The art of crocheting requires abundant skills and more, and Ore Akinde, 22, has them in spades. This craft takes key skills such as; a keen eye for detail, beautiful designs crocheted into perfection, and a lot of creative talent to master it.
Akinde has turned her love of crafts, especially crocheting, into a successful business while pursuing her studies in mass communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
In a recent chat with Face2Face Africa, Akinde, who strongly believes, “If it can be done, I will do it”, talks about her personal entrepreneurial journey as well as aspirations for the future of her company.
What inspired your craft?
I’ve always wanted to make clothes, dresses, tops but I didn’t just know how to go about it and I could always crochet. So I decided to revisit the skill. I’m self-taught.
At what age did you start crocheting?
I started when I was seven or eight years old. I remember we were given a project in primary school and that was when I did my major project.
That’s impressive! How supportive are your parents with regard to your business?
They weren’t really supportive at first because they wanted me to fully focus on my education. My parents are very big on education, so I had to convince them that I could do both school and business together and when I did, they became supportive.
Wow! How do you manage school and work?
Most times, my friends were supportive and they helped me to meet up with marketing, there were other times I had to reject orders because of school work. It takes a lot of discipline and planning your time well to handle business and school together, I try as much to balance both together but sometimes, I also have to pick one over the other.
When was the turning point in your business?
I do not think there was a major turning point in my career, it was just a steady growth because people knew me already, I think it grew rapidly when celebrities started buying from me.
What’s the longest duration you have spent on a piece?
That’s a week plus. Sometimes a design doesn’t come out the way you intend so you may have to rework on it.
What’s the biggest challenge you face with your business?
Delivery rate to other countries is expensive and also payment plans with countries that do not use the conventional Naira, dollars, euro or pounds, it’s harder to collect money from them.
Those are the major challenges I’ve faced.
What did you wish you knew before starting your business that you know now?
Quite frankly, business has a booming period that a crochet entrepreneur is supposed to utilize but I didn’t realize that on time. I also wish I put in more effort instead of making the business a side hustle.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your business?
The customer’s satisfaction. I once had a customer order a platter for me after she got her orders. Also, I have various customers send me extra money after receiving their orders. I also love seeing my designs and outfits on a customer’s body.
Where are we seeing Ore in five years’ time?
Omooo! 2027, I don’t really know. I have plans but you can’t tell what the future holds for you knowing how Nigeria is.
Akinde has advice for young women seeking to follow their passion. She says, “It never gets easier, if you have an idea, work on it as soon as you can. Start at a small pace but just make sure you’re moving”.