Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?
I am Didi Borges. Didi is the little name of love that my family has been given to me since childhood. I am French (born and raised in Aix-en-Provence) and of Cape Verdean origins. Senegal is the birthplace of my parents but also of my children because I have been living there for 5 years now.
After a classical curriculum, I graduated with a Master 2 from a Business School. I went to Paris to work. When my first contract ended, I had two job opportunities: one in France and one in Senegal. It was obvious, I had to go to Africa, the land of my parents! Here I am today, wife and mother, working for the United Nations.
However, since very young, I have been full of ideas, creations and I dreamt of doing fashion. My parents, who are very traditional, strictly refused this career. It was unimaginable for them to see me in another skin than that of executive of a large company or a prestigious bank. This dream has remained buried in me, but not for so long!
How was your brand born?
When I arrived in Senegal, I fell in love with wax. These living colors and patterns immediately won me over. My mom explained to me that in her time this fabric was only used to make indoor outfits and not out. Never mind, I loved what I saw!
Also, the possibility to create models of clothes, to have them made by tailors and then to wear them proudly, had immediately motivated me in an overflowing creativity. Especially when I got pregnant with my first child. I did not know yet that the birth of this little baby would have triggered the birth of Sun Bubble.
Indeed, as a fashionista mom, I did not want to walk with my handbag and a diaper bag with hippos and elephants embroidered on it. Impossible as a woman who loves big bags (despite my small size!). Therefore, I created my first leather tote. I wanted it to be big enough to include baby bottles, diapers, baby products, but also my little personal belongings. This same bag was also used during my work week to contain my computer, flat shoes (remember the small size!), a bottle of water, makeup kit and others. That said, I missed an African touch. And in order not to make my bag “ordinary”, I’ve included wax inside. Hence the name “Bulle de Soleil”: leather, noble material and character with the shimmering colors of wax.
Can you tell me about your design?
My first wish was to create a bag for active moms, overwhelmed like me but for moms who still love fashion. I had the incredible opportunity that people really liked it and that some women passed orders for my bag. I diversified my offer and now I also create accessories, always in leather, for women and men. Apart from the famous maxi tote that has recently been declined into a mini version of it, I offer clutch bags to put inside one’s bag or carry by hand, computer sleeves, diaries … Any kind of accessories that one needs in his daily life or for a punctual event but always in a chic spirit thanks to the leather. The simplicity of the products is also a line of conduct of the brand.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Since the first bag has been created out of a personal need, I am inspired by women and moms who like practicality and simplicity of things while remaining trendy. When I have decided to diversify my work, I have been inspired and I am always inspired by my family first and foremost. The mini bag for example is born from the fact that my mom does not like big bags. Like many women, they do not find themselves there and do not like crowding too much inside. Something I totally understand!
In the same way, my husband, dandy in his spare time, is my first male inspiration: the bow tie and the suspenders were made for him and are finally suitable for men looking for originality and colors to their sometimes very conventional attire.
And of course, I’m a fashion lover. I love mostly chic minimalist styles between Tomboy style and chic sportswear.
How do you work?
I work with a leather craftsman who makes all my creations by hand. We are working together to release a new product. I insist on the word “together” because I’m learning a lot from him. I like and wish to be present at all stages of realization by curiosity certainly, but also for the sake of details and finish. I take time away from my professional life and my mother’s life very regularly to be at the workshop. That means, to be there the evenings after bedtime, on Saturday mornings and sometimes on Sundays when I take the whole family. I am very lucky that my husband understands and supports me in this passion.
Which stage do you prefer in the realization?
Without question, sourcing. In other words, the search for materials. I can spend hours and hours in stalls selling leather, to find beautiful colors and textures. But I also like to go in the Dakar markets to find fabrics. To take the time is necessary because it is not so easy to find wax you can adapt to different products. For example: where maxi tote bags can receive large patterns, mini or bow ties can only be made with small patterns. All this is to be taken into account in the realization.
However, I cannot omit the other steps, as important as the first one. Because it does not matter, that one carries bags like me, clothes, objects of different materials, the stage of manufacture is magical. All the more magical when the finished object reflects what you had in mind or drew on paper.
What is your particularity, your singularity?
According to my clients, my singularity is to highlight the leather first. They are always surprised to see so many colors thanks to the wax when I open in front of them a bag or a clutch. This is the “Wow” effect guaranteed!
The second particularity is that very often, for tote bags, I work with my client on their desires and this, whether in Senegal or abroad. That is to say, she has the opportunity to choose the color she wants. We all know that women have a ton of bags in reserve. In this sense, choosing the color of the leather and the patterns of the wax is a undeniable plus.
I particularly like this collaboration because it allows us to get closer, to exchange throughout the process. I like to listen to them, to learn from them, to guide them, sometimes to influence them so that at the end, when they receive their bags, they launch a big “I love MY bag !!”.
That brings me to confide the last particularity: the uniqueness of the bags. Here in Senegal, we work with scrap leather that comes mostly from Italy. This disadvantage is for the brand a strength, because it allows us to create bags with different colors and leather texture but before all unique.
Do you have a favourite creation?
Without hesitation the maxi tote, not so far after the bow ties in leather and wax.
Where to get your creations?
In Dakar, you will find “Bulle de Soleil” at Lulu on the ledge. For a personalized service, in Senegal or abroad do not hesitate to send us a message on our account instagram @mabulledesoleil. It will be a pleasure to share a unique experience together through my creations.