‘I’m a hard worker’
‘My life as a model’
Princess Romeo Oghene is a multi-talented vibrant woman. She is a workhaholic who has her hands in many businesses including building aside her life as the brand Ambassador of Orange Drugs. She’s that pretty fair complexioned model on Delta Soap. She recently launched her chains of businesses in Lagos. She spoke with Effect about what makes her tick as a businesswoman, her lifestyle and lots more.
Do you still model?
I’m the standing models with orange drugs. Other girls are new. I’m the 2016 Ambassador of Delta soap (orange drugs)
As a married woman, what are the challenges you face?
I don’t have any challenge in modelling. Now, I’m the face of my brand. I’m the one promoting my brand because of that niche they have carved for me. It’s not affecting me at all because I’m doing my business. We have different kinds of modeling. We have the runway, that’s not the type I do. As a runway model, you are everywhere. I have been a model for eight years, if I’m sitting somewhere, most people don’t recognise me. They just tell me that my face is familiar. I’m always working. Some of my staff, and clients tell me I’m weird because I’m everywhere. That is materialising because just two months we came out I have got three awards. Imagine, what I will do in 2017. Modeling with orange drugs doesn’t affect your business. Infact, they are lucky they got me the time they got me, otherwise, I wouldn’t have time for modeling. But I still praise them because the jobs I have done they pay me very well. In as much I have not given them any reason to doubt my loyalty to the company, that’s how I have been able to retain the years I have been with them. It’s been an amazing journey with orange drugs.
How do you spend your day?
I spend my day working. We work Monday to Sunday. I give my staff off days. We work from Monday to Sunday.
You don’t have social life?
I don’t. I’m working on that. These few days before the event we have been working all through the night in the office.
What kind of fashion do you like?
I like boubou becsuse of the way I work. I like free dresses but, when I have an event I can go all out and be the bride of the event. I don’t care if you are the one getting married.
In all these, what has life taught you?
Life has taught me that you have to be hardworking. It’s the only way. I have seen people complaining about recession, about no jobs, I know how many staff that I have employed and see how lazy they are, they don’t want to work. Sometimes they resign because they don’t want to work too much. If you work hard sand pray God will definitely favor you. If you say you have a rich husband and you don’t want to work, or you have a rich uncle you don’t want to work, you limit your dream and your destiny. Life has taught me to be nice even though I get negative reactions from people imp helping but it hasn’t stop me from helping people. Yes, I have these businesses but the main goal for me is to establish people. By the grace of God I will live long but when I leave I want people to say that this lady touch several lives through empowerment. Life has taught me not to depend on anybody but I know that you can get anything you want if you put in handwork, if you follow your dream, don’t let anybody stop you. If you do that with the favour of God, I know God will bless the work of your hands.
Your husband is not complaing about your workhaholic attitude?
He is busy. He’s a politician. I don’t disturb him. he knows this is what I want. No man wants liabilities anymore. My husband is proud of me. I got three awards in one day recently on different shows. He travelled back, he came all the way from Delta State and he drove me to receive my awards. He was proud. I don’t think he is the type who wants a lazy wife, or just a beautiful wife. It has to be beauty and brain. He is one of those who motivate me. to show him that I can have his kind of money too (She laughs) he is not intimidated. My husband is humble. I marked my seventh year wedding anniversary in November this year. He is not the social type or the proper politician type. He is not the boasting and bragging type. He doesn’t disturb me, he knows I’m working and he sees result. I have never given him any reason to doubt me.
Can you talk about your growing up?
Growing up I learnt sewing. My mum insists we must know how to do something important. She had a supermarket, she kept on doing different courses, like ICAN. She was a workaholic until she passed on in 2012. I’m so proud of her. I learnt sewing when I was growing up, I went to computer school, when I started my business I did all my graphic designs. Growing up, I took the easy way out and I entered boutique. By God’s grace, I’m stable. It’s been an awesome journey. I have an amazing team, from the tailoring section, the makeup section, the school, now, I’m handling over 57 women in this short time and there’s no problem.
You had an event recently, what was it about?
It was the official launch of House of GMYT. It’s like building a mini empire for myself. It’s a parent company that houses other company like Gmyt couture, gmy events. That makes all of them come under one that was how we come about the name. We have fashion academy, we have the Make up palace, we have a Salon here as well, we have the Couture, for instance you want to get married, we plan your wedding, we can plan the event, we do the décor, we make the bride outfit, we make the hair, we do the makeup, the nails, we do like everything and we also give them vendor for the food. Also, the groom, we do the attire. My business has been on for over a decade but I felt its time to let my friends celebrate with meand to appreciate my long standing customers.
Why all these businesses for one person?
I think its God who has put all these in my heart. I don’t just start something because other people are making money from it. I start something either because its going to complement my business if I give it the best shot, its going to bring money.
I was with orange Drugs; I have been with them for over a decade now. I’m also the brand ambassador for orange drugs that birth my modeling business. I started with the boutique, from the fashion, I thought of selling my own brand. I have been selling like Gucci, Armani and other designers. I thought of old age and the fact that I should do something by starting my own brand. Fashion was strong in my heart and I said it’s high time and how do I start my own instead of going to abroad to buy stuff, pushing other brands. We incorporate Ankara in our bridals. I like the fact that I can promote Africa attire. The skill acquisition program I had birth the fashion Academy. I had people come here for beading for free. The next minute, people were coming, saying they wanted to pay. This means I have to buy machines and that was how couture started.
‘Customers are uppermost in my mind’
Wearing a stylish red dress, embroidered with crystal stones and a beaming smile, celebrated Festac-Town fashion designer Mrs Vivian Ugo Irechukwu Chinelo sits comfortably inside her spacious showroom in Festac, the vibrant suburb of Lagos, as we discuss the inspirations behind her designs.
“My designing process starts always with my customers in mind,” explains the Viccini Clothiers boss. Indeed, for more than a decade the designer whose specialty is embellished ready-to-wear Ankara outfits has been putting embellished fashion on the bodies of stylish women all over — from Lagos and London to Port-Harcourt and Benin.
Why should anyone have a piece of an outfit from Viccini Clothiers?
Basically in one word I will call them beautiful blings and they are actually fantastic, they come with lovely tones that makes it so unique and so different.Our new designs follow the patterns of the Ankaras on which the stones are all intricacy beaded which makes them turn out so beautiful when people put them on.We have them in long dresses, short dresses.We also have them in robes, kaftans, we have them in all creations,all made in Ankara .We are having a lot of people coming over from abroad to look at our stuffs and they are like,these are nice.Wit motivation such as these,we are hoping that soon enough we can move to the next level.
What are the challenges of having Ankara wear business,is it not an all-comers affair?
The only challenge i have in my Ankara business is that i have to travel all the way to Senegal to have these embroideries done. You know the risk involved in travelling but aside that I think the risk is worth it .At the end of the day ,the finished products leaves my customers very satisfied.I am very grateful and appreciative of what i have because i have African master embroiders that do my work !!
Why travel all the way to Senegal for craftsmanship?
Actually, we work with a lot of embroidery designs so we travel all the way to Senegal to get those embroideries because most of those machines we donít get them here. And yes,Senegal is the home of master craftsmen.The labour is also more affordable because they have constant light.In Senegal , they can finish a dress which takes two weeks to be produced in Nigeria, it takes them one day because they have steady power, so we are able to produce like 1000 pieces of clothes in as little time as 10 days. I believe that if we have the basic amenities for us to put our clothes to the next level , it is going to make a huge difference and a huge impact in the production of clothes in Nigeria.
Would it be an overkill to wear an embellished dress with this glittery shoe and bags?
It all depends on one’s personality, some people come here and want to look blingy from top to bottom which I don’t see anything wrong with that , if they feel very comfortable with it. You could see somebody who buys fully embellished full Ankara dress with all crystals and then may want the all crystal shoes that go with them. If it makes them look more beautiful and they have the confidence to pull it off,why not?I think it all depends on your personality. Some people like dramatic entrances and dressing loud…so what?
What do you call this Ankara outfit with stones on it, what is the fashion name for it?
We call them crystal embellishment. The crystal embellishment make people look really nice.It actually brings out the beauty of the ankara fabric and makes it a lovelier choice to attend parties or dinner occasions. It makes any ankara look more dressier,georgeous and beautiful. These crystals are so attractive and i use real crystals. Some people call them melanin. We apply them on the dresses and they turn out fantastic and gorgeous.
Where did this crystal trend originate from?
They came from Senegal. Most of these crystal designs originated from Senegal.In Senegal ,you are sure of getting original swarovski stones and they additionally supply the best tailors who know how to sew and design .Although ,there are different kind of stones, we have the plastic stones, but the crystal stones are different because they glow in the dark and they actually bright while in the sun. The difference is that the plastic stones don’t really shine as much which a lot of people use in Nigeria, so that is what makes it different from those got from Senegal .
Do you think it is a trend that will stay?
I think it is here to stay because we have been doing it for so many years we keep improving in our designs, we are always a step ahead.We are always trying to work out more designs and bring a lot of creativity to the Ankara, so I think it is going to stay for a long time. These stones make a whole lot of difference on plain Ankaras. So i think it is going to be here for a long while.
What do you have in mind when you are creating an outfit?
We create according to the personality of our different customers,some people like to go over-board with the bling while some are moderate and prefer that the stones are used more sparingly. But at the end of it all,leaves a happy,a better dressed and beautiful satisfied customer,which for us is the ultimate goal.
The difference between our clothes produced in Nigeria and those from Senegal?
As I said initially ,it is the embroidery. If you look at our cloth and the finishing of the embroidery, you will see a great difference.It is very rare to have people who make them as beautiful as what we have over here. Our embroideries are intricately done with very special machines in Senegal and it takes time, it takes a day to finish like one entire neck of the embroidery and it takes a lot of technical expertise to have it done. That is why i go all the way to Senegal to have them made because they have a huge experience and expertise.