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Exploring Life & Business with Osato Oshodin of Made For Queens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Osato Oshodin.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a Nigerian-born Civil Service Professional turned Entrepreneur. Born in Los Angeles, CA and schooled in both Nigeria and the states, I have always wanted to further understand my culture and contribute to the country that made me. I was repeatedly educated about Nigeria and the Benin Kingdom by my mother Roseline Aluyi. She made sure to expose me to the beautiful fashion, artifacts, food, and education coming from Nigeria. This inspired my story and the evolution of Made for Queens LLC. My story started from wanting to own a business where I had complete control of my creations, options of making revenue, and further contributing to my country of Nigeria.

Growing up, I have always had a passion for the evolution of African styles and trends coming out of West Africa. My goal was to build a business that displayed African fashion as an accessory to one’s everyday outfit, whether casually or professionally. My love for the versatility of Ankara material inspired me to showcase the vibrant material through pieces worn on the everyday woman. The idea to spread this knowledge originated during my many trips to Nigeria. There, I saw how people wore Ankara print with such confidence and pride. I also appreciated how resourceful and adaptable the fabric was, especially exposed to heat. My overall goal was to provide a service to all women the best way I could. I also wanted to offer a space where women can feel beautiful and empowered wearing their Ankara pieces. Our business has also contributed to job opportunities in Nigeria. This platform has helped manufacturers provide for their families and receive adequate training in sewing and bag making.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like every business, we have faced challenges. When I first stated Made for Queens, we did not know who our target market was. We were constrained from researching the market because of closures due to the ongoing pandemic. We tried to understand our customer base and build an effective sales funnel which was difficult. The pandemic changed consumer behavior and how customers prioritize what they purchased. We had to jumpstart our online marketing to encourage engagement and kickstart the brand.

Working a full-time government job and running a business was also a struggle. I was working 24hrs a day and investing my funds to get the business up and running. We were only a team of three including our manufacturer in Nigeria. As a new business with no employees, I took up responsibilities such as the content creator, accountant/bookkeeper, logistics manager, and various other roles. It was worth the work because it made me much more invested to see this brand thrive.

As Made for Queens continues to grow there will be more obstacles along the way. With the support from my family, friends, and loving customers we will get through these challenges. This is only the beginning,

We’ve been impressed with Made For Queens LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The name “Made for Queens” is derived from the origin of our products, Africa. Africa houses such beautiful fabrics that are used all around the world. Fabrics such as Ankara, Kente, Adire, and Batik which contains such vibrancy and versatility encouraged the start of Made for Queens LLC. As an African woman, I have always felt confident, sexy and empowered wearing African prints. My goal is to share my experience with women of ALL backgrounds who aspire to add a hint of African print accessories to their daily outfits. Our brand is made for the woman who wants to flaunt African prints with poise and femininity.

As the founder, I am constantly sourcing fabrics and making sure that we are keeping up with trends from West, South, and Eastern Africa. This ensures that our customers are wearing accessories that are trending in real-time with the community in Africa.

What sets us apart from others is that all of our African print accessories are handmade and sourced from Lagos, Nigeria (located in West Africa) by a group of women who have a great eye for quality materials and vibrant colors. We have a close relationship with our manufacturers who contribute to sourcing the best fabrics for our accessories. We offer various products to our new and current customers such as Ankara print handbags/backpacks, hair bonnets that are satin lined to provide optimum protection for your curls, headbands, hand fans, head wraps and jewelry.

We are proud that our brand has grown and now connects with the community by participating in up and coming predominantly Black vending events that brings awareness to black-owned businesses. Our participation has generated a positive impact because our customers attend these events which then generates income for the curators. Additionally, we make sure to collaborate and donate products to these events so that they are used for raffles and giveaways for attendees. We have also collaborated with non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity in their Power Women Power Tools event. This event helped to raise money to construct new or renovate existing homes. We donated 10% of our sales to assist with meeting their quarterly goal. Our business was featured on their website. In closing we support our manufacturers in Lagos by helping to pay for fabric, electricity, sewing machines so that they are comfortable in creating our beautiful products without hinderance. The positive impact is that they are able to receive work from other clients who may need their services so that they are able to generate extra income to help take care of their families.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
With the exponential growth of Afrobeats and Amapiano music, global artists like Wizkid and Burna Boy have connected the world to the African culture that was not possible before. The growth has transferred to social media which is now showcasing our music, dance, and fashion through companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This visual of Africa made possible by social media will keep growing in the next 5-10 years because of the constant content coming out of Africa. Amapiano, the new sound coming out of South Africa has also been on the rise in the last couple of years adding to more interest around the world. These connections to metro areas like Lagos and Johannesburg will only trend upwards as more people travel to these cities for concerts, fashion shows, vacations, etc.

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Image Credits:

Photography by: @kizi_photography77 (Instagram) Models: Aisha Adebayo @itsaishaadebayo (Instagram), Abieyuwa @abie.o (Instagram)

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