I caught up with Lize from her online brand OFIO. Here we talk about what her brand stands for and where she draws her inspiration from. Also, her biggest achievement to date and the obstacles she faced starting her online brand. Be sure to check it out!
How do you pronounce Ofio (this is for my benefit lol)?
Who is Ofio?
It’s an empowerment brand, so the idea behind it is the acronym: Our Future Is Ours. I wanted a brand that would inspire and empower people, not just something about me wanting to be an entrepreneur making money. I use the motto ‘be fearless’ because I have come to realise what stops most of us from doing the things we really want to do is our fear. So I am empowering people to be fearless and to go after what they want.
When did you launch the brand?
I launched the 1st of November last year.
What is the inspiration behind your pieces, and your latest collection?
In terms of inspiration, the brand itself is creating a dynamic and cultural sense of self, so to me cultural goods that ties in with travel. So you can see the aesthetics of the goods and the design, it’s not like your easy fast fashion, it’s something that is drawn and inspired by culture, like the clutch bags they are handmade in India. Then some of the neckpieces are African inspired. And I travelled to Morocco, that’s how the Morocco collection came about. So in terms of what inspires the brand, it would be the culture of the world.
Do you actually design your pieces?
So for now, no; I create. I pull pieces out from different places, research manufactures and designers and get their designs, so for now I’m not actually designing the pieces. But in the future I want to start designing my own pieces.
How did your recent pop up in Camden go?
It was in Camden market, I love Camden; I love the vibe. I thought I’d test the waters and see how my brand would do there. It was fine; I wouldn’t say the target market was for my brand. But in business you learn through trial and error and I learnt a lot from the pop up, interacting with people, seeing their expressions and getting feedback.
Have you faced any obstacles in your journey so far?
Being able to reach a wide range of people, the Internet is vast and there are so many shops popping up everyday. So how to reach my target audience and how to define my target audience, basically marketing. I’ve had to learn everything from scratch.
Best advice given to you so far?
Test everything and reach out to people.
- Do your research; you need to know who your competitors are, what you’re going to be offering and what makes you unique.
- Time is a luxury.
- SEO is important as that brings in the traffic.
- Blogging is important.
- Start your media presence early so you have followers before you launch.
- You need to stay on top of your taxes!
- Just start with whatever you have!
In five years?
I see myself designing my own pieces and having a wider range. I also see the charity I want to have back home in Nigeria that will focus on helping people and building skills fully established and developing lives. And I want the brand to be established, not just on the market but also as a powerful message.
What’s your biggest achievement since starting your brand?
Because I’m only six months in, it’s still a baby in terms of it being a business. But my first sale, it came on the second day after launching and most importantly, it came from someone I didn’t know, and I was like how did you find me. My other achievement is my ‘be fearless’ motto actually coming across in the brand.
Last thing you bought?
Tuna sandwich and a hot chocolate.
Your message to women?
‘Be fearless’ because I think that compasses everything we do. Like having the courage and the confidence to do what needs to be done. So believe in yourself, be brave and have enough faith to take that leap.
Where can we find you?
Next Pop up: Pop up Africa, Spitalfields, Bank Holiday May 29th 2017
Photography by Neomi Fearless