MOSAIC On-Line Store
Cyberspace elegance
    Being a buyer is an excellent training ground. It really does cultivate that entrepreneur spirit. You’re essentially running your own business. I’ve been fortunate
to work in a lot of different categories. My first position was in footwear. I bought accessories. I bought kids. So I really have a wide experience level in terms of
managing different product categories and building relationships with key vendors. And I learned who is dependable and who isn’t and who the key people to
partner with are. And I really have experience looking at trends. Retail has definitely been an excellent training ground to get more of that global feel in terms of
execution from a factory to a store.”
    Amegashie called her business MOSAIC because she felt it reflected the changing times in world commerce. “I think about mosaic art being collective
artistry layered with meaning,” Amegashie said. “Essentially, whether it’s different tiles or different colors, It’s all one piece. I look upon it as a metaphor for the
world right now. It’s a global economy. Everything that is happening across all aspects of our lives really highlights that.”
    Amegashie travels the world to bring unique, handcrafted items to the cyberspace marketplace. “It’s all about pulling together signature items from key
destinations,” Amegashie said. “I scout all the product myself from a lifestyle standpoint in terms of what is happening in the world and what are some of the key
destinations and what are great brands or emerging designers coming from these locations and then partnering up with some vendors to get it to my website and
then get it to my customers. That’s what I am focused on now. It’s just been phenomenal to really live out my passion.”
    Socially-conscious shoppers can rest assured that Amegashie is committed to fair trade and purchasing items that have been handcrafted and the vendor has
been fairly compensated. “If you look at my core values for MOSAIC, I am definitely meticulous about getting to know vendors, what they stand for and what their
values are, before I even pursue a partnership with them,” Amegashie emphasized. “I also have some fair trade vendors in my assortment. I definitely look at
vendors who are complimentary to the brand I am trying to build. Fair trade is very important to me. I have three fair trade vendors in the mix and I’m
continuously looking for more. Anything that empowers women and children and people who are more disadvantaged, I’m definitely for that.”
    At this point in her business’s development, Amegashie is focused on meeting the needs of female shoppers. “Men look and women buy,” Amegashie said
with a laugh. “Women definitely drive the product. Eventually, the next product lines I am looking at is for kids. If the mother is stylish, she wants her children to
look stylish. Eventually, I will do some men’s, but based on the trends of the industry — actually young men’s is doing very well — people are looking for very
special clothing for children. During my travels, that will be the next category that I will look at.”
    MOSAIC is trying to establish itself in a mid-level price range. Trying to sell on the low price range would be suicidal trying to go up against the purchasing
power and resources of companies such as Wal-Mart and Target. She just wouldn’t be able to compete. Yet she wants to be affordable for the woman who is
looking for that something extra that will help her elegantly stand out in the crowd. “She is more of an affluent customer, more professional, definitely very
fashion conscious and about signature style,” Amegashie said. “She enjoys the convenience of actually ordering product and receiving it at her door. I try to
make it as easy and simple for my customers as possible throughout the process.”
    While most businesses establish brick and mortar stores first before establishing their e-commerce trade, Amegashie is establishing her e-commerce before
she moves in the direction of establishing stores. One reason she is doing this is that it takes far less capital to establish an e-commerce business. She needs
warehouse space to store and ship her inventory from and the graphic and webhosting services of independent contractors to make her website appealing and
allow her customers to get a feel for her products.
    The second reason is that she has placed herself in the growth area of the retail fashion and accessory industry. “If you look at major retailers right now and
other trends that have been happening, all the growth right now is based off of the web. Most brick and mortar stores are probably experiencing a low, single-digit
increase from last year, 1-3 percent. The web is generating 15-30+ percent growth, on average. That’s been continuous over the past ten years. It’s over a $200
billion business right now. Every major retailer is investing millions of dollars in building up their infrastructure, really connecting with their customer on a more
intimate level.”
    Eventually, Amegashie plans to open up some brick and mortar stores. “There is definitely an emotional connection with shopping,” Amegashie emphasized.
“It is definitely a social event. That’s why brick and mortar will always do the bulk of your volume as a retailer. People want to touch and feel.”
What Amegashie feels she has to offer her customers is her global experience and a discerning eye. “MOSAIC is all about my love of travel and other cultures,”
Amegashie said. “I was born and raised in Liberia and moved to the U.S. And through my work, I have travelled to Asia and other places. I have seen things you
wouldn’t see in a Macy’s or a Nordstrom’s. I’m trying to bring that globalized style to my customers. I just really wanted one platform to give voice to emerging
artists, some great talent that you typically wouldn’t find in your neighborhood. This is more of a lifestyle brand across-the-board, whether it’s a beautiful piece to
accent your wardrobe or accent your home or for gift giving.”
    Chioma Amegashie invites you to visit MOSAIC at
www.shopmosasiconline.com. For more information, e-mail Amegashie at chioma@shopmosaiconline.
com.
By Jonathan Gramling

    Imagine yourself roaming through a crowded marketplace in Tanzania where hundreds of booths with
people selling all kinds of wares are shouting out to you and then you come upon a jewelry stand where
you find the perfect bracelet you have been looking for. Or imagine you are walking the streets of a villa
in Spain and peer through the window of store and discover that perfect pair of sandals that give you that
elegant summertime flair.
    For most of us, that is a shopping spree we can ill afford to go on. However, due to the global
economy and e-commerce, you can now pick up some of those exquisite accessories and items through
MOSAIC, an on-line department store founded by Chioma Amegashie last January. She now brings the
world to your doorstep, um, I mean your desktop computer.
    For the past 12 years, Amegashie has been a player in the global marketplace. She has traveled the
world purchasing for companies such as Marshall Fields, Esprit de Corp and Mervyn’s, a department store
chain headquartered on the west coast. “I had always been interested in entrepreneurship and starting
my own business,” Amegashie said as we sat among product samples from her e-commerce business. “It
just seemed to be the right time to establish my own business.
Chioma Amegashie, founder and CEO of MOSAIC,
exhibits a Braided High-Heeled Metallic Sandal,
one of many products available at MOSAIC On-Line
Shopping