Five Years of Expedition Subsahara

Hey there, Sofi here. We will be celebrating five years of Expedition Subsahara in a few days, and this anniversary has me in a reflective state.

If you don't know the origin story of Expedition Subsahara, all you need to know is that when I first came to the United States, I was surprised that most people's idea of Africa, the whole continent, was one deeply rooted in poverty. I wanted to tell the story of my Africa. A place full of joy and vibrance, abundance and beauty.

Expedition Subsahara was started with two missions. First, we wanted to revolutionize how African craftsmanship was bought, sold, and spoken about. Second, we wanted to build a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) school for girls in my home country of Senegal.

Years ago, if someone had told me I would be running an e-commerce business that employs more than 120 Senegalese women and fills homes worldwide with colorful home goods, I wouldn't have believed them.

When a friend from Uganda and I launched this business five years ago, I could have never imagined where we would be today. I'm so proud of what this company has become. Still, my feelings sway between incredible pride in our accomplishments and unparalleled disappointment for all we have yet to achieve. I've struggled with figuring out how to make the school a reality while also running an ethical business.

I've had quite a few gut-wrenching conversations about how we can build a business where we are paying our weavers their worth, which dwindles profits, yet still, have enough profit to build and run a school. If I knew years ago, what I know now about the economics of running a sustainable, ethical business, I would be too scared to start this journey.

Then, I remember my favorite African proverb: "Little by little, the bird builds its nest." I've never been more dedicated to fulfilling our missions.

I wanted to thank every single one of you for your support over the past five years. You are the backbone of this company, and we are so thankful to have you as a part of our community. The simple fact is, we wouldn't be where we are without you. We love you. I love you.

The marathon continues.

With Love,
Sofi & The Team