Kwari market is arguably the largest textile market in the whole of Africa. It is located at Fagge area of Kano state, very close to IBB and Kofar Wambai Markets that are known for second-hand clothes. It is also called Kantin kwari.
A first time visitor might likely confuse IBB with Kwari market as the only thing that separates the two is a narrow road. Be sure to ask for guidance or much preferably take someone that knows the market along with you.
Kwari market is known for its large collections of fabric materials imported from Arabian countries, Europe, China, Ghana, and so on. It will be almost impossible not to find the material you’re looking for.
Apart from fabrics, there are streets specifically for accessories such as caps (The local Hausa type), veils, jewellery including gold and silver, etc.
The market is quite narrow and vertical. You have to ditch your vehicle when visiting as you’ll be hard pressed to find a parking space. The streets are narrow too and you will often bump into people while trying to navigate the market.
There are so many staircases and shops that you can only access through these stairs, but knowing which stairs leads to which shop can often be a challenge, which is why I strongly advise you take a guide with you.
As a first timer, you might be tempted to look around the edge of the market where many fabrics are openly on display, resist doing that as many of the fabrics there are either counterfeit or of a very low quality, thus their somewhat cheaper prices.
Getting yourself deep into the market can be a challenge as well. You’ll be accosted by so many people wanting to drag you to one shop or the other. Be aware that such people will earn a commission for whatever you buy when you follow them.
This is why most of them are only after their own self-interest, and they’re quite adept at persuasion. The person they’ll take you to wouldn’t necessary have the type of material you’re looking for, but you might end up falling prey to their antics and buying something you don’t need.
So the easiest thing to do is to turn deaf and dumb to this people while trying to navigate the market or until you find a shop with the types of materials you’re looking for.
The Kwari marketers especially the big ones that own shops do not add a high margin to the actual price of the fabric, in fact many will tell you the actual price and will resist any attempt you make at bargaining. This is because they sale at wholesale prices. If you must bargain, think of taking off not more than 5% of the product price, even then, you’re really lucky if you’re granted the discount.
The prices are often uniform across all dealers, and even when there’s a difference, it is usually negligible.
So basically it is not rocket science to go shopping in Kwari market. As far as you ditch your vehicle, take a guide with you, avoid buying at the market peripherals, avoid the street referrers and bargain high, you have no problem. I can assure you; you’ll come out of the market happy with your purchase.