Meet the Owner & Designer
Tianna Sherman-Kesselly is the CEO and Proprietress of Afropolitan, a fashion brand and boutique store that designs and showcases contemporary Liberian fashion, which in many respects reflects the country’s historical and cultural connection to the African Diaspora. Located in the heart of downtown Monrovia, Afropolitan is situated on land inherited from former Liberian President, Arthur Barclay, who emigrated to Liberia from Barbados.
Tianna was born in Liberia, but spent most of her formative years in the United States where she learned to embrace the richness of the African Diaspora. Although she spent a significant portion of her early life away from the African continent, Tianna has always proudly celebrated her culture and heritage – in junior high school she remembers dressing up as an African princess for Halloween; in high school she helped establish Black History Month celebrations highlighting the connection between Black Americans and African countries, such as Liberia, and in college she co-founded the African Students Association and spent a semester abroad in Ghana.
Post undergrad, Tianna co-founded The Waterside Collaborative, Inc., a foundation named after the epicenter of domestic trade in Liberia, which worked to empower Liberians through education, commerce and health initiatives. At The Waterside Collaborative, she led and participated in key initiatives, including: College Workshops, World Refugee Day Programs, HIV/AIDS Awareness Programs, a Book Drive for Liberia, and a Petition for Peace in Liberia (2003). Tianna also co-founded IDOA (I Dream of Africa) Entertainment, LLC, which hosted upscale events to celebrate Africa’s diverse cultures. During this time, Tianna started designing fashionable African clothes to wear at various events.
In 2006, the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Administration came to power in Liberia, and Tianna, a Tufts University and George Washington University trained International Development and Public Health Care Expert, began working for the Government of Liberia soon thereafter. Tianna was a part of the TOKTEN Program, which facilitated the recruitment of professionals to serve in key capacities in the government to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in public sector operations. She volunteered with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 2006 and later worked with a range of Government entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Maritime Affairs, and the Ministry of State. In her most recent post, Tianna worked as a World Bank Group (specifically, the International Finance Corporation/IFC) Consultant to the Liberia National Investment Commission.
Through the years, Tianna’s love for Liberian fashion and culture grew stronger, eventually leading her to open Afropolitan in 2010. Tianna utilizes vibrant African prints and traditional embroidery to produce designs inspired by contemporary fashion. In addition to Afropolitan's line of clothing and accessories, the Boutique also provides custom orders and showcases the works of other Liberian designers and artists.
A humanitarian and activist at heart, Tianna helped organize the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership in Liberia, and participated in Urgent Action Fund’s Women Steering Innovative Leadership in Africa Conference in Malawi. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Tianna helped establish a community based initiative called Liberians Against Ebola to help stop the spread of the outbreak; the organization helped raise awareness about the virus and collected, procured and shipped over 10,000 pounds of medical supplies from the United States to Liberia during the peak of the outbreak. Always looking to share the positive aspects of Liberian culture with the world, Afropolitan remained open during the majority of the outbreak. It was important to Tianna that those visiting the country saw that Liberia had positive things to offer, and that her staff maintained a source of income to help support their families during the crisis.
Tianna currently resides in Liberia with her husband and two sons. As a citizen of the Diaspora and the world, she is excited to offer Afropolitan’s products online. It gives her an opportunity to share her culture with the rest of the world.