saw how it happens, how it doesn’t happen and the fact that always brings money to him worries me. And at some point, precisely on my 5th, I told myself that I would do something with my ten fingers to not be completely dependent on him. “, he revealed.
With a little creativity and luck, her bracelets were easier to buy, as her classmates admired them. One day, in a conversation with one of his relatives, he suggested to diversify his creations and especially the ordinary if he really wanted to cope with this task. So Natacha will start making necklaces and chains that women, especially girls, wrap around stones and feet commonly called “Baya”.
One step leads to another, the love of the object takes place and imposes itself. Very imaginative and imaginative, her necklaces and chains are making the rounds in the Burkinabè capital and beyond. He built a shop located in Cissin, a district of Ouagadougou where he produces, exhibits and resells his collections. Since class 1time now that she has completed her degree in communication, Natacha Kanzié supports her studies thanks to this activity.
The time spent making a necklace or chain depends on the model requested by the client, he explained promoter of Lena Perles. ” There are models I can make in 5 minutes if it’s simple enough. On the other hand, there are others that can take an hour or even a whole day, it all depends on the order. “, he supports.
To sell his production, he said he has a circle of friends on social networks who, apart from buying for themselves, also help him share with their friends and acquaintances. He reports that his items are sold more on social networks than in the store. ” It is through social networks that I can sell easily, my store is not very well placed, I am in the six meter zone, above all my circle (of friends, editor’s note) pays more “, he says.
Since these are women’s items, you immediately understand that Natacha Kanzié’s clientele consists mainly of women. ” My clients are all people who love pearl accessories, more specifically pearls. Who really likes to adorn their arms, their hips, their feet with anything made of beads “, he argued.
Natacha manages to bring a special touch to her collections thanks to small artificial stones that are very rare on the market but highly coveted by women, for whom she creates models.
Contrary to the speculations we hear in our communities that bayas are usually satanic things that attract genies or night husbands, Natacha said she heard about it but for her it was “hearsay”.
” I heard it call for geniuses. That if you wear them you will be possessed and some say you can attract a man with it. In the time of our grandparents, grandmothers (the baya, editor’s note) wore it to support the loincloth so it wouldn’t fall off.
This allows (well, editor’s note) to know that we have gained or lost weight. And in the long run, we saw that it was beautiful, we tried to add a little something to make it better and little by little, women understood that men like little things like this. “, he defended.
Most of the raw materials used by Natacha are from Nigeria and Ghana. This is also one of the main difficulties it faces. There is also a shortage of these materials. This causes the loss of certain markets because it happens that it does not honor certain orders.
” To order, you need to pay 50% of the amount before I start production. In the beginning, there are people who order a dozen, and you take your money, invest, buy everything you need, and work.
In the end when you call, you hardly answer it. So what I do now, I take 50% of the total, before making and depositing. Right now I know that even next year the client will come to collect and I’m not losing “, he confessed.
Natacha Kanzié admits that she is doing well thanks to this job. ” There are days when God is gracious, I can go home with 40,000 or 50,000 FCFA, we don’t complain “, he admitted. However at the moment he is working alone in his shop but he is hoping to hire someone to help him with some tasks.
Natacha Kanzié has several hats. He is a professional basketball player. In 2016, she joined the Burkinabe national women’s basketball team. But unfortunately, he will not go far in this adventure. A knee injury ended his career.
Then she decided to go into fashion. From her height of 1.83 centimeters and a good figure, an actress offered her to try modeling. An idea he liked and he committed to it. From his first casting, he was chosen. This venture will not progress unfortunately. However, he continues to participate in filming clips.
” I happened to leave school, go to my fashion shows and come back to finish my order. There are also times when I let it go, I do my parades and I go to school. I can honestly say that in Burkina fashion it does not feed its man. We come into the industry because we love, we are passionate about it, otherwise, if it’s for the money that we come to fashion, the 20,000, 25,000 shows that we have every two months don’t feed our man. This is why I turned to my current activity “, he confirmed.
Elfride Tougma, is a client of Natacha, she said she discovered her products on TikTok and since then she has remained loyal. ” He has a rare pearl, which is not found everywhere in Ouagadougou. Since I paid baya, he is the first person I have found with unique models, he does only what he has in mind and when you take it, great achievements. “, he sells.
On the other hand, he blames the fact that he cannot take advantage of social networks to better identify himself. Natacha remains a model for him, a source of inspiration, he prays for the prosperity of his company.
As for Aïna Traoré (assumed name), another client of Natacha and a great lover of her chains, she says that her husband likes them. In addition, she confessed to us that some of her married companions informed her that there are berries that make it possible to maintain balance in the home and above all to attract her man to her.
To the girls who started entrepreneurship but, because of poverty, want to give up, she encourages them to stay and not give up. ” Not every day is rosy. There are days when you wonder who let you in, but as long as you love what you do, I think you’ll be okay, you have to know how to move on and fight to be okay “, he says.
As a future project, Natacha Kanzié wants to see her shop grow and open a training workshop on weaving beads.
Micheline OUEDRAOGO (Trainee)