Meet Bukola Asafa, creative director for Oba Couture
Africa is blessed with talented creatives, and Bukola Asafa, CEO of Nigerian brand, Oba Couture is not an exception. Her amazing shoe and bag collections all have indigenous names, and that’s one thing we love about her brand. Read on to see what else there is to know about Oba Couture.
Please introduce yourself and your background.
My name is Olubukola Asafa, I was born into a family of five comprising of myself, mum, dad, 2 brothers and 1 sister.
My Dad worked with the Nigerian Television Authority and my mum was an Entrepreneur. I was born in Ilorin, Kwara State, and moved to Lagos at age 3.
I attended Queen’s College ( Yaba, Lagos) for my secondary school education, then went to the University of Abuja for my tertiary education.
Tell us about your work. How did Oba Couture Limited start?
It started in 2011 while studying for my MBA. I wanted to be an Entrepreneur and I wanted to start to implement all that I was learning.
Prior to that, I had been praying to God for direction. I started selling readymade shoes and bags, but because I love to create and work with my hands, I knew that I had to start making them.
I also noticed that a lot of footwear and bags which were made in Nigeria always claimed to be ‘Made in Italy’. I had many questions and so I decided I would make a difference and bring ‘made in Nigeria’ back. That was my mission.
How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
OBA means KING in Yoruba Language, but the brand OBA is referring to GOD the King of all Kings. OBA is also my initials: OLUBUKOLA BODUNDE ASAFA.
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
My niche market is buyers like me who are fashionable and want something unique and of exceptional quality.
Where do you get the inspiration for your products?
I get inspired from everyday living, time spent with loved ones, my quiet time, and sometimes just interacting with my customers.
Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?
Yes. I remember a bag I made for my Pastor (Pastor Mrs. Bemigho).
She ordered a bag to encourage me when I just started. It was an ankara bag and what makes it memorable is that it was made of carton (lol).
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
Some of the challenges are poor infrastructure, inadequate power supply, lack of adequate skill, and unfair competition with imported shoes and bags.
Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?
I have no regrets whatsoever. I love what I do and I am very passionate about my craft.
What is your most popular product?
Hmm. It’s difficult to say which one, but customers tend to purchase our unique line of male sandals more than the rest. So I guess those are more popular (lol).
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
Our exotic leathers are gotten from the northern part of Nigeria. We also try to make our products as natural as can be. We do not use the professional processing machines used abroad, and most of our products have unique African names.
What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?
For my business, my Short term goals are: Engaging in more unique strategies for sales and marketing , getting the word out and making our products more accessible to our target audience.
My long term business goals would be building a sustainable brand that will stand the test of time and build a lasting legacy.
For life in general, my short term goals would be to read more books and exercise more. In the long term, I’m working towards eating healthier, making every second count and impacting the world positively.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am a shy girl
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this Industry?
I would be a Lawyer
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
Do not despise the days of humble beginnings, you don’t have to start big you can start small and then grow.
And finally, please share images of some of your work and tell us a little about each product, and their Prices
OBA ‘Tutu’ crocodile skin bag is made of original crocodile skin and is our most expensive product. It is priced at N220,000.
I also have the OBA ‘Lala’ bag which has an edgy front flap which makes it unique it is priced at N40,000.
See more beautiful bags and Footwear by Oba Couture