#LLAInterview Interview with ELP Participant: Zainab Zuberu Okhayole

Please tell us about yourself and your business

My name is Zainab Zuberu Okhayole (edobagmaker), I’m a microbiologist, a multi-talented fashion entrepreneur and the creative brains behind Zone A Creations.
ZONE A Creations is an Afrocentric brand that crafts and produces unique, high quality, affordable and Sophisticated handbags for the fashionable African lady both home and abroad. We also produce in bulk for other brands, taking off the production stress from them, make gift and souvenir items and train willing youth on the craft to help reduce joblessness and handbags importation into the country.

What major challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?

At first it was this stereotype that made in Nigeria products were of low quality. This made us invest in high quality raw materials and underwent various trainings both on and offline to help the brand stand out. Today we’re regularly being compared to premium brands like Gucci, infact we were nicknamed the Gucci of Africa
The other major challenge we faced recently was access to proper book keeping. One of the reason I attended the program, yes we can fully beat our chest anywhere now with our financials.
Thirdly, it’s somewhat difficult getting interns and apprentices to learn the craft, especially within our locality?
And finally access to funds to help get sophisticated machinery to give our products a better chance at fighting against other foreign counterparts.

How did attending ELP impact your business? And how will you put what you’ve learned into your business?

I already mentioned one above ?
Apart from the tremendous knowledge gained, we also had the opportunity to connect with like minded entrepreneurs, this have created room for collaboration and partnerships
We could also differentiate our target audience and coin specific plans on how to get to them.

You are one of the awardees of the business grant. How did you feel when your name was announced?

Honestly I wasn’t expecting it cos the competition was fierce, I was among the last 4 persons to pitch and everyone was on fire, I pitched under pressure though?
I was really surprised and very happy cos we really needed that grant

How will that grant help your business?

We’d acquire this machine that would help our bags come out better, finer and neater. It’d save our production time and help us be able to take in more of the ever increasing orders from our customers and also give us more time with our trainees.

Thank you leading ladies Africa

Thank you Coca-Cola foundation

Thank you edojobs

Edobagmaker and ZONE A Creations are grateful

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