Etemi Vincent-Okeke is the founder and Creative Director of KALIKI BY ETE, a fashion brand based in Lagos Nigeria. She is also a writer and runs a lifestyle blog called Orange and Steel.
In this interview with Oyinlola Sale, She explains her inspiration behind her fashion brand.
You were In the corporate world for while before creating kaliki by Ete?
Yes I was. But after 13years in the corporate world, I decided it was time to pursue my own dreams.
As a Fashion designer, what inspires your creativity?
I am mostly inspired by my environment, culture, and life experiences.
Your designs are quite exquisite, most of them don’t even look like they are made in Nigeria, how did you manage to create that world class standard ?
Thank you. When I first started, three things were my major focus; story telling, unique/exclusive fabrics, and quality garment construction. The print tells stories about our culture and experiences, thereby creating exclusive pieces that resonate with the Kaliki Woman.
What are the important details that one needs to pay attention to in order to excel in the field of Fashion ?
Be original, don’t be afraid to stand out. Allow your creativity flow.
Know your customers, and what value you’re providing for them.
Spend time working on your value proposition.
Build solid relationships, e.g. with business managers, consultants, designers, vendors, artisans you can collaborate with etc. A good network of people will help build a solid brand.
Work hard. No one can love or treat your business better than you do, so put in the work.
Build a strong team that understands what you want to achieve.
Celebrate small wins, they encourage you to keep going.
What are the challenges you have faced so far in running Kaliki by Ete?
Getting the right production team that is consistent.
Dealing with vendors. People are not always trustworthy, and sometimes they mess things up, so I’ve learnt to have enough back up incase of any disappointments.
There are many others but I’m grateful for the gradual progress in general.
The industry is churning out a lot of creative Fashion designers, what is your view about this growth?
I’m excited about the growth. There are a lot of talented creatives coming up with unique and mind blowing ideas, giving customers more options to choose from. It’s no wonder that we are being recognized on the global stage. I also love that a lot of designers are drawing inspiration from our African heritage. This growth has also fostered collaborations that have helped creatives in the industry bring their ideas to life, and also gain visibility both locally and globally.
So, what makes Kaliki by Ete to stand out in the midst of the crowd?
Kaliki by Ete focuses on telling stories that resonate with the Kaliki woman; stories about our culture, our home, our continent, and the experiences we have along the way.
These stories are woven into the fabrics, creating exclusive prints. We will always remain considerate, conscious and collaborative in our practices.