Bélya | Baltimore, MD

July 20, 2014

Bélya is a wonderful fashion company, based in Senegal, that designs and makes original clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, men, and children; combining traditional African style with contemporary Western fashion. Aissatou Sene, creator and designer of Belya, works with local craftsman to create beautiful and fashionable items that are bold, fun, and creative! Everything they make is made by hand and 100% from Africa. In 2013 Bélya established a base right here in Baltimore, selling their items through Etsy and other avenues, broadening their market.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with and photograph for such a wonderful company! I make it no secret that I love my job, that I feel blessed every day to be able to create, to tell stories, and to document memories. It’s my dream job, and I am so incredibly grateful to be in a career that brings me so much joy and creative fulfillment. For me, collaborating with other artistic small businesses is what I would imagine a marathon would be to a runner, or a performance to a musician, it’s the challenge of doing something that you love and working hard to see your (and in this case, your client’s) goals come to fruition…. exhilarating! Photographing for Bélya was an exciting and wonderful opportunity to share ideas, fan creativity, and collaborate with other individuals who are passionate about their business and the art they are creating!

Mary’s personality makes working with her easy and joyful. She works with a permanent “whistle-while-you-work” attitude, always bubbly, sharing, and participating. Behind the smile is a consummate professional with a good eye and even better artistic vision. It was her vision and ability to both share and create, while encompassing everything Bélya wanted to present, that made the shoot such a positive experience. Bélya and Mary Brunst Photography were able to relate their concepts, combine them and put them into focus. Mary understood Belya culture’s Four C’s: Chic, Creative, Class, and Contagious Fun and applied it to everything she touched. It was a marvelous and lasting effect. We are extremely happy with Mary’s work, commitment and friendship. We could not have imagined a better result or person to work with. – Aissaou SENE and The Bélya Team

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