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Meet Ngozika Okeke

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ngozika Okeke.

Ngozika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a fashion designer/entrepreneur that decided to delve full time into the creative industry after graduate school. I started designing in 2007, debuted in 2009 and started selling in boutiques in 2010.

I eventually realized that corporate America was not for me and moved to Los Angeles after working in a marketing firm. When I moved to LA, it was a total leap of faith, as I had not ever visited LA before, nor did I have a job or housing lined up. One thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to be a creative full time and design clothing while developing other ideas that I had. Fast forward to 2013, now I’m living in LA designing clothing for my brand and boutiques and in 2016 I decided to design the 3XLCap, which is basically a shower cap that’s large enough for braids, dreadlocks, afros and rollers,

Now in 2019, I have the clothing line and the shower caps both selling. Between the two companies, it keeps me pretty busy but it’s a type of busy that I’ve worked very hard to be.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. As an independent designer that actually designs, cuts and sews, you find that funding is the first issue that you run into. If you don’t have overhead funding to do get your material, marketing, paperwork, etc done, then you’d have to work to find those sources and then scale your business independently. It can be done, but it takes a ton of consistent work to do that.

Other challenges I’ve had along the way in the social media age is posting consistently. We all love social media but you have to know how to stay on top of it and manage it correctly, and my challenge was and still in (in some ways) keeping up with content and making it engaging.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I primarily design women’s clothing. I specialize in RTW (ready-to-wear) clothing, but as of late I’ve been creating a lot more formal wear.

My other product is the @3XLCap, which is actually doing really well considering I launched it this year. It is a shower cap that is actually large enough to fit braids,afros,rollers and dreadlocks. Having had that issue for years,I wanted to solve the problem. So after 3 years of developing the idea,its finally on the market!!

I’m particularly proud of this product because I developed it in 2016 and worked on improving it and finally got it right so now I offer it on my website as well.

I’m most proud of my company because I’ve had my creative business for almost a decade now and I’m still expanding and exploring new ideas. I think independent business owners have to keep at it. Launching a business is not easy, and it’s even more challenging to maintain that business and eventually scale it.

I think what sets my brand apart is that I have a socially-conscious piece to my business. I give a portion of all proceeds to organizations that work with survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. I have always felt like business owners should do more to give back to the communities around them, so I knew as a kid that whatever company(ies) I started, Id in some way contribute to causes dear to me.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to establish a design house and have my clothing sold in boutiques around the world as well as online. I’d like to have my design house do custom pieces for celeb clientele and host an experience that caters to clients that want a full design experience including styling services.

I’m currently planning a trunk show for my formal wear collection and also planning to have my shower caps offered in bix bog retailers across the country. That’s coming soon than later, so I’m really excited to see my new product out there!

The challenges with orchestrating more than one large scale project at once are just the day-to-day work and making sure that all the little details are handled so that you can continue to build on a solid foundation. Other challenges are having the right team around you. What I’ve learned over the course of the last decade or so is that you absolutely cannot build something amazing, alone. You have to have a team of people that complement your strengths and pick up the slack in the areas that are a challenge for you. You need to have different perspectives on your ideas that you put forth, have sounding boards to hash out plans and people to help you execute goals that seem monumental when trying to do them alone.

With that, a big change that I’ve noticed in my businesses is that delegation helps a ton! When you have a team of people whom you trust to help you get things done right and as just as passionate about the mission as you, it frees you up to create more and follow through with the things that you are best at.

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Image Credit:

Yoshawn Smith

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