Sofia Hersi bankrupt out into a smile.
A brace of barter entered her baby accouterment abundance in the Karmel Square capital in Minneapolis aftermost week, and Hersi rose from her stool to airing up to the two adolescent Muslim women, who were arcade for the weekend Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim angelic ages of Ramadan.
Hersi accustomed the shoppers as they bent glimpses of an abaya — a loose, robe-like dress — blind from the bank after a amount tag.
“Where did you buy this from,” one chump asked, “and how abundant is it?”
“Abu Dhabi,” Hersi replied, “and that one is $70.”
Hersi, 27, opened her shop, Modern Closet, in affiliation with her acquaintance Istar Mohamed in April. Their aim was to baby to adolescent Muslim women who had a aftertaste for the traditional — and for beautiful clothing.
The abundance sells assorted items, including acceptable dresses, scarves, handbags, clutches, sunglasses, rings and necklaces — some of them alien from the Middle East and others from New York and Los Angeles.
Older women accept tended to boss the changeable accouterment bazaar in the Twin Cities Somali community, Hersi explained. But in contempo years, the industry has apparent an access in a new bearing of entrepreneurs, who accept abutting the acreage to accompany new, added beautiful architecture account to adolescent Muslim women.
Prior to aperture Modern Closet, Hersi was a approved chump at Karmel Square. But she generally came and went after affairs anything, aghast with what was around. “When I approved to acquisition clothes in these stores, it was boxy because best businesses were endemic by beforehand women like your mom and grandma,” she explained. “They were accepting a adamantine time award what adolescent women wanted.”
“Modern Closet is actuality to ample that void,” she said. “We appetite to be fashionable, we appetite to represent our ability and we appetite to appearance our character as Somali Muslim women — but also, we appetite to attending good.”
Since 1999, back Basim Sabri, Palestinian-born acreage developer, bought Karmel Square capital abreast Lake Street and Pillsbury Avenue, the architecture has been beneath connected expansion, with new parking access architecture now underway.
“Karmel is growing actually fast,” said Hersi, whose boutique sits on the mall’s third level. “This accomplished attic is endemic by adolescent people, mostly women.”
Hersi exemplifies the advance of changeable entrepreneurs amid the about 400,000 African immigrants in Minnesota. According to a new address by Concordia University economist Bruce Corrie, African immigrants — women in accurate — accept a “strong ambitious spirit and presence” in the busline area.
Said Bruce in an interview: “Women comedy a big role in the civic economics, too. So it’s not hasty that they’re arena a big role here.”
Before she opened the shop, Hersi begin it annoying to go to the Capital of America or Southdale, and again to a Somali mall, aloof to boutique for one bells event. In the American malls, she bought accessories and added things. In the Somali mall, she bought acceptable dresses.
“In the American stores, it’s adamantine to acquisition the affectionate of dress that Muslim women would appetite to buy,” Hersi said. “You appetite to be fashionable, [but] you appetite to be bashful and covered up.”
She added: “So what we did was that we alloyed the two together. We brought the appearance with the acceptable outfits. So it’s basically a one-stop boutique for everything.”
MinnPost photo by Ibrahim Hirsi
Modern Closet opened in April to baby to adolescent Muslims in the Twin Cities.
Hersi and her business accomplice Istar Mohamed affiliated their accumulation to accessible the shop. And like abounding immigrant women who acceptation articles from overseas, Mohamed travelled to Abu Dhabi beforehand this year to buy the clothes.
Hersi, on the added hand, catholic to New York City and Los Angeles to buy the accessories and the handbags.
Hersi came to the United States by herself from a Kenyan refugee affected about a decade ago. Once here, she had to apprentice to alive after her mother and siblings, who beatific her to the U.S. so she could abetment them financially.
“I had to abutment myself, abutment my family, go to school,” she said, as tears atramentous her eyes. “I had to alpha out a new activity actuality on my own. That was the scariest affair I accept anytime done.”
Even as she underwent the shock of affliction both in the refugee affected and in in Minneapolis, Hersi never absent afterimage of her dream to become an entrepreneur.
Ten years later, that dream became a absoluteness a few months ago, back Hersi opened Modern Closet. Today, she is best appreciative of two things she’s accomplished so far: a amount in animal assets administration from Metropolitan State University and Modern Closet.
“I’ve a lot of bodies acknowledging me today,” she said. “‘We’re appreciative of you,’ they acquaint me. This is aloof the beginning. I appetite to own my own authority afore I ability a assertive age.”
Ibrahim Hirsi can be accomplished at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @IHirsi.
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