Ankara World Business Empire has a vision to revolutionize the fashion world and promote Africa, using Ankara fabrics. Founded by Glory Ochiche, a twenty year old Undergraduate of Nursing, Ankara World is an African brand that specializes in the production of handcrafted bags, shoes, accessories and clothing in the most beautiful Ankara print, with a unique commitment to quality and customer service that cut across all ages in Africa, Europe, Asia and USA. With the goal to be a leading brand in the fashion industry, Ankara world is making a statement with its Ankara handmade products to suite costumers.
Hello! It’s great to have you on LLA, Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I’m Glory Unung-Atabuchi Ochiche, I’m 20 years old and an undergraduate of Babcock University, Nigeria, studying Nursing Science. I would have been graduating by next year, 2020 but discontinued after my 200 level due to financial constraint. I’m a native of Bekwarra in Cross River State, Nigeria and I’m the first among three siblings. I am God fearing, disciplined, hardworking and love challenges. I am passionate about Jesus and Fashion.
I’m the face behind Ankara World Business Empire, IG handle (@ankaraworld__). It was founded with the vision to revolutionize the fashion industry with Ankara handmade crafts such as bags, shoes, accessories and clothing.
Your business is Ankara inspired, can you share what inspired you to go into this particular business?
I was out of school due to financial constraint, my parents income were no longer meeting our daily needs as my mum owned a smallshop were she sells Ankara fabrics and my dad was retired from work and wasn’t paid his benefits from his respective employers. Being the first child I had to look for a way to assist my parents in meeting our daily needs and funding the education of my younger ones. So I got a job at a fashion firm as a makeup artist and a receptionist. I wasn’t paid a dime! For the months I worked. I resigned and took courses in photography, very close to my mum’s shop. After I graduated from the photography course, I decided to join my mum in the shop. Still our income wasn’t meeting our daily needs. I cried to God to give me an idea that can create wealth, and I woke up one morning with the idea to make other things in Ankara such as bags and accessories (bangles, earrings, neck piece). My mum made arrangements for me to learn how to make bags, and I put my knowledge into use immediately, sales increased. That’s when the name Ankara World came to me. To make everything possible in Ankara.
When you launched your business, did you have prior knowledge on how you could run one? How did you make it work?
When I launched out I never had a prior knowledge on how I could run the business except the little knowledge I had about the different types of Ankara fabrics that I learnt from my mum and their prices. Since the idea came from God, I had to rely on Him and the Holy Spirit for direction and instructions. As God will have it, a friend of my Dad sent him some money out of which he used to get me a phone. And then I opened an Instagram account. I was again clueless! I began to use my photography skills to take good quality pictures and I stayed up late to read up on how Instagram works, I attended various webinars and put all I learnt to practice along with prayers and covenant giving to God. It facilitated my visibility on Instagram and earnestly this promoted and increased my sales and still counting.
Why entrepreneurship and what’s the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship that you’ve heard?
The working experience I had, where I worked for four months without getting paid pushed me to see how I could make money for myself and improve my family’s standard of living.
The greatest misconception is that entrepreneurship is rosy and easy. And that it’s the fastest way to make it in life. That is not very true. There is the problem of capital to invest. You need discipline, hard work, patience and tact to deal with artisans and customers.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business recently and how has that worked out?
Firstly, I gave a face lift to my Instagram page by organizing my Bio, introducing templates and properly designed highlights. I made my caption more realistic, relatable, funny and captivating. I used more hashtags relating to my products, I joined various PODs to boost visibility on Instagram. I made sure I posted customer’s reviews. Then I enhanced the quality of my products to meet customers taste and standards. I also got more hands to meet demands. I introduced courtesy bags and better packaging of my products. The demands for my products increased, alongside followers and profile visits.
As an entrepreneur, you must have encountered different kinds of people, what have you learnt most and what will you say has been the highlight of your journey so far?
Absolutely! I have encountered different kinds of people. The difficult, the polite, the rude, the patient, and impatient individuals. I have learnt to deal with each customer / artisan accordingly. I have learnt that it’s not possible to please everyone. I’ve learnt tolerance, meekness, perseverance and how to handle difficult people. I also learnt how to treat people with respect. The Highlight of my journey would be when a customer places an order, gives a lovely review, comes back to place another order and then make referrals! It gives me so much joy, its super encouraging!
What will you say is responsible for your success?
I wouldn’t say what, I’ll say who! God alone is responsible for the success of Ankara World! His grace coupled with encouragement and support from my parents, siblings and hard work, integrity, discipline and the determination to succeed. I also believe that giving to God’s cause, as I increase the percentage of my tithe based on the insight of the Holy Spirit.
What unique challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurship journey, and what’s kept you going?
There are bound to be disappointments as far as you’re working with human beings. Even machines do disappoint. But one unique challenge I’ve faced on my journey to entrepreneurship is handling the artisans that work for me (as all of them are far older than I am, and they see me as a small girl) and capital to expand the business. But the determination to succeed and God’s grace, mercy and strength kept me going.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
To become a world brand, to have Logistics services, a well equipped factory for production, to hire skilled workers, train new ones and create jobs for the teeming youths. To also establish a foundation for the financially challenged. To inspire people and make them believe that they can do anything they set their minds to with the help of God.
Can you share some strategic tips for upcoming female entrepreneurs to be successful in this path?
a. let God guide you to identify your area of gifting/talent
b. Be focused, passionate, disciplined and hardworking
c. Take your business online and invest in it
d. Avoid competition! Do you! Be yourself. Everybody has their own path to follow
e. Acquire more knowledge in your field, such as attending webinars, seminars and reading up. Use Google a lot
f. Improve on your customer relations skills. Build your character. Let your customer’s satisfaction be your major motive
g. Treat people well
h. Join Instagram PODs to boost visibility, use hashtag related to your brand, post at least twice a day, post good quality pictures with good captions, make your Bio tidy and precise. Let your profile be attractive and organised. Post regularly on your instastory, always include prices on your posts.
i. Be innovative and creative
j. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all this things shall be added unto you! Matthew 6 : 33
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email email@example.com, and she could possibly be featured.