Eze Okereke has been in the financial industry since 2004, the event management and promotion industry since 2012, and entered the fashion industry this year. He launched Forge Alkebulan a few months ago with his wife, Nollywood actress cum event manager and promoter, Maureen Solomon Okereke. He shares his entrepreneurial inspiration and experiences in this interview with Joy Ehonwa.
CN: What inspired you to set up Forge Alkebulan and when did the business start?
Forge Alkebulan started in June 2017 and the brand is meant to fill a gap in the fashion industry, i.e infusing local prints into mainstream corporate fashion. Being in the financial services industry, the concept is to develop corporate wears for the corporate class.
CN: How did you raise capital for the business?
It is self-funded.
CN: You recently launched your first line of products, Alkebulan Custom Ties; why did you decide to start with ties?
Being in the financial services industry for over 13years, I observed that a corporate man’s fashion is never complete without a necktie. The opportunity for the young, upwardly mobile man to accessorize, and represent Nigeria’s indigenous prints with ties, was what prompted the need to fill that gap and the hope is that the brand will spread as we develop other products.
CN: What have you found most challenging about running a business in Nigeria?
Brand penetration and marketing.
CN: What do you enjoy most about your business?
The production process and the feeling of bringing out first of its kind products.
CN: Which fashion entrepreneurs inspire you?
Tom Ford, MUDI, DKNY, Tiffany Amber
CN: What makes Forge Alkebulan products unique?
Forge Alkebulan is the pioneer brand in producing handmade ties from local materials, and utilizing the same local material for all our other mainstream products will definitely make us a unique brand.
CN: What is your long-term vision for Forge Alkebulan?
The long-term vision is for Forge Alkebulan to become a go-to brand for products specifically designed to meet the needs of the upwardly mobile & socially active man or woman in Nigeria and the world at large.
We also want to use our brand to showcase the beauty of our local print materials to the rest of the world.
Click here to contact Forge Alkebulan directly
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This article was first published on 3rd October 2017 and updated on November 6th, 2017 at 10:14 am