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Meet Okiki Marinho, designer of the famous talking drum bag

It was simply a case of Okiki Marinho’s reputation preceding her. Sewe Ishola had met and admired the designs of Okiki Marinho before eventually meeting the skilled hands and mind behind them, so there was a good conversation starter: The famous talking drum bag of course. 🙂
Beyond the bags, we got to know more about the bubbly woman, Okiki and her other endeavours. 
Enjoy excerpts:
What inspired the famous talking drum bag?
The Talking Drum Handbag was inspired by the African Talking Drum. It was made to be a voice for women who face tough challenges in life and are not afraid to share their stories.
 
How did your journey into fashion start?
My career started off in banking, then the Oil & Gas sector. Along the years I had started designing clothes and handbags for family and friends as a side business. Eventually over 5 years ago I decided to focus on fashion full time when I noticed a rapid increase in our customer base.
What is the unique selling point of the Okiki Marinho brand?
Our unique selling point is in our designs. Each product has been designed in style and quality to be more than just a fad but an investment.
At what stage did you decide to delve into handbags?
Going into handbags was a decision that came about when I turned my pain into passion. I was faced with fertility challenges, instead of self pity I chose to start designing handbags. Each time a bag was purchased I always felt a proud moment and it released the right energy in me.
How has the journey been so far?
It’s been an interesting journey of highs and lows. The state of the economy has played a big part in consumer spending habits. Cost of production is at an all time high and we can’t always pass this down to the consumer. We have learnt to be flexible in our goals and expectations.
How competitive are Made in Nigeria goods compared to imported ones?
The Made in Nigeria goods have become very competitive compared to imported ones in the area of design. Our designs stand out and customers appreciate the uniqueness of our goods and those of other Nigerian designers. Over the years our quality control as a country has become very much improved so that allows for a more balanced competition.
What are some of the challenges of being a creative in Nigeria?
The increasing cost in production makes the creations way more expensive than they ought to be. Dwindling disposable income of the average Nigerian makes it hard for creatives to sell their goods consistently and profitably.
What are some of the principles that guide your life and businesses?
God first, Family next. If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again.
What is your must-have fashion item?
A pair of jeans, as you can dress it up or down with ease.
You are a mom and a businesswoman, how do you find balance?
They say it takes a village to raise children. I have learnt to lean on the support system around me and that has made running my business much easier.
What is the one thing you just love to do?
Dance, dance, dance.
Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
I see my brand becoming a household name in Nigeria and over time gaining international recognition.

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