WITH RESPONSIBILITIES, CHALLENGES
PRINCESS Mobola Akinruntan didn’t find it funny when she left her dad’s business, Obat Oil & Gas, to pursue another career she wanted since her childhood. She was expected to be part and parcel of the family business but she pulled out to attend a fashion school in the UK. She’s today the proud owner of Login House of Fashion. She’s among the 60 designers featuring at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2016.Softspoken Mobola says, “I’m showcasing children and female outfits. I’m working more on the English look , what would be trendy at summer time.”
By Christy Anyanwu.
When you left Obat Oil & Gas for fashion designing, how did your parents feel?
It was a big challenge. When I was going to leave, I submitted my resignation letter. It was not approved, then I had to leave unannounced to the UK. I told them if I was coming back home, I had to do something else and not in oil and gas.
What did you study in school?
I studied Accountancy.
Could you tell us your journey into fashion designing?
I started with my daughter initially before I could get support from my family. But now, the business is thriving and with clientele all over. The more creative part of my business is kids apparel. I do more for the children with my ready-to-wear line. Most kids when they come, their parents are excited seeing wears more like Ralph Lauren, the nautical type of designs because I do more of English designs but I work with more of African prints.
Do you have a role model in the fashion business?
I have few designers I admire but Deola Saego is first. I like her creativity, I like the way she works with fabrics which was part of my grooming when I started before I relocated. I always Google and check up things on line.
Were you living in the UK?
No, I wasn’t. I went for a fashion course for three years and I came back. I did two years in fashion school and I didn’t do the practical part of it, I only did theory. It was a bit challenging when I wanted to do it, but moving back to Nigeria I did the practical here. I think few of my clients can testify that when I do a style it suits them perfectly. I think that was what I gained from studying fashion designing abroad.
This is my first runway show and I’m expected to do more and be able to get a good platform to stand . I have a new line which I would launch by end of the year. I’m trying to work with my older client, Mo Couture. We are trying to brand a line for private stylists. I have had a bit of challenge with Login House of Fashion working with everybody. I have few of my dad’s friends that patronize us and that’s what I’m nurturing. Style is getting a bit creative.
Is the hardship in the economy affecting you too?
Yes, it’s affecting everybody. It’s a bit challenging now doing one or two things but with God and being focused I think we can excel in business.
My family name is a bit challenging because when I go out and say certain things, especially when it’s about the economy, people wonder “are you complaining too?” I started my fashion business gradually, because it wasn’t first accepted in my family. I was charging pretty low and that gave me a lot of problem. When I charged people N10,000 for a dress , they felt it was pretty cheap and won’t come out nice but I tried to put in more effort and that’s what brought me into showcasing my designs at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria coming up soon.
You said your family didn’t approve your becoming a fashion designer. Why?
My dad still wanted me to be in the oil and gas industry when I moved back to Nigeria but I like to work all by myself . I worked with Obat Oil and Gas for 3 years before I went into business. So, I decided to go into fashion because he loves fashion as well.
Does your dad, as a king, influence your lifestyle?
Yes, a lot, because our upbringing had always been very private. We were not brought up to do menial things and we lived in a cozy environment . We were not open to outside influence as children and I think he has done so well for us. I tried to disguise my identity sometimes. Here in Nigeria ,when I want to buy something and the sellers know my background, they increase the price of what I want to buy.
It’s good, it’s nice and I’m enjoying it. I grew up in Ibadan and attended Ogun State University.
You said you lived a secluded life growing up but you did attend Ogun State University, how did you cope?
We coped , because my dad rented a full apartment for us. The four of us had always attended the same school right from primary school, we always had our own accommodation. We were driven to and from school by a chauffer and on weekends we had to attend my dad’s Cherubim & Seraphim Church.
Can we say you’re a spoilt child?
Not really, none of us is spoilt. Dad didn’t spoil us with anything but he groomed us to stand on our own and to be more focused.
He’s such a dad that didn’t give us fish but taught us how to fish so that we can stand on our own. Even my siblings that worked with him worked hard and there was no room for pampering.
What kind of man is your father?
I wouldn’t say my father is strict but he’s firm and he has a way of telling you what he wants and you have to abide by it. My dad is even a bit lenient than my mom. Once my dad says don’t do this and my mom was there, you knew certainly you didn’t have to do it. My mom is more of a disciplinarian than my dad. She’s also into oil and gas.
Did you inherit your beauty and complexion from your mother?
No, it’s from my paternal grandmother. She was so nice and she really pampered me and I learned the rudiments of business from her like my dad also did. My grandparents were traders.
What are your challenges in business?
I have challenges with high employee turnover. I bring tailors from Ivory Coast and Togo and when they do one year they leave no matter how well I treat them. Sometimes and especially in December, we have much work to do and that keeps me awake till 3am at times before I go to bed.