Business management

Proud to Be: Tzaritsa Asante, founder of Tzari

As a clothing designer with a social conscience, Tzaritsa Asante’s journey is just beginning.

Tell us about your business and what it does.

“Tzari is a clothing brand with the African diaspora in mind, people that are ‘third culture’ like me, whether from the Caribbean, US or generations in Europe. It speaks to the point of passion for people who want to express themselves in the fullest way they can or in the freest way they can.

“Sustainability is core to this brand because it was the way my mother trained me. What would otherwise be considered waste was simply an opportunity to create, especially when it came to clothes.”

What motivated you to start?

“My first career was in international development and within this I had the opportunity to work in Ghana. While there, I can say that I underwent a re-education and began to see things differently. It provided context to those things that my parents had taught me and an understanding of their values. Ghana gave me permission to be me. Everywhere else I always felt like I was Black first and, though I had some phenomenal teachers and was often celebrated in school, it was a celebration of difference. In Ghana I was no longer Black; I was just me. 

“I was no longer restricted to a way of thinking, and learned that there was beauty in all shapes and sizes. I saw textiles and began to understand colour differently. I saw how every item had a proverb; clothes could speak because they had symbols that carried meaning. People would go to funerals, attend weddings and go to school – and in all these places, what they wore would tell you what they stood for or represented. 

Tzari will be able to pursue its core principle of justice by giving a platform to those who have been marginalised, being a voice to the unseen and as an example of overcoming, like me

Tzaritsa Asante, founder, Tzari

“Although I was offered a promotion, I realised that what I had learned was much more important to bring back home. It was not enough for me alone to have an awakening; the knowledge I had gathered was better used serving the African diaspora outwith the continent.” 

What have been the biggest challenges for you so far?

“The biggest challenge for me was that I when I started I really had no network and no business context. I had this idea but I didn’t know anybody in business in the UK and had no one to ask, in terms of developing the skills that were necessary. I quickly realised that my network had to increase, so I tapped into what I had seen in my mother – her ability to persevere, and create income through her excellence in sewing and creativity – and began to increase my connections through Business Gateway then RBS, which was major for my development.

  • Watch Tzaritsa’s business story on LinkedIn


“The other challenge, I would say, has been the pandemic. Statistically, even without the pandemic, I should have failed in the fashion industry. I’m in a field which is not friendly to those who do not have financial backing, so being a Black person without finance in this sector is almost a non-starter. The fact that I am here amidst the pandemic with the confidence and opportunity to represent others like me is a testament to these networks.” 

Finally, the theme for this year’s Black History Month is Proud to Be. What is your proudest achievement to date?

“My proudest achievement is being able to develop Tzari to the point of launch through such a time as a pandemic, and stay the course. A lot of people who I’ve met in the past two or so years were not able to maintain things through the pandemic. And it’s unfortunate, because some of them had really good offerings for the community. 

“Again, it comes back to the network. So when I meet someone who’s Black or, you know, an ethnic minority, and they’re into business, or they have an idea, I try to encourage them with my story. I think that I’ve developed resilience through this time but I could not be here without the support of networks, family and friends.

“Tzari will be able to pursue its core principle of justice by giving a platform to those who have been marginalised, being a voice to the unseen and as an example of overcoming, like me.”

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