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The Bombchel Factory

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MORGANA WINGARD

Archel Bernard is owner of The Bombchel Factory and Mango Rags boutique in Monrovia, Liberia. She moved to the West African country after graduating from Georgia Tech in Atlanta. She now specializes in dreaming up contemporary African clothing, training disadvantaged women to sew her designs, and helping the women to become self-sufficient.

Archel’s mission in life took a significant turn amid the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia. She saw the devastation in the country she loved; a country still struggling to overcome civil war. Archel decided to open a factory to help the people of her ancestral homeland to rebuild. She named it The Bombchel Factory and herself, the Head Bombchel in Charge. 

The Bombshell Factory makes contemporary outfits using authentic, bold African prints that are purchased locally in West Africa. Their little sewing factory, located in the heart of Monrovia, Liberia, has a big mission: to teach an all-woman staff of Ebola survivors, rape victims and the deaf. Their commitment is to improve their lives by helping them to become self-sufficient through skill-training and education. Their ladies are earning salaries for the first time in their lives. They see the pride and confidence as they master their new trade and nurture their growth. They believe in a hand UP, not a handout. Their company is for-profit and believes that investing in people is the best way to a superior production. 

Designer: Archel Bernard
Stylist: Zoe Cassell
Photographer: Morgana Wingard
Location: Monrovia, Liberia