Friends Support Friends: Meet My Sister Mary

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It was hard for me to stay consistent with posting content this year but the Friends Support Friends series helped me stay on track and also showcase a few people I know doing great things. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and my friends throughout the series! I probably have another 20 or so people that I could highlight for doing amazing things in their own right, so stay tuned for my next blog series in 2019!


I want to conclude my Friends Support Friends series this year featuring my one and only sister, Mary. On top of having her doctorate and working as a consultant, Mary recently started her own business, Funke's Trybal Marks, where she sells African fabric, handmade jewelry, and accessories. She has been featured at many craft shows and art events since her official launch earlier this year. Make sure to check out her website and social media to see more of her work and learn about the origins of the materials and fabrics that she uses. Meet mi hermana...


Mary Adeniyi

Hometown: Granger, IN (I was born in Nigeria but I honestly don’t know where I consider my "home"town, because we moved around so much when I was younger)
Describe yourself in 3 words: Focused, Organized, Professional


What would you say is your mission? My motto in life is "be an example of what is possible." I believe that everything we do causes a ripple in not just our own personal lives, but in our family's, our society's, our country's (birth country and adopted country), and our culture. I hope other women--especially, immigrant women--will look at me and be inspired to do more, be more, and find ways to start living their life purpose.

What keeps you going? The amount of things to create with ankara and kente fabric is endless. Just seeing the vibrant colors, feeling the crisp wax, and smelling fresh fabric brings me back to walking through the outdoor markets in Nigeria. The positive memories these things invoke in me keep me going.
FTM Ankara Headwraps

Who inspires you?
There isn’t one person; rather, just anyone I see who is out their doing their thing, living unapologetically, being an example of what is possible, and just being the most authentic and purposeful selves they can be.


How do you want people to feel as a result your work? I want people to see me and be inspired to finally pursue that thing they have always talked about pursuing. I am an advocate of not only helping others discover their talents and passion, but also being an advocate to help those talents shine so others can see. That is why in addition to my own personal handmade items, I also source from local and international African artisans who make equally unique accessories using African fabric and have FTM as just one of the many platforms for their items to be marketed.

Wooden envelope openers made in Kenya

What made you get started?
I started FTM in the early Summer of 2018. However, I believe the seed for FTM has long been in me since a young age. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial environment, having an extremely independent and creative personality, and having a love and deep interest in cultural artifacts, I believe I was bound to start a business such as FTM. Although I am not on Etsy, I love the Etsy"ish" feel of offering unique, handmade, and sometimes hard-to-find items. I love working with my hands creating fun accessories using African fabric.


What was been the hardest part about starting? Probably the marketing piece. Taking the time to intentionally market and keep marketing when you have a full-time job has been the most challenging.


What would you tell someone who is thinking about doing what you are doing? Do not wait until you feel like you have an “inventory” of items, otherwise you will keep delaying. Start out with even just 3-4 things you do well and make a bunch of them. Then, gradually, start to expand and add to your line of items.

Mary's Favorite quote: "Be an example of what is possible."

Me helping tie an FTM head wrap for a customer at the Downtown South Bend Art Beat Festival

Thank you all for rocking with Memoirs of Melanin in 2018. I'm wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season spent with loved ones, great food, and grateful hearts. Positive vibes only into 2019. See you next year!

XOXO

Michelle

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