From Oops to Opportunity: The Story of Our Fabric Wall

From Oops to Opportunity: The Story of Our Fabric Wall

We want to share a story that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Ndara: the story of our now-famous fabric wall. We take pride in the fact that we have built and crafted our space entirely by hand, literally. We built the Bangui Boutique from the ground up – every brick, every beam, every piece of furniture, and every display boasts the handiwork of our dedicated team. But even the best-laid plans can't account for everything, and that's where this story begins.

We opened our Ndara boutique in June 2021, right in the middle of Bangui's rainy season. Talk about a trial by fire with tropical storms sweeping in every day, disrupting the building and installation process. 24 hours before our opening event, a particularly heavy downpour revealed a big mistake we had made in our roof construction – a leak right above the wall by our checkout counter. With less than 24H before the guests to our opening event were arriving, the wall now displayed huge stains of humidity. Now, fixing the roof itself was not the problem, but the real challenge was the wall and its big stains. The leak left the cement saturated, requiring months to dry. Repainting was out of the question – the humidity seeped right through the chalk paint. Discouraged but determined, we needed a solution, and fast!

That's when our team's resourcefulness truly shone. We decided to think outside the box! We welded and painted through the night before our opening, constructing a metal frame, custom-built to fit onto that specific wall, and used it to hang beautiful fabric-covered plywood sheets, covering up the stains while still letting them dry. This ingenious solution not only addressed the damp wall but also created a stunning accent piece. We confess, at that point, it felt like a sloppy creative workaround for a very frustrating and stressful situation. We were focused on the mistake we made on the roof and how much of a delay our mistake had caused us.

But then, something magical happened.
Our customers loved the fabric wall! The vibrant fabric display became a major draw, with visitors stopping to admire it and snapping pictures in front of it. Our artisan team, always proud of their work, started incorporating the wall into their selfies, highlighting it as part of the Ndara story. We embraced the positive energy and began changing the fabric with the seasons and our new collections long after the actual stains on the wall had dried up. It became a dynamic element, reflecting both the evolving trends of our displays and the creative spirit of Ndara.

This experience taught us a valuable lesson: mistakes are inevitable, but they don't have to define us. In fact, with a little ingenuity, they can even become opportunities. The leaky roof, which initially felt like a big setback and failure, ultimately led to the creation of a signature element of Ndara. It became a symbol of our resourcefulness, our ability to adapt and overcome challenges, and our commitment to creating something beautiful out of any situation.

Recently, with the wall completely dry, we contemplated removing the fabric wall altogether. But here's another twist in the tale! Our artisans, deeply connected to the wall's story, passionately argued against it. They saw it as a symbol of our journey, a reminder of the time we faced a challenge and emerged stronger and more creative. The wall had become part of our identity.

We decided to keep the spirit of the fabric wall alive by creating a smaller, patterned display using the same techniques we used before. This way, we could honor the past while keeping the wall and our boutique display dynamic and ever-evolving.

Everything you see at Ndara is handcrafted by our amazing artisans. From the actual foundation and walls of our boutique to the furniture pieces and all our products, every single item is proof of our team’s skill and dedication. We cut, weld, paint, and plan with passion in our workshop. We stuff up and make mistakes often, as one does when you are trying new things. But we take pride in the fact that we pour our hearts and souls into learning from our mistakes, letting the mistakes be our teachers instead of what defines us.

So, the next time you visit our Ndara boutique in Bangui or see our fabric wall in one of our photos posted to social media, take a moment to appreciate our sentimental fabric wall. It's more than just a pretty decoration; it's a showcase of the hard work and inventiveness of our artisan team. It's a daily reminder to us that even setbacks can be opportunities for growth and that sometimes, the most wonderful things come from the most unexpected places.