On Saturday and Sunday, July 20th- 21st, we hosted a summer pop up in Brooklyn. It was our first pop up in the city that started EVERYTHING since my sudden move to Austin two years ago. Over these two years, I got pregnant, gave birth, and fought for my health trying to stay afloat. I also managed to keep Fanm Djanm running in between many doctors’ visits and therapy appointments for my dear Zuli with a very small but mighty team. At that time, they were four of us, and now there are only three (but we’re changing that soon!). As I got on the journey to self-care and getting my health back, I decided that this summer couldn’t end without seeing the faces of the many women who had been supporting us over the last five+ years. I missed the in-person interactions and the special moments we used to create with our pop ups all over New York City. My heart longed for the magic that naturally unfolded in whatever room we stood in, chatting, wrapping, hugging, and sharing our dreams.

The pop up was everything I could have asked for and more. When I tell you that you ladies SHOWED UP and SHOWED OUT (and brought your children and partners). You welcomed me back with so much love, so much compassion, and SO MUCH COLOR. You reminded me again and again that Fanm Djanm was never about me starting a brand. It is about us. It is US. STRONG WOMEN who support each other through sisterhood, through our individualities, through our freedom and boldness. You inspire me so much. And yes, I’m tearing up writing this. Fanm Djanm is more than a brand to me, more than a passion project. Fanm Djanm is a sisterhood.

To keep things completely frank, planning everything for this particular pop up brought out a lot of insecurities and anxiety. I was extremely nervous. And because we hadn’t hosted an event in so long, I wasn’t sure what the turnout would be. Hosting a pop up requires so many steps. Aside from producing the inventory (in-house) while making sure everything operates seamlessly online, we have to find a good space, package everything accordingly, hire a moving company, set up the space, and create a welcoming atmosphere for a space that is only going to be used for just a few days. That’s a lot for a small company. I wasn’t sure if my body or mind would be up for the tasks.

Jessica who runs everything in our Brooklyn studio was the backbone to making sure everything turned as planned. She packaged every headwrap in the space, visited many spaces before we selected the one that made the most sense, and designed the bare space into OUR space. She also served wine and played cashier as I wrapped many heads, laughed a little too loud, and engaged with many of vibrant, energetic women. Renee who assists me when I’m in New York ran around to get ice, flowers, double sided tape, and all kinds of minor things that made the experience even more special. She also helped many of us take cellphone photos and behind the scenes videos. Jana, my photographer, also helped set up and price items right before the doors opened. I’m sharing all of this to say that, this event would not have happened the way it did without these strong, passionate women behind me. I am not alone in this journey, and I am grateful for the dedicated women who stand with me behind and in front of the scenes.

Thank you for joining and creating memories with us. Until next time, friends. -Auntie Pao