Thursday, July 14, 2016

Designing and sewing are two different things - CocoZini


Picture submitted by Bike Ojomo shwing her design

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Ajibike Ojomo but I’m popularly known as BiKé. I’m an accountant at the University of Minnesota which is my daytime job. I’m also a stylist, a designer and an entrepreneur at night. Just like many of us, my interest in design came earlier in life watching my mom sewing and seeing her customers wear her clothes. I’ve always wanted to sew for myself and then I started self-training and learning different techniques in putting things together. I also drew for the children’s corner of the Nigerian Tribune in 1984-1986. So my love for art is very diverse in many ways.

What informed the idea of CocoZini?

CocoZini actually started with StyleByBiKé,a website that I use in selling my designed clothes. The
Picture submitted by Bike Ojomo shwing her design
“Zini” in CocoZini means someone who ‘Aspires, Inspires, Believes, Strives and never give up on challenges. With CocoZini, I wanted to show other women that we can achieve what we put our minds in if we keep striving and never give up on our challenges. Sewing became a huge challenge to me when I lost my mom at the age of 12 in 1986. She was my inspiration. With CocoZini I was able to put that challenge behind me.

How long have you been designing clothes?

I will say I’ve been designing clothes since I was seven years old, but never made it a reality until five years ago when I decided to really focus on it.

Who are your customers?

My customers are every age from a little toddler to the grannies. However, I have been sewing more for the late 20s, 30s and mid-40s.

Do you design wedding dresses for brides or you design for brides and grooms?

I have never sewn any wedding dress or dresses but I have designed it. Designing and sewing are two different things. I have also designed and sewn the traditional attires for the brides. I’m still working on men’s designs, I think I can try a men’s shirt.

What are the challenges you experience as a designer in The U.S?

Picture submitted by Bike Ojomo shwing her design
Hmm, this is a very long topic but I will point out one or two things. The first thing is the labor. Finding tailors and seamstresses to sew for you at a larger scale is a challenge. Marketing is another obstacle because if you are not well known, the probability of you making it in the industry is slim. Acquiring a fan base is another challenge that I have to cope with. The entrepreneurs always say that once you have fans, you have a lot to show because they’ll follow you wherever you go and become your adopted family.

Any word of advice for interested designers or upcoming designers?

For upcoming designers, I will say, go for it. But remember it’s a lot of work so a little effort is not enough. Also you have to have a unique niche which will be an eye candy for people to identify your designs and recognize it’s you. Indirectly, I’m saying, stand out. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. You have to have a lot of time and energy to move around or go to fashion shows, urban gatherings, and always stay current by making sure to update yourself every now and then.

Do you have any last words?

Always believe in yourself and your ability. You’re the only one who can define who you are and what you want in life. If you have a style in your head or a design to talk about, go ahead and put it to action. It’s not about how much the design costs, but how it fits on the body. Never be afraid to learn more and never be afraid to ask. And lastly, always stay true to who you are.

How can customers find you?
Picture submitted by Bike Ojomo shwing her design

For advices, inquires, or business, I can be reached at:
Store website: www.stylebybike.com
Instagram: cocozini
Twitter: bikeojomo

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