Ogezafe Phillida Ibimiluyi, also known as Opalz, is the creative director of Opalz clothiers, a unisex fashion label that specialises in both custom made and ready to wear apparel and aims to be a one stop source of everything ranging from the traditional male agbada, kaftans ,wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, evening and cocktail dresses to casual wear While also training aspiring fashion designers.
Speaking on how she started, she says, “Though I had my first fashion training over 15years ago, I didn’t venture into the business aspect till 2012 during my NYSC year where I was also able to train 2 of my fellow Corps members. I went low key for a while to further my studies and started the business fully in 2016 after my Masters program.”
Ogezafe admitted to the challenges she has experienced since she started. “Getting the right staff has been a major issue as it’s either they are not properly trained or have wrong attitude to work. Another issue that I think plague most Nigerian business owners is lack of constant power supply as it leads to really high production costs.”
She draws inspiration from her immediate environment and the circumstances she finds herself – good or bad.
Her confidence was boosted when a friend trusted her with a project. “When I set out in this fashion business, I had a truck load of doubts. There were times I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go ahead. Then a friend of mine trusted me with her bridesmaids dresses, about 7of them. It was a huge responsibility as it was something I had never done. But I was able to pull it off and got many commendations from there. That was a defining moment for me. It gave me some form of guarantee that I could do anything if only I set my heart to it.”
Looking forward, “I am open to opportunities for further trainings, and to facilities that can help in the expansion of Opalz clothiers so as to increase our ability to train more people.”
She believes youth empowerment is first a personal thing. “There has to first be that willingness to make sacrifices for a better future. “
“As regards the empowerment of the Nigerian youth, I wish our educational curriculum was better tailored to both academic and entrepreneurial development. Organising various trainings and empowerment schemes can also be of immense value.”
Find her on
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @opalzclothiers