The Ankara Maestro!

I want you all to meet a young, enterprising and innovative lady. I bumped into her by sheer happenstance and I haven’t regretted the acquintance ever since. Asides her sense of humour, what I find particularly amazing is the array of ankara designs for shoes, book covers, yes, BOOK COVERS, jewelry, bags and other accessories put up for display. All these designs are hers!

Let’s just meet her.

Hello dear, i can call you ‘dear’, right?

Hello! Sure you can.

Ok, good. I saw all these fascinating concepts you created and I was just blown away. I’m sure a lot of people have equally been awestruck by them. Let my questions start.

Who’s behind ‘Strictly Naija’?

Hmmmmm, well the brains behind Strictly Naija is yours truly. Milen Luiza Oyinlola.

How did you come up with the name ‘Strictly Naija’?

I wanted a unique name… Not ones like Auntie B’s accessories or accessories by Glad G…. A name that will stand out!

lol… It sure is standing out. Tell us just abit about you

My name is Milen Luiza Oyinlola. A Bragerian (Brazilian/Nigerian breed lol). Grew up in Nigerian and am Proud to be a nigerian. Am a special breed and rear one at that.

When you say “rare breed”, what exactly do you mean?

A simple/classy lady

How did you begin?

First of all, I thank GOD for giving the brains and three major role models, my lovely grandma, Mrs Maria Adelaja, my god-father, Jimi ‘Delaja and Uncle, Mr Frank Oshodi. Growing up with these great minds brought out the craftiness in me. I decided to start ‘strictly naija’ officially in March 2012 and from ‘strictly naija’ we plan to grow into Strictly African (coming soon)…. We want the world to see what Africa can do and take Africa to another level.

Boredom contributed to it… I just finshed university, so while waiting to serve my fatherland i needed something to keep me busy, and i did a couple of designs for friends and my bestfriend advised me to start a business and that’s how the company started…

Wow, sort of like how I started. And what’s the response like?

hmmmmmm, the first 2 months, I felt down and depressed because I didn’t make sales… I felt maybe I was doing something wrong. I went to the ends of the earth and back but with the help of my parents, I was happy when things started moving and today I thank GOD for blessing my hustles and my hand work!

So your parents totally support your vision, they aren’t dissapointed you didn’t become a doctor or lawyer?

They support my vision

That’s good to know. We need more parents of that kind. Tell us, Who are your clients?

Am reaching out to all age groups… from baby to adults… ALL AGE GROUP. I don’t want anybody to be left out!
Strictly Naija.

Where do u see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time we see ‘Strictly Africa’ as a major exporter of african products and happily married to the man of my dreams and also have a school that will train all kinds of crafts and skills to everyone and also the less privilege.

Lastly, what do you want to say to people out there? U know u have some who see u as a role model right?

All i have to say to people out there especially the youth is to try and develop a skill (that you enjoy doing the most) and make the best out it… I enjoy craft making so i love doing things with my hands and making my own designs.. And also just be yourself and be the best you can be.

Good one. We have to let you go now. Thank you for your time.

You’re most welcome. And I’m thankful too!

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