Just six months in Nigeria, Eve Nnaji of Even Designed is looking to carve a niche for herself in the fashion industry by starting a movement where people can see designing is in every realm, not just the fashion industry.
FBA: Please introduce yourself
Eve: My name is Eve Nnaji, I am 23 years old and I am Nigerian. I studied architecture in Houston Texas, I came back to Nigeria six months ago and I have been doing Even Designed since then.
FBA: How does your being an architect influence your designs?
Eve: Being an Architect is a lot of thinking in a problem solving manner, we call it design problems, so whatever design problem you have, you have to provide solutions for them. I came about my designs for the bag as a problem, thinking about the possible ways you can use a bag aside the stipulated options and it is evident in the aesthetics of the bags. My aesthetics are very simple yet driven, if you look at it, it has its own agenda however it allows you to see in in whatever perspective you want to see it in.
Eve: The bags are simple, the zipper is just one line at the back,and the zips that are functional are just two lines inside, and one pocket outside and one pocket inside.
FBA: How do you source for materials for the bags here in Nigeria?
Eve: When I first moved here, that was my question. At first I was told Balogun market and I went there, as much as it was hectic it was also surprising how very vast and cheap things were compared to what I was used to in the states. Then I decided to try Mushin, again I was surprised how everything I needed was there and then those place became my go-to.
The communication between different families of fabric is really what I wants my bags to speak volumes of.
FBA: How did you decide on what to use?
Eve: Again, my design thinking comes to play, I wanted my bags to have functionality that people did not think could come together. Also, the ambiguity that comes with the bags was also put into consideration, meaning you cannot place it in a category and in order to achieve that I experimented a lot.
Mesh and canvas was one of the first things I started with and then I saw leather denim which I have never come across, instantly I wanted to try it out with aso-oke. In order words,the communication between different families of fabric is really what I wants my bags to speak volumes of.
FBA: How did you come to figuring out your marketing strategies?
Eve: Initially, I wanted to do a little exhibition, so I made a little table of what I wanted my pamphlet to look like, nothing plain or bland like what I usually see, I wanted mine to be more personal, interactive and memorable.
FBA: What is your main avenue for advertising your stock?
FBA: Have you properly branded yourself?
Eve: I have registered my company and I am registered in Houston as well.
FBA: What is your goal in terms of creating a brand?
Eve: I am looking at to pass on the notion that design is in every realm, not just the fashion sector, it is a totality of everything we live in and I want to do something I can create with my hands, more like an essence that starts a movement and I would be a huge part of.
FBA: How do you produce?
Eve: Currently I make my products myself, but now that I am branching out into a store, I am starting to look at production outside my hands. From what I am finding out in Nigeria, there are no production houses and I am considering outsourcing it but I am not so keen on it. Firstly, I am of the opinion that Nigeria should have it’s own, we need to start creating these opportunities and I believe it is my responsibility to contribute my quota to make that happen. I am still in the process of figuring out a fool proof plan on my production plan but presently I do production myself and sometime I have a few people take on the job.
FBA: How are you financing your business?
Eve: I am financing it from my profit,while I was in the U.S I sold most of the bags which generated income to get materials in Nigeria and start production, basically it is organic growth.
FBA: What is the next plan for Even Designed?
Eve: Furniture. The plan was to launch the bag first, because it was the most affordable to start with and furniture would follow suit, because they are both linked.
FBA: What is the timeline for the bags to grow?
Eve: That would be to retail in at least 10 stores, at that point it would be grounded and can take off on its own.
FBA: Do you have any intentions to branch out into other accessories?
Eve: The bag is a variation of what is supposed to be, and there are different sections of what the bag portrays. It is supposed to build itself, with Even bags, then Even bigger bags, Even better bags and Even smaller bags. Which is why the name is so important.
By Kachi Udeoji