Efe Osobase Doyle: Turning passion to business
Ireland- based Milliner, Efe Osobase- Doyle is an English Language graduate of the Edo State University, Ekpoma.
In search of greener pasture, the old girl of St. Maria Goretti Girls Grammar School, Benin City, relocated to Ireland where she picked up job as a paramedic after series of different trainings.
She holds a Diploma in several field; Special needs, Mental Health Awareness and Level 5 in Child Development. She also holds a Certificate in Millinery from Grafton Academy of Fashion, Dublin.
To make ends meet, she began a side hussle that has turned her into an entrepreneur. The boss of Ddss now sells, elegant millinery pieces with outlets in Ireland and Lagos.
She also hosts a live interactive program on Critical thinking on Facebook called, “Osobase Osobase”.
How did you get into the creative industry and why did you choose millinery?
I was off work for a year due to a car crash I had in 2016. I then decided to turn to my passion which is making things with my hands.
I chose to do head pieces because, I’ve ways found it difficult tying gele, our traditional headgear. That was how the Ddss brand was born. The head pieces are designed to look like the traditional one. Now, that means I can still have our African gele on, but in a more stylish, chic and exquisite designs.
How did raise capital to start?
The capital for my brand, Ddss was not big at all because I had most of the items I needed. I always bought fabrics when I travel on holidays. So, starting Ddss cost me less than €1,000:00 . Although I may not be making as much as I would have loved, date, I’m still not making as much as I should but because of the love I have for what I do, there is no stopping for me.
What inspires you to create?
The beauty in creating and the lack of headwear to complete outfits, and knowing I have so much to give the fashion world.
What have you done so far to hone your skill?
I try as much as possible to update myself and skills by going on courses. I have been to Dublin School of Millinery. I have taken online courses with Hatsacademy.com and Thebritishschoolofmillinery.com, and of course, Grace’s Hats Nigeria. I also use feedbacks from my clients to improve on my work.
Who is your target market?
Every female who wants to look good and stand out in style and glamour.
How are non Nigerians in your host community receiving your designs? Do they buy from you?
First, the Ddss brand cuts across cultures, and our designs are universal. We do have foreigners who embrace our designs and patronize us. We have clients from Ireland, America, London, Canada, Italy, Spain etc. It’s been very encouraging.
How is the party life in the Diaspora?
In Ireland were I live, Africans love to celebrate a lot. The party life in Ireland is similar to what we have in Nigeria.
How is life in the diaspora generally?
It’s been great. I came here searching for a place were the system works. This effective system has given me jobs that I have earned through my qualifications and my experience. Because the system works and it is effective, it helps people like me balance life (living). For example, if I earn €10 a day, the system here will help me be able to plan around the €10 and still live comfortably.
The issue of using nepotism to earn a living in the diaspora is not necessary. You know back home, even if you work hard, and you come out of school with a Frist class, and knowing you are the best candidate for the job, a godfather is still required for you to get the position. It’s not so here where rules and rights are reinforced and the future of men and women are guaranteed. If you keep working hard by studying and obtaining more skills for yourself, you have every chance to grow; like the saying that says, “the way you make your bed is the way you lie on it”. There is no question of me making my bed and some other person comes to lie on it.
What do you miss most about Nigeria?
What I miss most is the local food vendors called, “mama put”. You have places all around town where you can go to eat food that tastes just like home- made meals if not even better. I miss that easy access to an assortment of different foods, and the privilege of eating local organic fruits in their seasons. For all these, I miss Nigeria.
You just launched a new collection this month.What kind of pieces do you have in it?
I have actually released two new collections this period. In putting the collection together, I have used our Nigeria Aso-Oke in some of them, bamboo sticks in some with beads, pearls, crinoline and feathers in making the new collections.
How are Nigerians and those abroad receiving your new line ?
Nigerians living abroad will always be Nigerians, because we are known for outstanding, elegant and classy style. So, Nigerians abroad are very willing to have Ddss pieces in their wardrobes.
The best about Ddss, is that it has different styles and types that can be worn on any occasion, African or European.
How would you describe your style.?
Fresh, Elegant, new and outstanding.
What won’t you do in the name of fashion?
I won’t reveal too much in the name of fashion. I love keeping it simple and modest without being indecent.
What are your favourite fashion items?
Bags, shoes, wristwatches and perfume. A lady needs to smell good at all times.
What brands do you like to wear?
I am not fuzzy at all. If it is nice fits nicely, I am good to go. I am not much of a brand person. I am open to different brands and designs.
On a special occasion describe your style?
Simple and elegant.
And on an ordinary day?
On an ordinary day, my style is smart and comfortable.
How has your style evolved over the years?
My style has changed over the years. I’m older now so I dress smart, I dress to be comfortable, I wear what is affordable, and then, I dress for the place, time, occasion. Most of all, I dress the way I want to be addressed by others.
Do you have any piece in your wardrobe you’ll never stop wearing, no matter how old you are?
Sure I do; my shorts and t- shirts are items I feel so free in. When I wear them, I feel like a free bird.
What are some favourite pieces in your closet right now?
My favourite piece of clothing is the lace fabric used for my traditional marriage. I also treasure my Raymond wells “Tango”watch I got in 2000 from my Husband.
Who inspires you in terms of style?
Liz Benson. Her style to me was simple, classy and modest.
What is the best part about being your age?
To the glory of God, at 43, I feel fulfilled and comfortable in my skin. I am proud to say I am enjoying life’s journey so far. My wish now is for me to see every woman in the world, long to have Ddss for keeps.
Age they say is a number, this to me is not true. The older you get, the weaker you become. But the one thing I got while getting older by the day, is knowing how to relate with people better, and deal with the circumstances that come my way. Most importantly, as I got older, I say it as it is and now put myself first before anyone. Growing older is a beautiful thing. It shows you your past and how to correct your future.
What are your favourite beauty items?
My soap”Bubu’s organic fruity black soap scrub… Body lotion”Jergens ultra healing lotion, as well as my body splash/ fragrance, “Frist” van cleef&Arpels.
Which designer’s outfit do you covet to wear?
I think every designer I have ever desired to own, I have.
By Jemi Ekunkunbor