Oghenetejiri Ogodo, is a multi-talented entreprenuer with an impressive skill set that encompasses modeling, medical biochemistry, content creation, and fashion designing. With over 8 years of experience in the fashion sector, Oghenetejiri is the founder of La TEJcreations, a brand dedicated to creating a safe environment while promoting gender equality and economic growth.
Oghenetejiri holds a degree in Medical Biochemistry and an MBA from the prestigious International Finance Corporation (IFC); qualifications that have armed her with the expertise needed to run a successful fashion business. Her brand, La TEJcreations, has positively impacted over 4,000 people worldwide, earning features in Shout Out Atlanta in 2021 and Get Bumpa in 2023.
With a passion for sustainability, Oghenetejiri and her team are on a mission to educate over 20,000 people globally on starting and growing sustainable African fashion businesses using eco-friendly materials within the next 5 years. In this interview, she speaks about founding the company, challenges, mission and creating fashion accessories that celebrates African heritage in style.
As the CEO of La TEJcreations, could you tell us the story behind how the company came to be? What inspired you to start a business that focuses on using African textiles in your products?
My story started from my family. I grew up in a family that values African culture. Waking up to see my mum going for Owambe, tying this Iru & Buba same style, no creativity, this inspired me to innovative and create something different from the regular pieces we see in the market.
Later on, i did my research about the African inspired fashion market and discovered that it is highly competitive. I initially struggled with lack of access to funding and getting quality materials. I decided to revamp bags and shoes, making use of leftover fabric scrabs in tailors shops. I upcycle and recycled these scrabs to produce sustainable collections.
I was also disappionted with the way tailors waste materials, most of them are not aware that these left over fabrics can be used to produce something more beautiful and sustainable.
The turning point came when i learnt about the environmental impact of the fashion industry and i was determined to be a part of the solution and not the problem. The passion for sustainability merged seamlessly with my love for African culture. I decided to infuse these values in my design. In 2018, i took the bold step and i registered my brand, Latej Creation. The name Latej signifies a woman-owned brand, because of my dedication to gender equality due to my past experiences while struggling to work in the coporate space. Creation symbolises our mission to celebrate and preserve culture, while embracing sustainability and innovation.
Turning a profit can be a significant milestone for any business. Can you share how Latej Creation was able to achieve profitability? What strategies or measures did you implement to ensure sustainable financial growth?
Achieving profitability has indeed been a significant milestone in our journey, but it’s not just about financial success but sustaining our mission to celebrate culture, sustainability, as well as innovation. Staying committed to quality and bringing the power of story-telling and digital transformation, staying up to date with market trend and most importantly being financially discipline, this had been our strategies of achieving profitability in our business because profitability to us is about the positive impact we can make in the world of fashion, culture and even the environment, so this approach to profitability has actually been keeping our brand purpose alive till date.
Sustainability and eco-consciousness are increasingly valued by consumers. How does La TEJcreations address these concerns in its manufacturing processes and packaging? Are there any specific initiatives you have taken to promote sustainability within your operations?
Our mission is to create a fashion brand that is not only stylish but also responsible. In our manufacturing processes, our specific initiative is centered on Waste reduction, Education and Transparency, We are passionate about educating our customers and even our community on the importance of sustainability in the fashion sector because it helps them to make control choices. For our packaging , we use eco-friendly packaging from brands that share the same vision on this production.
With the rapid growth of e-commerce, how has La TEJcreations adapted its business model to leverage online platforms? Have you seen a significant increase in online sales, and what marketing strategies have worked best for you in the digital realm?
The rapid growth of E-commerce has indeed brought good to our online sales in a very huge way and we’ve connected with a broad and more diverse customer based that actually appreciate the unique brand or the unique blend of culture and sustainability we have to offer, so yes, our online presence had been key drivers in our success story.
In the ever-evolving fashion industry, trends come and go. How do you ensure La TEJcreations stays relevant and up-to-date with changing customer preferences?
Staying relevant and Up to date with customers preferences is actually very essential, we’ve been able to achieve this through active customer engagement, by actively seeking customers feedback and understanding our customers preferences in a continuous process, so we also adapt our design to align with current trend because this allow us to offer timeless pieces with a contemporary twist, thereby staying relevant in the fashion industry. We also believe this can be a medium of cultural Expression, Engagement and Feedback which should actually serve as a guide on having a good relationship with our customers.
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