Today we’d like to introduce you to Ngozika Okeke.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My fashion story begins at age 11 when I began print modeling. Some 7 or 8 years later in 2007, I was halfway through undergrad for a degree in business when I decided to take fashion design seriously and make a business of it. I started teaching myself to sew, and with the help of a mentor, I launched my clothing brand in November of 2009.
The following year I began to have the line placed in various boutiques around the country and doing trade shows… and somewhere along the way I decided to move to LA to take fashion design fulltime after earning my MBA… and the rest is history.
Great, 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 has definitely NOT been a smooth road. In starting any business (particularly in the arts), I think the challenge is finding a way to monetize your craft while remaining true to your art. I was creating amazing pieces that I was so proud of, but ultimately I had a very small scope on how to make real money and make the business scaleable.
Another challenge I faced was also being very conscious of the fact that I had no formal training in design, rather an education in business, so I’d compare myself to fellow creatives that had design backgrounds in education and were better at construction, etc. and I got over that rather quickly lol.
Today, the challenges are different but they definitely still do exist-and ultimately, that’s okay. With every challenge comes to a solution so I’m still navigating my way around this very competitive fashion industry but with the team that I’ve built around my business, I know we’ll figure things out.
Ngozika Okeke Clothing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Ngozika Okeke Clothing is a socially- responsible brand based in Los Angeles, CA that is impacting lives through fashion. With a percentage of every item sold going to a non-profit organization that helps survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse; we are helping to change lives for the better.
The brand now provides RTW clothing for men and women as well as accessories. We’ve even done a capsule collection for pets that did really well in the retail space so we may have more on that coming soon. 😉
What I am most proud of regarding my company is the same thing that sets it apart from other fashion brands: the fact that we give back. Having both first and second-hand experience with assault, I find great pleasure in knowing the funds are going toward services that aid in the recovery of victims health both physically and mentally.
I’ve always known that I wanted to make it ‘cool’ to fuse fashion and philanthropy and after over a decade of being in this business, I feel like socially-responsible causes are coming to light and people are getting involved, and that, I couldn’t be more happy about.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment in my career thus far has been representing my brand, displaying my design skill and paying homage to my Nigerian culture by competing on Season 3 of FashionOnes “Design Genius.” In this international competition, I was up against amazingly talented designers that challenged me in ways that I had not been before, and I loved every minute of it!
Since the show only aired internationally, emails from various countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe poured into my inbox showing support, and I was in complete shock.
Most notably, however, were the WhatsApp messages from my family. I hadn’t even seen the episodes yet when they started sending video texts of themselves, along with neighbors from surrounding cities and villages crowded around the TV rooting for me as they watched. I was truly overwhelmed, humbled and grateful. Knowing that I made them proud, made me proud.
- Website: www.NgozikaOkeke.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @NgozikaOkeke / @FashionDivaNgo
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/NgozikaOkekeClothing
- Other: http://fashionone.com/designgenius/season3
Yoshawn Smith – @sartorial.losangeles, Courtney Cherron – @elizajanephoto, Kenny – @kgrne, Miki & Sonja – @mikiandsonja