ZAZAII, a new fashion outlet opened for business on Thursday, October 1, 2015, at Balarabe Musa Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos. Isoken Ogiemwonyi, the young entrepreneur from Bini ethnic group (Edo State), shared her vision with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Joshua Shobiye in this chat.
Thank you! ZAZAII is culled from a Bini phrase meaning eloquent, articulate and dedicated. Our mission is still ‘Fashion Infrastructure’. But we chose the name because we are articulating and interpreting African fashion brands and contextualising them for the African consumer. ZAZAII is an elegant reworking of the old and new – a union between L’Espace’s history and our team vision for tomorrow.
When did it dawn on you to go into business and why the choice of fashion?
I first became interested in fashion at around 16. I’ve officially been in the business of fashion for over six years now, in varying capacities spanning retail, advisory and design. Fashion is one of the biggest industries globally, and it has always fascinated me as one of the few industries that creates its own demand and manufacturers desire. I love the process of creating and bringing a brand to market. I think fashion is one of Nigeria’s biggest export opportunities.
What distinguishes your brand from others?
We are dedicated to building and growing African brands, as well as constantly striving to delight and entertain the consumer. We know that consistency is key in building our brand equity and driving discovery of new and existing brands.
How do you stock? Do you make them yourself?
Zazaii retails garments and accessories by both established and emerging African and international fashion brands. We work on mainly on a commission basis, we also have an in store brand.
What determines your designs?
I have a design team and we edit both our merchant collections and our in store brands in order to make sure it all fits the store’s point of view.
Do you make customized designs based on request?
Right now, we are a purely ready to wear store. We believe in #BuyNowWearNow.
What have you put in place to sustain this business?
Working with the challenges in this environment, we aim to grow with our industry and focus on our brand mission. We have a very robust team and systems in place as well as the right technology backing us. We have many expansion plans in the works as well.
What next should we expect from Zazaii?
ZAZAII is an experiential brand. So, expect new campaigns, exciting events and most important, amazing new brands! We hope to stay on the pulse of everything fashion related on the continent, and to promote the store and our brands via a series of tailored events with some cross industry appeal. We envision ZAZAII as a style hub for fashionistas and enthusiasts and we plan to expand across categories and doors as soon as possible.