PAQI Boutique is a brand located in Montreal, Canada.
I founded this brand with one goal only: create a positive environment that would lift the beauty in all melanated girls. Why? Well, because it was needed. As black women, I feel like we are often overlooked in people’s conversations about social injustice even though we face a unique blend of hardships.
Growing up in Montreal Canada, I constantly had to face the uncomfortable truth about the lack of diversity in my everyday life. I also had to accept the fact that I knew little to nothing about my heritage. Which got me thinking... How could I ever become my authentique self if I was disconnected from myself? I think, for me, that was the catalyst of my own self-love journey.
Years later, I received a gift that would changed everything: a dress from Congo. I absolutely loved that dress! I felt beautiful and confident. The colors looked amazing on me. But most importantly, I felt connected to something greater than myself. In fact, I suddenly opened my mind to the beautiful continent that is Africa. I became interested in learning about my heritage. To be honest, that one piece of clothing changed everything.
It took me almost 30 years, but my roots were finally being watered. I wondered what would have happened if I felt connected to my heritage at a younger age. How would that new found confidence affect me if it would have been present in my teenage years? I knew I wasn't the only one who felt that way. & I spent a lot of time thinking about the change I wanted to see within myself and society. I wanted to fix a problem I knew many people of color were facing. I also believed that our heritage shouldn't be celebrated solely on special occasions but every single day. After brainstorming different ideas and concepts - PAQI boutique was created.
Keeping in mind my experience, I wanted to create something that would nurture self-love and confidence as early as possible. Which is why throughout the whole process, I kept every young child at heart! I wanted a brand that would be beautiful yet still allow children to play and be comfortable. A brand that would resonate three words: beauty, strength and uniqueness.
For me, these words perfectly represent the rich and diverse cultures found in Africa. A continent underrated and misrepresented in Western society. A continent that is beautiful, intricate and unique.
Through my journey, I understood that self love is the root of all love. Together, let's show our children what makes them unique and beautiful. Allow them to open their mind & celebrate the beauty that is Africa.
& remember, by empowering and teaching them about the world today, we give them the tools to become accepting & confident adults tomorrow.
Shadee Paqui, Founder of PAQI boutique