Do you ever shop while on a business trip?
My fab friend and co-worker Char recently had the opportunity to do some unique shopping while on a company trip– but this wasn’t a standard business trip. On this trip, there were no clients or company meetings, no comfy hotel rooms or dinners out.
This company trip involved several long plane and bus rides to a remote area of Africa, in the far upper east region of Ghana, to the small village of Bolgatanga. Char, along with some of our co-workers, swapped briefcases for hammers and spent the week painting local schools and building furniture as part of one of our company’s many volunteer initiatives.
One of the best things to buy in this part of Ghana is a custom-designed, custom-fitted dress. First, pick out your fabric– there are all sorts of gorgeous textiles to choose from at giveaway prices ($4 for three yards).
Next, select a dress design from a one of the many options offered.
In two hour’s time, using nothing but measuring chalk, scissors and a manual sewing machine set up on the dirt ground, these wonder ladies will whip you up a dress of your choosing. Incredibly, you can buy one of these custom dresses for as little as $10-15, depending on your bargaining skills (and whether you are a local or westerner).
I found this completely shocking– it takes my local tailor three days (and 20 bucks) to hem a pair of trousers!
The dresses are totally stunning– I’d love to wear one as a chic hostess dress for a summer party. And because it’s a bespoke original, you never have to worry about anyone showing up in the same dress.
Special thanks to Char for her photos and story!
Have you ever shopped the markets of Ghana or other parts of Africa? Share in the comments below!
All photos courtesy of Char, used with permission, Copyright 2014.