Years after she dumped her prestigious banking job and followed her passion in fashion, Patricia Omorogbe Osagie says she couldn’t have cherished any other job.. With a Major in Computer Science (B.Tech) from Federal University, Akure, and two Masters degrees (MBA and MSC) from University of Benin, Osagie says her dream is fulfilled as fashion is yielding a reasonable result, financially and otherwise.
In this interview, she talked about her banking career, fashion business, and life generally.
Why did you go into millinery?
Millinery talks about women headwear. These head wears borders on hat, turban, fascinator, auto gele, head wrap, and headpiece. I ventured into this because of the passion. I am a fashion freak and a lover of hats. I like looking good. This dream has always been in me when I was working in the banking industry. Then, I usually tie my aso oke without any support and whenever I came out, everyone would admire it, saying it was beautiful, and asking whether I got someone to do it for me. With all these comments and accolades, I was too sure I would excel in the pursuit of my chosen profession.
How did you come about your label O’dazzles Collections?
O’dazzles Collections is a household name. O stands for Osagie Collections. This company is all about empowering lives and delivering services to individuals and groups at their doorsteps.
What inspires your designs?
All designs are by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I have never done anything without asking God to help and guide me. It sounds ridiculous but it’s real. Whenever I ask the Holy Spirit for help, the head wear turns out to be what customers would marvel at. Most times, they would ask if the hat was foreign. I get many commendations that my head wears are unique, and classy. This in return, all glory to the almighty God.
Tell us about your banking career and why you left the job.
I am an ex-banker with First City Monument Bank (FCMB). I started my banking career in the year 2003 as an IT staff and thereafter, I was moved to the Audit Department and I was trained with several certifications in audit. I quitted the bank job because I needed to pursue my career in academics. I have always been passionate about a lecturing job and my banking job never gave me the opportunity to run my programme in Msc. I had my first Masters (MBA) in the year 2008, and my second Masters in 2019.
Did you learn the art of making hats and fascinators?
I developed a niche in fashion. I am a fashionista. l love looking good. Whenever I dress up, I like wearing a head wear to compliment my dress. This is what led me into hat making and since I ventured into it, I have never had any regrets. I make money on daily basis. I have done several businesses while in the bank and I left, but this hat making is a goldmine. I do less stress and get good pay at the end of the day.
Hats and fascinators are trending. Why do you think so?
Hats and fascinators are trending and women move with what is in vogue. As long as head wear is concerned, women would always go for it. It’s now a “come back syndrome “
Hats and fascinators used to be attributes of old people. Has this perception changed?
They were actually attributed to old people. We are no longer in that era because everyone wants to move with the trending things and wants to look good.
What designs are in vogue?
The designs in vogue are hats, fascinators, turbans, trending zara caps, headpieces and auto gele.
How long does it take for one to learn the art of making them?
The time it takes to learn hat making depends on individual. We have low and fast learners.
Describe the Nigeria fashion industry
The Nigeria Fashion industry is very broad. It can be categorised into clothing, shoes, bags, head wears, what makes a woman complete in her dressing.
How lucrative is the business?
The fashion business is very lucrative; but you have to have a niche. What works for A might not work for B. You can start this business with zero capital. What do I mean by this? I don’t have money but I have interest in making money. I can drop-ship. Drop-shipping means I advertise other people’s product, get market for it and when I get prospective customers, I revert to the seller, go into negotiations. If favourable, I discuss with my customer about the price. If the person gets to compromise, I deliver the product and get commission for introducing the customer.
Everybody seems to be going into fashion business now. Why?
Everyone wants to move with the trend; what is in vogue. There is so much in fashion. Like I said earlier, you can start with zero capital. The business is very lucrative. You make money on daily basis. People don’t know that the phone in your hand is a very powerful tool that you can use to make money. Marketing starts from there. You can market via WhatsApp (posting on your status) and posting on your Facebook page.
What challenges did you have at the early stage, and how did you solve them?
The challenges I encountered in my early stage were time and how to get my target market, but with the aid of social handles (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp), I was able to overcome it. Also I had some financial constraints of expansion.
What was the reaction of your spouse and relations when you wanted to quit your banking job for fashion?
My family has been so supportive when I took the bold step of quitting my banking career because I wasn’t getting satisfaction anymore with the job. My family was actually suffering. I resumed work as early as 7am and closed as late as 8pm. My husband is a field worker. My family was practically in the hands of domestic staff. I had a driver that took me to the office, dropped my children off to school and went alone to pick them. It was God that my children did not suffer rape, kidnap or child abuse of any kind. It was funny. In my 14 years, I was only promoted twice. It wasn’t a good experience at all. My then boss never saw anything good in me. She gave me queries at any slightest provocation. I lost interest in the job because she didn’t like my person for reasons best known to her.
How small did you start, and how big are you now?
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need so much to start this business. I started small, but today, I am doing excellently well by the special grace of God. This is possible because I take my time on the finishing. I am a very patient person. Hat making requires patience. If you are impatient, you cannot go far; finishing matters a lot. I always tell people that want to venture into such business that they have to develop the interest. It’s not because I am doing well and you also want to do same. You have to create a niche. The job has exposed me to special dignitaries, women of substance, pastors both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora because I do my work well. This wouldn’t have been possible without God. God has been my source of motivation and inspiration. I want to return all glory to Him for achieving this milestone.