Ore Osoba and Adanna Ngwube are the spearheads of the up-and-coming luxury leather brand- Coz Designs.
The fashion powerhouse prides itself in creating unique and striking unisex brands, sculpted to satisfy the fashion desires of every single customer.
The fresh graduates revel in giving their all with every individual product, ensuring each piece is a perfect accessory to every outfit, every bag makes a statement and every design represents a character.
The September Standard spoke with the co-owners, they talk on their journey to the point that they are at today, the struggles of growing an enterprise in the present Nigerian economy and how each are putting their best foot forward in hope of making Coz Designs a force to be reckoned with in the nearest future.
Read full interview below:
Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us about your brand?
Ore Osoba: I’m the creative director of Coz designs, the luxury leather brand that makes bags, made in Nigeria where the leather is sourced from Kano. Everything is hand-made and done right here in Nigeria.
Adanna Ngwube: I’m the business manager of Coz designs.
Is this a new startup or has it been in existence?
Ore Osoba: It’s been 9 months, so relatively new.
A lot of business people are wary of forming partnerships. How do you two find a way of being effective with each other?
Ore Osoba: We’ve known each other for five years.
Adanna Ngwube: It’s more like an understanding because there’s that family bond so we already know what to do to help each other, what we are thinking. It makes it much easier to work with each other.
Ore Osoba: Working together, I’m able to get a woman’s opinion on designs where I can show her and ask what she thinks. She gets my perspective so it’s definitely better as a team.
I understand that both of you, have backgrounds in computer related studies, so could you explain what inspired the move into the fashion industry?
Ore Osoba: We just didn’t want to work for anybody and just decided to do our own thing. In Nigeria, trying to get a job is whole ordeal on it’s own so we just decided to establish our own thing.
Adanna Ngwube: We’ve always loved fashion!
Ore Osoba: We knew we had to do something fashion related and different. She (Adanna) even had a Gucci bag then in school that she would keep like a trophy!
Adanna Ngwube: Because it was original!
Ore Osoba: So I told her that we should do something and she suggested making bags. Then, we started sketching things and that’s just how we started.
So it’s more so a blend of achieving your passion and working towards financial emancipation?
Ore Osoba and Adanna Ngwube: *nod emphatically*
What informs your choice of designs and styles for your products?
Ore Osoba: Before I design, I imagine myself as the person I’m making it for. I want every bag to make a statement and every bag plays a character. I imagine myself as the person because everything is unisex. I want to carry something that would go both ways meaning not too feminine and not too masculine. It’s just in the middle.
So your target audience is mainly what age range or is just for everybody?
Ore Osoba: It’s for everybody…
Adanna Ngwube: It’s just for whatever fits your personality!
Thinking about our present economy in Nigeria, with the exchange rate and all – You said that you get all of your products here in Nigeria – how has it really affected your movements and processes of production? Has it stunted you heavily or do you still produce just as normally as you would?
Ore Osoba: The thing about Nigerians is that they know that the economy is bad but they still wouldn’t understand it when we are forced to increase our prices. It’s honestly hard because nowadays every price is higher and you can’t change your price suddenly. You just have to continue pushing and that’s just how we do.
How would you describe your day-to-day activities?
Adanna Ngwube: It’s so busy!
Do you think that your location is appropriately positioned for your target audience or moving forward, do you still see yourself in a more apt location?
Adanna Ngwube: Well definitely, everybody wants to expand and get bigger and we just started 9 months ago. We definitely plan on expanding but I don’t think the type of location should be paramount, once you have good products and the quality speaks for itself, your customers would go anywhere and go to any length to get it.
What are your immediate plans, short term plans and long term plans?
Ore Osoba: We have a new collection coming up soon and it’s called ‘Summer Fling’, so by the end of this month you should be seeing that. We’re launching a website by next month too. By next year, expanding the brand, we’re selling in 15 countries but we expect to sell more and participate in even more shows.
Have you ever participated in a fashion show or any of the sort?
Ore Osoba: We just recently participated in African Fashion Week 2016.
How would you rate your successful level in terms of being received in the industry so far?
Ore Osoba: It’s been amazing!
Adanna Ngwube: Someone was talking to me the other day and asked, “How did you do it?” This is because they believed we had conquered the fashion market. But it’s been all God! It’s not been easy but God has been faithful.
So you’re definitely saying that it was worth it, going into the fashion market?
Ore Osoba: It has been 100% worth it!
If you had to collaborate with brands, what sort of brands would you be willing to work with to push your own brand out more?
Ore Osoba: Gucci!
Adanna Ngwube: MCM…
Ore Osoba: Then, I would say Orange Culture and Yomi Casual
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out with their various passions?
Ore Osoba: Do you what you love, as long as it’s legal, don’t give up. It would be worth it in the end.
Adanna Ngwube: Be prayerful because with God everything is possible.