Photo by Matelli Grave

Two Of A Kind

“Love seeing African ladies killing it in the world of entrepreneurship! Can’t wait to see more from you.”

“I can’t even begin to say how inspired I am by you two! Your dedication and hardwork as black women is magical.”

“You two are amazing, post more and be seen! Everyone needs to see this level of style, sophistication, and elegance!”

“You guys are really showing the world that women can climb the ranks of success too. Keep up the good work!”

These are some of the hundreds of comments that flood the Yusuf’s Instagram page daily. Many of them are from young girls who have become inspired by Nasteha and Nuni Yusuf’s hard work and dedication to their love of fashion. With nearly 30,000 followers on their instagram page alone, the Yusuf’s lifestyle and love for fashion is making an impact not only on the fashion scene of the capital city, but on their followers worldwide.

Through Columbus-based eyes, we can recognize enough familiar scenes in their daily posts to know that they’re locals. But with the way they’ve converted their Instagram presence into a sophisticated globally-conscious fashion and lifestyle brand, it’d be hard to tell that their address isn’t outside the 614.

And technically, born in Somalia and raised in and Canada, their passports have been stamped more than a few times.

Not twins, but certainly a package deal, the sisters answer questions frequently in a collective “we.” The two youngest of eight children now have created a multi-tiered presence in the style and beauty arena, sharing their own collections of jewelry (modeled after their mother, who was a gold dealer), as well as their travels, trend suggestions, and adventures via fun, fast-paced YouTube videos that go beyond just the standard brand-by-numbers fare you see in the modern blogosphere.

They style. They model. They shop. They sell.

But they haven’t always led a charmed existence. The Yusuf family escaped Somalia during the civil war when the sisters were four and seven. Their father, in danger because of his position in the government, fled alone to Canada, thinking the conflict would blow over and he could soon return to his family. But as war broke out, the remaining family members fled to a refugee camp in Kenya, where they stayed for two years. Their father was finally able
to bring them to Toronto, where the family was reunited.

“To say we feel grateful is an under-statement. We went through a lot during our escape and we’re just happy to be alive to talk about it.”

They settled in Columbus, where their husbands are from, and are taking the city by colorful storm. Their fashion and lifestyle blog developed as a way to chronicle their creativity and growth as women while sharing their global perspective on personal style, beauty and travels. YCollections is an ecommerce site that offers everyday jewelry for the bold woman. Their vivid fashion choices resound with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. They see fashion as a means of self-expression, with Nasteha describing her style as “bold, edgy, and borderline boyish.” Nuni says hers is “fun, feminine, and classic.” They speak to a large audience and range of fashionistas betwixt the two.

With all their world traveling, the two have opened their hearts to the heart of it all.

“Out of every other city we’ve visited and lived in the past, Columbus not only provides the best cost of living but it also has the most opportunities. We feel like since this city is growing, we have the potential to grow personally as well as professionally.”

And grow, they do. The Yusuf’s brand continues to spread out across social media, their online store continues to grow, and now with their brick-and-mortar location on the south side, they are making their talents available as content producers and consultants for other
local businesses.

Through the turmoil they have withstood in their lives, the Yusuf sisters have harnessed their momentum, and together, built a brand that seems poised to become an empire. Never fearing evolution, the sisters look forward to a future bright as the patterns they wear.

“The biggest thing is change. We love that fashion changes from season to season. We love that with each era comes a new look. We always saw this as a new opportunity to reinvent yourself. Change is good. Especially when it comes to fashion.”

Fashion Secrets

Nuni:

A good tailor can do wonders for you.

Nasteha:

Don’t be restricted to buying a specific size. You can make any size work for you with a little bit of imagination.

Bolder is Better

Nuni:

Developing your own style. It’s great to draw inspiration from others. But it’s super important to make it your own by focusing on elements like what works for your body type.

Nasteha:

The easiest way to implement a little bit of boldness is to mix prints and patterns. We find that by doing this you instantly exude confidence and stand out at all times.

Fashion Icons

Nuni:

I appreciate timeless and classic pieces. I like to collect pieces that I can picture myself wearing at any age. When I am 90 years old, I want to look back at my style evolution, and I want to still be excited about the outfits from my past. I admire Coco Chanel because her style is truly timeless. Her clothes are still modern today.

Nasteha:

I don’t really have a fashion icon but I do have a type of woman I aspire to be. It’s usually an older woman. A confident, colorful woman such as Iris Apfel, Daphne Selfe, and Giovanna Battaglia.

Life Motto

Nuni:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Nasteha:

“I can, and I will.”

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