Udochi has always been passionate about change, and she has successfully channeled her passion into co-founding Build African Fashion. An organization that promotes legal awareness in the fashion industry and also promotes development. Exquisite magazine is pleased to have an interview with her, let’s know more about BAF.
EM- PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND BRAND
I am someone who is passionate about driving change, bringing people together, and ultimately achieving something that has a far greater impact beyond my immediate circumstances, space, and generation. I am currently the co-founder of an organization called Build African Fashion (BAF). In a nutshell, we are an organization that is working to bring those in the African fashion sector together to collectively drive growth and development in the sector.
EM- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS FIELD?
For me, it’s been about 10 years in fashion, about 3 years with Building African Fashion.
EM- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD?
When I moved to Lagos over a decade ago, I was inspired by the fashion industry I saw at work in front of me. It was different from anything I had studied in school. It was nascent. Yet I could see it had all the elements to make it a global powerhouse. It was the potential that I saw in the industry that made me want to contribute to its growth and upliftment of all in it.
EM- TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED?
Getting into fashion, I approached it first from a perspective I knew and understood. I have an MBA, so my first foray into fashion was founding my own startup retail company which I am still managing and continuing to grow in.
From this, I went on to try to learn about parts of the industry I did not know about. I did not shy away from constantly talking, listening and engaging with those in the industry.
I did not shy away from constantly talking, listening and engaging with those in the industry. I believe that no matter how much of an expert you are in a field, you can always gain a lot by purposefully looking to hear and seeking out the voices of those in the space especially those who have been there before.
It is only in doing this that you can begin to see and understand where the opportunities for you to make your own mark may be in the system.
EM- YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH WITHIN SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
I think it was a commitment to following my passions and those areas that I felt called to. When you love what you do and are driven from an internal place, it’s easier to move as you need to achieve the things you want to.
I have been fortunate to be in a position where I can confidently focus on those areas where my true interests lie. I think it is this genuine interest in the things that I engage in and deeper understanding that I and my team are building for something much larger than us in the here and now that inspires me to put in the work. In terms of setting myself up for success, I did the research and spoke to people to understand what I needed to do to get to a place where I could confidently pursue those things that genuinely interest me and that I feel a larger calling towards.
EM: HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Success is taking steps every day to achieve those goals you have set. It’s the small deliberate movements and actions that when combined move you from where you are currently to being closer to where you want to be.
EM: IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I would not sweat the small stuff-worry as much. I would continue pressing on even when I do not have the answers or when it feels as though I am unsure of what I am doing. I think too often in my career, I allowed uncertainty to cause me to slow down. If I could do it all over again, I would not allow the moments of unclarity to give me pause or take away from the joy of the journey.
EM- EVERY BUSINESS-MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
Following your passion and doing what you feel called to do is not always easy. But there is no greater joy than following your passions through and having no regrets or what-ifs. There is a joy that comes from within
EM- WHAT SETS YOU APART?
The tenacity to keep going and never quit until I feel like I have exhausted all options with a project.
EM- YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by the people around me-getting to learn about them, see things from their perspective, and be made better from having gained that perspective.
EM- WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
The possibility of pushing myself further and continuously doing better
EM- IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
Listening to Win
Because again, I cannot stress how important listening first and engaging with those around me has been to my success. If you want to know how you can contribute in any situation, start first by listening before you act.
EM- PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM.
Another thing I would say is to find and build community. No matter how smart you are, you need a team and community around you to achieve real success. You may not find your team right away when you start. But rest assured that whatever it is, you want to do, there are others like you and others who may not be like you but who are willing and interested in helping. Continue working and doing what you have set out to do and you will find and encounter them.
EM- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW?
Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions.
Do the research to learn and understand what you don’t know.
EM- PLEASE SHARE CONTACT DETAILS YOU WISH TO BE MADE PUBLIC
Company Website: BuildingAfricanFashion.com
Instagram | Facebook @ BuildingAfricanFashion
Personal Instagram @ Udochizoba