One of the first benefits of starting a business in an area that you are passionate about is that it will bring you joy beyond the financial returns. Your passion will drive you to get up and work on your business. You may put in the extra effort than you otherwise would about an area that you don’t so directly care about.
IBIENE’s creator of the month lives in that reality. She is Uloma Ezirim, a Nigerian woman passionate about all things Nigerian and which led to the creation of her fashion business “Marijays”.
Asides from fashion, she is a School Administrator and Human Resource Manager with a mantra which is “Laughter, Love, Relationships = Happiness”.
In a chat with IBIENE she is letting the world know she believes she is the heart of her home and this essentially means that in everything she does, her family is a priority.
There is so much the IBIENE Community can learn from her perspective on life.
IBIENE: Your brand is Afrocentric. What’s the inspiration?
Uloma: My brand is Afrocentric because I enjoy the unique perspective our African textiles bring to the market. As a teen, I noticed that I was more drawn to African Wax. I enjoyed the curiosity it brought to people when they notice that my frocks and tops were all African Fabric. In my teen years in the 80s, while my mates were stocking up on t-shirts, jeans and western frocks, I was with the local tailor creating the same outfits but with the African Wax. When the time was right to start Marijays it was a no-brainer that it would be Afrocentric.
IBIENE: What entrepreneurship tips would you have for beginners?
Uloma: It would sound very cliché for me to just says entrepreneurship is very difficult. What I would say though, is to make sure that you have the passion for the business that you choose to go into. Your passion is what will keep you going when sales slump or when a pandemic threatens your business! Tenacity and Resilience are two good qualities that an entrepreneur must have – they are hard qualities but passion again will help you easily develop those qualities. Trust your inner voice too and be willing to adapt to changes. Your uniqueness will make you stand out. Copy no one.
IBIENE: Why the name Marijays?
Uloma: Marijays is a combination of the names of my two daughters. The first is Jay and the second daughter is Marie.
IBIENE: What are your top fashion tips?
Uloma: For women – You are beautiful, look for what works for your body and play with that silhouette, if you are curvy, wear vertical stripes as they will slim you down. A wrap dress will give you an hourglass silhouette. Make them a wardrobe staple.
For men – Nehru collared shirts should feature heavily in your occasion wardrobe. Your suits may have to be fitted to get the perfect look, do not hesitate a spend a little bit more to achieve this.
IBIENE: What simple things do you enjoy about life that others can learn from?
Uloma: I do not sweat the small stuff, I am positive, happy and fun to be with. I treat my friends like they are my sisters and this ensures that I have a solid support system. I invest in my relationships, always have and always will. I thrive in a happy environment so I try to ensure I impact happiness everywhere I go. I love like there’s no tomorrow and you know what, it comes right back at you. Remember – negative things will happen in life that may hamper your joy and my reply is – and so what?! My Christian faith is my bedrock – Joy will come in the morning.
Do you have any question or comment for Mrs. Uloma Ezirim? Do share with us in the comment section.