We had the good fortune of connecting with Dardoh Skinner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dardoh, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always been a design enthusiast and a lover of all things home decor. When my husband and I moved into a house in Denver and I started decorating I looked online for decor that would reflect my African culture. Both my parents were born and raised in The Gambia, in West Africa and I spent most of my childhood summers there. I searched online for baskets and pillows and other decor items that were being sold by Africans and couldn’t find anything. There were a lot of African inspired collections but none by any people who had direct ties to the cultures that the goods came from. It inspired me to look into my in connection with craft through my Gambian culture and see what I could do to tell that story.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Although I am a lawyer by trade I recently left the corporate world to leap fully into working on my entrepreneurial projects. Becoming an attorney was a lot of hard work but I don’t think I would have come to the realization that entrepreneurship is my true passion if not for that part of my journey. I do believe all our past experiences help to inform the ones we will have in the future. Harmattan Home allows me to bring my love of beautiful home decor and design to the process of exploring my heritage. Harmattan Home pieces celebrate the legacies and traditions of my Gambian ancestors. Harmattan Home offers modern, curated home decor, handmade in partnership with master craftspeople throughout West Africa. Inspired by the Harmattan season and the nomadic spirit of the Fulani people of the Sahel, Harmattan Home uses natural materials and textiles to create classic pieces that cater to the conscious consumer. Our shop seeks to share West African cultural expressions and stories with the world. We offer beautiful handmade decor from skilled African craftspeople while supporting long-standing traditions in communities throughout West Africa. Harmattan Home aims to protect cultural rights, access new markets, and steward the traditions of artisans that have been passed down through the generations. Our collections are produced in small batches with care and skill. Every handmade piece is a one-of-a-kind item. All of Harmattan Home’s textiles and raw materials are SLOW: sustainable, locally sourced, organic and whole. We believe in a present, intentional, conscious, and mindful lifestyle and hope our decor brings the same energy to the spaces of those who purchase our products.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Denver. When friends and family come to visit we always love to take them to RiNo where we walk around, check out the shops and restaurants, Denver Central Market, and enjoy the street art. We also love the vibe on Tennyson St. which is close to our old neighborhood. Berkeley Untapped is a great spot to hang and sit and people watch while sipping on a cool beverage. I always get their kombucha on tap! My absolute favorite restaurant in Denver is Atelier by Radex, a cute little french restaurant in City Park with a cozy atmosphere and creative chef who cooks the most superb meals. It’s a really lovely dining experience.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband and my sister for being wonderful listening ears along this journey to bring Harmattan Home to the world. My friend Morgan for being my “dream big” partner in crime, my cousin and business partner Mansata, in Gambia, for doing so much to help the business on the ground, and my friend Grace for all her help and being the best number cruncher and business finance whiz.
Other: Currently we are only selling our pillows via our retail partner Huckberry. Our collection can be found here: https://huckberry.com/store/harmattan-home