At just 23 years old, Aline Mukamusoni has embarked on a journey that intertwines her personal history with the rich cultural heritage of her homeland. Mukamusoni was raised in an orphanage in Gikongoro, a small village in Nyamagabe district, in the Southern Province of Rwanda. Her childhood experiences sparked her journey to entrepreneurship.

As a child, Mukamusoni found solace in the art of handcraft, a skill she learned from the women in her village who were part of a weaving cooperative. “I spent countless Sundays with those women and I found solace in using my hands as my mind rested by concentrating on something different from wondering how I ended up in an orphanage or feeling pity for myself,” she says. This early exposure to craftsmanship later inspired her to start her brand, Amike.

Amike is a tribute to Rwandan women who have preserved the tradition of handcrafting through generations. “Amike is a symbol of honour to the women who have kept the culture of handcraft alive,” Mukamusoni explains.”It’s a luxury that stems from culture.”

Aline Mukamusoni of Amike

In sourcing workers and materials, Mukamusoni looked no further than her roots and neighbouring countries. Going back to her village to draw from the talents of the women who first taught her, her brand employs skilled artisans from the village where she grew up. “There is no one I could trust more with attention to detail and perfectionism,” she states. Amike sources beads from a downtown beads seller who gets beads from Kenya and Uganda. Each of the brand’s pieces carries a story of collaboration and craftsmanship, embodying its commitment to quality, and cultural preservation.

Despite being a young business, Amike has found its niche in the East African market. Customers were quickly drawn to the brand’s exquisite craftsmanship and deeper symbolism. They see in Amike a beacon of possibility—a fusion of tradition and modernity that resonates deeply with their identities. “Amike inspires my customers,” Mukamusoni says. “They often say it’s like a fresh breath of possibilities.”

A headpiece by Amike

In January 2023, Mukamusoni joined the first cohort of the African Fashion Futures Incubator program, a transformative space designed to challenge ideas, nurture business concepts, and provide invaluable resources and mentorship for talented fashion designers. Her time there was instrumental in helping her business scale. “It was eye-opening. I learned to channel my creative ideas into my brand with a professional mindset and develop strategies that will make those ideas financially profitable,” she says.

Amike’s impact reverberates far beyond fashion. With eight female artisans employed full-time and a burgeoning online presence, the brand provides stable incomes while fostering a sense of cultural connection among the Rwandan diaspora. But for Mukamusoni, this is only the beginning, “Amike is still young and has yet to make greater impacts,” she notes with determination.

Crafted by Amike

Looking ahead, Mukamusoni plans for Amike to be a global fashion hub for African luxury and artistry, powered by the craft of women who refuse to be confined by circumstance. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs is to learn from the stories of those who inspire them and to focus on the present. “You don’t have to have everything you envision your business to be in the beginning but each step you take is a step closer to your goals,” she says.

Elsewhere on Ventures

Triangle arrow