My name is Loveth Ezeifeka, the creative director for a handbag brand called DE LOVÉT. DE LOVÉT is passionate about making beautiful, functional, and timeless bags for every woman. The primary goal of the company is to design handbags that empowers all women to walk with confidence and color at a coach price. I design all product in house and we focus on direct to consumer retail channel selling all our product online through our e-commerce site, pop up’s or show rooms.
I stay motivated by… setting daily goals
Three adjectives that describe me are… Ambitious, Determined and Passionate.
If I could have dinner with one person it would be… Oprah because of her strong will to making an impact in the world.
The most exciting innovation to me is… the creation of Instagram.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
I have always wanted to be my own Boss. I never enjoyed working for anyone and I still don’t enjoy it. I grew up in an entrepreneurial household, my parents owned a hotel and automotive business. Growing up I have always watched them set the tone of the day, they lived on their own terms and that has always inspired me to be like them. Working for different organizations, I discovered that I like making my own rules and following instructions and directions just never worked for me. I quit my job and embarked on this entrepreneurial journey.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
My business idea started with wanting to put Africa on the map. So I asked myself how do I put Africa on the map? and the first thing that came to my mind was empowering woman across the world. The next steps were how? Fashion. Being African, I wanted to build a brand that would empower women across the world. A brand that is owned by black excellence and focused on empowering confidence in women from across the globe. I choose to start my brand exploring handbags. Handbags are the most powerful accessory, it sets the tone and image of your persona. From a structured handbag you can tell a woman is more serious. From the color of a bag you can tell she’s fun or bold.
I aim to create a recognized handbag brand that African women across the globe would choose over popular brand names like Michael Kors, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Prada etc. This is what inspires me and pushes the limit to make a difference and add value in the world. As the brand continues to grow I want my story to empower all women and encourage them to support women of color.
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
I spent years working in Retail, Banking and Fair Management. In those management jobs I built strong communication, customer service, sales, technical and organizational skills which helped me run DE LOVÉT. My last Job was working in the Bank as a Manager Customer Service. This role included addressing customer complaints in a timely manner, recruiting top talents for the bank, leading a team of customer service representatives, coaching and developing my team to be successful in meeting business priorities (I.e. Customer satisfaction, Sales volume etc.). I have always loved management roles because it gave me some sort of flexibility and power. I could make some rules and break very few but above all I learnt a tone of relationship management, ownership and accountability which I find useful in preparation for my entrepreneurial journey. As an entrepreneur building a strong rapport with your workers and customers is the best foundation to running a successful business. I learnt how to resilient and resourceful; discovering the best ways to reach the maximum potential for DE LOVÉT. Those skills taught me how to put my every best to DE LOVÉT and give a 100% dedication to my journey.
Do you have a fixed work routine? Is it important to have one? Any tips for our readers?
Entrepreneurship is about the unknown journey and truth be told its hard to have a fixed work routine. I do not have a fixed work routine; every day has its magic. Some days you have meetings that are impromptu. It may be important to have some sort of routine. As the company expands we may need to get into more routines just to manage priorities in the organization.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for female founders? How can we overcome it?
Funding has been the biggest obstacle. I started DE LOVÉT with my savings, no business background or connections in Toronto which was one of the hardest part of starting. There was no experience talking to investors, pitching my business plan to anyone and that is my biggest obstacle in regards to funding. I am still working on overcoming this obstacle, but as of now I am working on meeting more female investors that not only want to inspire and encourage women but want to support other female entrepreneurs through funding and strategic educational workshops.
Who is the one super successful person you look up to? Why them? Can you share their quote/ideology that inspires you the most?
Oprah Winfrey started when no one thought she could empower the lives of women. She turned her wounds into wisdom and surrounded her self with people that uplifted her. Today Oprah had made a remarkable impact the the lives of people. Especially black children. I find fear, failure and funds as a limiting factor towards my growth but Oprah never let any of those hinder her from being Oprah and serving people.
"Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." -- Oprah Winfrey
What is your biggest dream? Why? Describe your biggest vision for your business.
My biggest dream was to be the most influential woman in Africa as time passed by I wanted to add value to women and focus on impacting lives and not just wealth or power. When I started DE LOVÉT, I wanted the brand to do so well in North America; I embarked on a lot of trips to get into retail stores in the states, but I fast realized that putting Africa on the map is an even bigger vision. I want to make a brand that Africans choose before brand names. A brand focused on the middle ground between fast fashion and high end fashion. I always saw how Kate spade was loved by New Yorkers on my visit to New York. I found that the brand built trust first with New Yorker consumers (Heritage) before moving globally. This created a light in my vison for Africa. I want to create products that are trademarked and loved by my people.
Starting with Nigeria, my vision is to add value in Nigeria by building a brand that empowers women leadership. A luxury handbag brand that Nigerians will choose over any other luxury brand names. A brand that is clean, modern, trendy, functional, versatile, supports everyday hustle. A brand that is affordable to every woman in Nigeria and tells a story about walking women in confidence, color, power and leadership. My goal is to start with handbags empowering femininity with confidence and color and gradually introduce more lifestyle products like shoes, clothing, accessories etc.