Ndidi Obioha’s name rings a bell in the world of fashion and events consultancy. For this mother of three, looking ordinary is boring and anything to add a bit of shine, glitz and glam is the stuff she’s made of. An alumnus of Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, she studied International Relations at the University of Ife and after 11 years at STB-McCann, Independent Telephone Network (ITN) as well as a stint in banking and hairdressing, she incorporated Enthyst Events. She spoke with Sunday Sun recently at her Lekki office in Lagos.
Did you incorporate Enthyst immediately after graduation?
No, initially I first worked with STB-McCann and later Independent Telephone Network (ITN), which was one of the first independent phone companies back then. From that company, I went into the banking industry as well as hairdressing. I was not a hairstylist, but I have always loved beautiful hairstyles and I’m a creative person. A few months after I opened the salon, I resigned from the bank. The salon was what motivated Enthyst Events, which in turn gave birth to the bridal arm of the business.
What’s the secret of your stylish looks at events?
I’m a stylist and I can’t but look good. That’s the truth. People need to see you and say, oh yes, you definitely represent what you are. Like I said, I like to look good. With modesty, I think I’m fashionable and trendy. If I see a nice piece, I can see myself in it, I can see certain people in it, so that’s my guide. I’m passionate about unique pieces. When you are passionate about something, you find out that you eat, sleep and drink that thing.
So, tell us how it’s been in events consulting?
I have always liked to be different even as an event consultant. Let’s take for example, I’m planning a wedding for a couple. It’s always a total package, because I’m concerned about how you would look as well as the look and feel of the event. I never want any other to look better than my bride or the mother of the bride on the wedding day. In trying to advise them on how best to dress, you’ll definitely need to have a source you are referring them to and that gives birth to the bridal part of it and every other fashion aspect of the business.
From the red carpet clothes to the glam dresses. When I plan birthdays and all that, I’m particular about how my client looks and it doesn’t end at that. I don’t just put together your birthday as we tend to add so much value to what we do. For instance, I direct photo shoots for my clients during their birthdays and I make sure that you look cute. Even after watching the images from the event, people would call me and say “Ndidi, you are kidding me, this woman is not 60 years but 35 or 40.” It’s because of my commitment and thoroughness. I take my time and I direct each and every photo shoot for whatever event.
What or who’s your inspiration?
Luckily for me, I travel a lot and I get a lot of inspiration from my trips. The beauty is when you have people that are too close to you and understand how passionate you are and share your dream, vision and mission. I’m a risk taker, a serial entrepreneur, I dream it and I satiate it.
It’s so important to me. I’m very daring and passionate about everything I do.
What’s your take about the fashion sense of Nigerian women?
I’m very happy about the fashion trend in Nigeria and that Nigerian women are making very good efforts to look good.
It does take effort to look good and if you know you don’t have a clue, consult somebody that has. I tell people if you have to attend an event, make that effort to look good. By just coming out in just anything , you’re telling the celebrant/host that “your event means nothing to me.”
That’s the way it can be interpreted and what I tell people is that it’s pretty rude. Somebody has specified a dress code and colour for the day and the least you could do is to abide by it and gladly Nigerian women are beginning to do that more. They’re beginning to consult stylists. I have a number of them as my clientele and they’re grateful.
They thank me for making them stand out and that for me is satisfaction . I totally enjoy what I do and I’m happy that Nigerian women are making conscious efforts to look good.
Nigerian women are getting more conscious of their bodies and they are no longer comfortable with the folds, baggy eyes, heavy arms (what some people call Christian mothers’ arm); they no longer love those clothes that just hide excess flesh.
They want to look elegant, so they wear dresses that make them look so graceful. When they enter anywhere, they make heads turn.
Must you break the bank to look stylish?
It could be a well tailored outfit or simple outfit but with good accessories just to accentuate it. It should always be well laundered too. Some people will wear very expensive outfits but all rumpled and wrinkled and you hate it. Just make that effort of making it clean and it makes a difference and finally your carriage matters a lot. Somebody wears an H&M outfit and somebody else is wearing a Carol Miller outfit and the person in H&M outfit would probably stand out better than Carol Miller outfit. It’s all about how the person carries it .
There are certain designs that would not look good on me at all, there are some that will not work for a big person or for a small person and all that. There are certain fabric textures that will not work on your type of skin. You need to understand style, texture and finally t h e c a r riage.
Tell us what you feel people don’t know about you?
What people know about me is that as much as I’m very sociable out there, I am deep-down a very private person. I’m a sucker for the colour purple. I am free spirited but also very self-conscious, I tear up easily, just watching a touchy movie tears me up.
You are also humble. Did you imbibe that from your parents?
My humility stems from the fact that I never forget where I’m coming from and I am guided by my principles and set values.