- Tell us about you.
My name is Anthonia Uchechukwu Igbukolu and I am the Creative Director of Thoche Enterprises. I’m a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from Madonna University and I absolutely love being spontaneous. I’m pretty quick at thinking on my feet
- How did you learn how to design and make Ankara bags and accessories?
My mother is a firm believer in NEVER BE IDLE, So When I graduated from the University in 2015, my church was hosting a 2 weeks training on skills acquisition and she signed me up for BAG MAKING, believe me, that would have never been my pick. But it turned out to be the best decision ever because the concept of making a handbag from items as basic as fabric, gum, and boards sounds surreal.
I kept making the bags as fun but didn’t turn it into a business till 2018
It was love at first sight basically and I never looked back since then.
- When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a Female Handbag and accessories Designer?
The instant I realized that a desk job wasn’t for me. I always felt restless when I had to do the 9 to 5 right from the days of my internship as a petroleum engineer. And not getting callbacks from the numerous CV’s I sent out only made it more obvious that I had to find something to do with my hands
The opportunity fell into my laps coincidentally when a friend who is a fashion designer called and told me she had a client who wanted Ankara bags. The sped at which I hurried to her shop cannot be explained and that was how I got my first official client in January 2018.
- If you weren’t a designer, what career path would you have chosen?
A radio and television presenter 😉
- How did you come up with the name “Thoche”?
It took me forever to come up with my business name 😂😂😂😂😂😂. From January to May 2018, I kept posting my work on my personal Instagram page but I wasn’t getting positive feedbacks.
I’d post my personal picture and there’d be tons of engagement. That was when I decided I needed a business page So I prayed to God and got the idea to make it a mix of my first and middle names – AnTHOnia and uCHE = THOCHE
- Why Female Handbag and accessories?
Handbags and accessories are never going out of style, that’s why I decided to put a spin on it by using African/ Afrocentric prints. The goal is to help you be fashionable without fuss
- Did you have any fears while starting your line and how did you face them?
I did have some fears. My major fear was not getting clients since I didn’t have a showroom but that was when the idea of making customized handbags came to me. I decided to start making them based on clients specifications, as the client: you get to pick your bag design and fabric as well
- How have female accessories evolved over the years?
Since the beginning of civilization, people have been wearing accessories. The history of fashion accessories is a lengthy and broad subject. From headpieces to bags and jewelry.
- What is the most challenging thing about being a designer?
Having an idea and not being able to execute it as I wish – very frustrating
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lady walking down the road, Pinterest, YouTube ( my favorite ), tv shows, etc. My ideas come from the weirdest places at the weirdest times.
- How do you want women to feel when carrying a bag or wearing an accessory from Thoche?
Like A million bucks 😊. Style is essential to everyone regardless of how you define your style. That’s why Thoche has over 20 different bags and accessory designs to ensure there’s something for everyone.
A bag can elevate your look from basic to classy. A headband is a must for those bad hair days. And how can you consider going for an OWAMBE and not take into consideration having the perfect bag and accessories to elevate that gorgeous outfit you plan to rock.
A Thoche piece is a conversation starter
- Do you follow trends much as a person and designer?
I try to but I do not solely depend on trends for my designs as for my personal style, most times I tend to look for outfits that’ll match the bag I have planned to carry.
- How would you define your style?
- What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means expressing myself in the best light possible.