From being peniless to building a fashion empire, Mariatu Turay’s story will inspire you


Mariatu Turay is a fighter! Her story is one we cannot help but share. She was born in London and was raised in Sierra Leone until the civil war in Sierra Leone brought them back to America. 

Homeless in the U.S., Turay’s only option was to braid people’s hair. She had learnt this skill in school. The money she made from hairdressing was what she used to pay her way through college, earning a degree in Economics, Politics and Public Administration.

Another skill Turay had learnt was tailoring. Her mother had given her a machine when she was 11 and with this, she taught herself to design. The result of that skill is Gitas Portal, a London fashion brand specializing in ready-to-wear apparel featuring African and Ankara wax prints.


Her advice to budding entrepreneurs is to avoid growing too fast, too soon without structures in place. According to her, this could mean you undo all your hard walk. So plan and implement your strategy to scale your business wisely.

Her goal is to achieve wider market reach and international expansion of her current business in the short to medium term and branching out into other business opportunities as she continues to diversify income streams and inspire women of all ages.

We have no doubt she will achieve all these and so much more.

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