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Hidden Gems: Meet Ugonna Enyinnaya of Ugo Joshua

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ugonna Enyinnaya.

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?
Growing up in Nigeria, I always wanted to be a designer. I started helping out in a neighbour’s tailoring store to satisfy my growing curiosity and appetite for fashion. As early as the age of eight, I began conjuring fashion ideas. Started drawing and creating unique authentic designs and accessories. My creativity and sense of style earned me the title of “the family stylist” growing up. I obtained a degree in law and an MBA in public management but one thing that has consistently tugged at my heartstrings is my lifelong desire and dream to create a fashion brand that women will love and afford. As a stylish person, who also happens to be on a tight budget, I found it difficult to find luxurious and elegant purses that met an affordable price point for me. After some research, I discovered there are not a lot of affordable luxury brands out there that are uniquely and elegantly designed. Hence, the idea to create a brand that will merge luxury and affordability. A brand that represents my strength and resilience.

The Ugo Joshua collection was inspired by the strength and resilience of the eagle. The name “Ugo” means “eagle” which is considered a rare bird in African culture. It epitomizes everything good and opulent. It also symbolizes strength, courage and resilience, which represents every woman on the planet. It is believed in my culture that eagles have the ability to renew and rebirth after a period of brokenness.

Ugo Joshua embodies class, luxury, beauty and elegance in celebration of womanhood and the journey in between. In one sentence, the essence of the brand is to empower women to rise above the pain of their past, unlock the power of their present and embrace the greatness of their future.

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?
It was challenging accessing capital to get the business off the ground. We did not have access to small business loans. I used all my savings and cashed out some of my 401k. Additionally, we had a hard time finding manufacturers to produce our bags in smaller quantities. As a new brand and a small business, it is difficult for us to produce our bags in large quantities so that is the issue we run into with manufacturers and we end up manufacturing at a higher cost due to our smaller order quantity.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Ugo Joshua?
Ugo Joshua presents a rare exotic quality. The styles come with eagle wing flaps which add to their dramatic effect. The bags are both elegant and practical. Tastefully designed with the working class, upper class and middle class women in mind. The purses are functional, fortified with phone holders, loops for cables, stationary and of course your cosmetic brushes and nail filers. Without a doubt, I believe that women everywhere will connect to each bag as a product and to the story behind the brand.

Ugo Joshua brand is a combination of my trials and triumphs. It is more than just a bag or a piece of fashion accessory. It is a story, a journey and a destiny. It is a brand that represents resurrection, renewal, revival, re-invention, re-birth, reinforcement and re-empowerment for every fallen and broken woman. I want every woman who has been through domestic violence, abuse of any kind, hopelessness and mental health issues to know that it is possible to rise from the dust, get back up and power through just like an eagle.

The brand is a culmination of everything I have been through in life up until this point and also where I am going from here on. A part of our brand’s mission is to support The Voice of destiny Foundation, a Non-profit organization I formed that focuses on empowering women and youths in my community to rebuild their lives and maximize their potential.

As a domestic violence and child abuse survivor, I know first hand the devastating impact this can have on the victims. Through the non-profit, I host conferences with a mission to inspire women to overcome the odds that are stacked high against them and get back on their feet and live their most authentic lives. A percentage of sales from Ugo Joshua Collections goes to support this mission.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Being forced to stay at home this past year due to covid 19 has helped me discover more about myself, explore my talents and dreams. Our business was launched in the height of the pandemic. Covid 19 has also shown me how adjustable we are as humans. Having to learn to adjust our lives and routines to fit into the virtual environment that resulted from Covid 19. I have also learned to appreciate the little things. Like going to have coffee or lunch with friends and family and having personal connections with people.

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Image Credits:

JCPenny Portraits

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