With her colorful idea for a startup, Ana Coulibaly won the second-place prize at Ithaca’s first-ever Startup Idea Demo Day. Her business idea—Aniko—is a clothing line featuring fashions from Ana’s home country of Mali in West Africa. She describes the designs as “more colorful” and “more diverse” than stateside styles. 

“You can have 20 different colors in one type of wax print fabric,” Ana says, referring to the West African clothing fabric. “I just love that.” 

Ana moved to the United States from West Africa at age 14 and says she loves that she can combine her background with her love for fashion, an industry that runs in her family. Ana’s aunt in Mali owns two clothing stores—Ana’s first-ever job was in one of them—and her mom sources fabrics and constructs clothing based on Ana’s designs, shipping them to her stateside for sale. 

“I’ve been into fashion and designing things for as long as I can remember, and I love a mix of different cultures. That’s why I started this brand.” 

Ana is using the $1,000 prize that came with her second-place finish to help start the business; funding about 70 new clothing designs and marketing for the venture.