Today we’d like to introduce you to Chanda Okafor.
Chanda, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I believe the idea of Jobim Clothing has always been with me I just didn’t step out on faith about it until recently. I am a Nigerian American and was born and raised in Kansas. My Nigerian heritage has always been important to me. It was something that made me stand apart from the crowd. I am proud of that and always wanted a way to show it besides wearing traditional clothes to school I wanted anything to show that I am African and proud a t-shirt, keychain, something. I never really found anything that I liked.
Fast forward to 2016, I was about to travel to Nigeria and wanted a passport cover. I began looking online to find one and all I kept seeing were ones that were plain or had the Eiffel Tower on it. I’m was going to Africa not Europe. I decided to make one instead I found some ankara fabric and a YouTube video and 30 min later I had exactly what I was looking for that particular trip changed my life in more ways than one just being in Nigeria and seeing the way people hustle day in and day out truly inspired me while I was there I thought to myself the time is now. I cannot be the only person that feels this way. I want to provide a way so that people can have easy access to fabrics to create whatever their heart desires.
Now in 2019 that idea has grown a bit. I realized that not everyone is crafty or into DIY, or can sew. Today not only do we supply Ankara fabric but we have ready to wear clothing and accessories. In this way we provide “African flair for your everyday wear.” All the things I wanted growing up I have created: skirts, t-shirts, key chains, head wraps, bags, and more. The list keeps growing.
Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth road? Is there such a thing as a smooth road in entrepreneurship? It has not been easy being a one-woman show. I am constantly learning more and more each day though challenging it is definitively fulfilling. Seeing my product ideas come together and sharing them with the world and hearing people say “I have always wanted something like this” which makes my heart smile.
The biggest challenge I have had thus far is shipping fabric from Nigeria to the states. In the beginning, I was traveling there and bringing it back myself. However, I knew overtime I would need to scale up and this would not be feasible nor realistic for long. I did my research (or so I thought) shipped it to the States and it ended up being stuck with US Customs for weeks. It was truly a terrible nightmare. I was sure I had lost that investment. It worked out in the end but man I was sweating.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Jobim Clothing helps you showcase your love for African culture and fashion through vibrant fabrics, unique clothing, and creative accessories. Over time we have created fashionable and functional items with ankara fabrics or African inspiration. Every item has a story and a purpose. Our most popular item is our satin lined headwraps. Each one showcases vibrant colors on the outside while the inside is lined with high-quality satin material that is extremely gentle on your hair. Being a natural myself, hair care is definitely important. This is why all of our hair products are satin lined, therefore being fashionable and functional.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Speaking for Oklahoma City, it is a great place to start a business in general. There is a decent vending community that helps not only with sales but brand awareness as well. The biggest part when you are just starting out is letting people know you exist. My advice is that you have to be bold. Do not be afraid to speak up and tell people you have a business that has opened the door for customers and resources time and again. For a business like mine, well the jury is still out on if OKC is the best. I feel I can have a better answer with more time.
- Website: www.jobimclothing.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/jobimclothing
- Facebook: facebook.com/jobimclothing
- Twitter: twitter.com/jobimclothing
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/jobimclothing/
Bilal Allen Photography
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