Laura Ese Okpare is an ambitious bilingual customer service expertise that has created a sustainable fashion brand where handcrafted beaded bags and accessories with unique designs and stunning pictorial patterns are made for fashionistas
Tell us about Yourself
Laura Ese Okpare is an ambitious and bilingual Customer Service with expertise in various industries. Delivers exemplary customer interaction, bringing 8+ years of experience in conducting live interpretations and projects for companies and churches both in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Has an OND from Yaba College of Technology, a professional certification in Air Ticketing & Customer Services from the Professional School of Aviation and is currently pursuing a degree from the University of Maryland.
What does your business do and how it started
Historians believe the African tradition of wearing beads signifies wealth and aristocracy e.g. Nigerian kings wear beads to show their royalty. Though I grew up in Côte D’Ivoire, I come from a rich cultural and royal background in Delta and in the Urhobo culture, a wedding is incomplete without giving gifts to the bride and her family. This was no exception when my brother got married to his Ghanaian bride, my sisters and I wanted to give our new bride something more special other than the listed gifts.
With the help of my brother and information gathered by stalking her social media pages, we discovered she’s a high-stepper/fashionist and loves wearing trendy and exclusive items. With the growing trend of beaded bags, picking an item was easy and looked like the perfect gift. The onus was on me as the eldest daughter to volunteer to learn and make the bag with the help of my sisters. The bag was an embodiment of Afrocentric patterns with a modern trendy vibe. That’s why when picking out a brand name we made sure we infuse our culture and background in the name. Ese which is my Urhobo name means gift, and L’Ese is a tribute to my French upbringing.
L’Esé is a craft-centric, modern culture premium fashion brand.
We create handcrafted beaded bags and accessories with unique designs and stunning pictorial patterns for fashionists that are in the middle to upper-income class, millennials and Gen Z consumers who desire exclusivity yet have high-quality sustainable products.
In a world where sustainability is rapidly becoming the new reality, we are overcoming the problem of fashion waste as well as bridging the gap between recycling, up-cycling and crafts.
We do that by getting recycled beads from recycled bead makers who take back at least 10% of plastic waste from landfills weekly and also partner with them to create faux crystal beads, plastic beads made from plastic waste, we also repurpose discarded nylons and food scrap turning them into biotextile which is used for the interior of the bag. This biotextile is 100% biodegradable leaving little or no waste behind.
How do you solve your customer’s challenge?
We solve their challenges by listening to their needs
Who are your ideal customers?
The target customer is typically female, aged between 18-65yrs either married or single. Ideally, the target customer has access to the internet and has at least average proficiency in the same, can make online purchases online, and ideally earns not less than N1.8m per annum.
Target market-(business-to-business) brands and fashionists who desire to evoke a sense of affluence, and style and seek for social status, exclusivity and high-quality sustainable products for the collection. Another target market- (business-to-customer) is middle to upper-income class millennials and Generation Z consumers who have a keen eye for fashion and trends yet care about fashion sustainability, eco-friendly products and unique high-quality fashion items that enable them to seek status and express their rich cultural, social appearance.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
A typical day is spending time designing patterns and making beaded bags
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It’s been bittersweet it takes a lot from you, but the reward is rewarding
What motivates you?
What motivates me are the endless possibilities you can make with sustainable materials
What is your greatest fear?
I keep in mind that everything serves as a lesson to either be better or do better.
How do you define success?
Success is being able to impact others positively
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Critical thinking, the ability to proffer solutions and constantly be on your toes thinking
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
choose entrepreneurship again
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Tenacity, ability to critically analyze and provide solutions/meet needs
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Madam Nelly of Naijabrandchick
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
Learn from people who have done it before
What business-related book has inspired you the most?
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it? My eyes have seen, lol!
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