There is something about Nairobi. Every time I set foot in the airport, I remember that summer of 2010, when Marc was building our very first mille collines store. There are so many emotional memories attached to those days when we were creating the very first one, the store that would give us green light to keep on breathing. I remember vividly Marc drawing for the first time a wooden table with 98 pieces that created a perfect puzzle. Or him phoning me from Nairobi to explain me how the electrician wanted to install speaker cables in our shop for the lighting. The tented camp he stayed in during the construction months; sometimes tented, sometimes a shared room, sometimes a dark old humid room. He asked for nothing more, asked for nothing less. I can still remember the blue Bata flip flops he wore during Kenyan winter four sizes smaller. With that will and that passion is how we made our first mille collines store happen.
There is something about Nairobi now, the home that Marc imagined and created through a lack of one during two years has turned out to be a magic place today. A place that is full of light, of fresh and new Africa, of optimistic surprise messages in places you would never expect them, of memories of a life we are leaving behind and expectations of a year we want to move forward faster than slower, bigger than smaller.
The apartment, home to co founder and brand is located in Parklands in a very peaceful street full of bushed that are perfectly shaped to the eye. This weekend we walked to Westlands to have breakfast and the following days have been a constant race of meetings after meetings.
There is something about Nairobi today, we have two stores and one that is on its way. Expectations are high and many times scary. Today was scary. However, in the peace of that house Marc imagined and customized to be, wrapped in a new blue striped blanket recently purchased to add a touch of color to the leather coach, cuddled by the glance of three beautiful people photographed in black and white on the wall above us there is nothing that can actually go wrong. We have built a brand that is so full of us, of the story of two young naïve and brave people and the beauty of a continent that will only open more to the world year after year.
On a plane now back to my Kigali home. There will always be something about Nairobi.
Thank you Marc for always wrapping up my fears. For your determination and unconditional faith in mille collines.