Valérie Schlumberger settles at the age of 16 in Senegal with her young husband. Three years and three children later, she creates a clothing workshop in Dakar, and opens a shop devoted to her clothing line on the island of Gorée. There, she meets many couturiers, dyers, embroiderers, weavers, as well as tinsmiths, carpenters, potters, painters, whose know-how amazes her.
Ten years later, Valérie returns to live in Paris. In 1995, she founded the CSAO (Compagnie du Sénégal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) and opened her first boutique in Paris. Its goal: to disseminate in France and Europe the fruit of the work of the best craftsmen and artists of West Africa, while building lasting and equitable links with each one of them. In parallel, Valérie creates the ASAO (Association for Senegal and West Africa), which takes care of the renovation of an old cinema of Dakar, and transforms it into a place of lodging for street children.
For more than twenty years, the CSAO has collaborated with the same craftsmen, the same artists, and the ASAO with the same social workers. These two stable structures allow everyone to flourish which does not prevent the reception of new talents, or, in the framework of ASAO, new goodwill. The CSAO and the ASAO are permanently working interactively between France, Senegal, and more broadly West Africa, because some craftsmen and artists come from Mali, Burkina-Faso, Ghana, Mauritania ...
Since 2012 Ondine Saglio, one of Valérie's daughters, has joined the adventure. In agreement with the craftsmen, Ondine develops some products, cushions, bags, to better adapt them to the modern taste.