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Living Your Passion – Interview With International Milliner – Nena Kalu Ogba
With Social Networking it is easier and faster to meet so many new people. One of the new people I met is Nena Kalu Ogba. She is an international miller based in Lagos, Nigeria with a genuine spirit. A Milliner is a person who designs, trims and sells hats. Her hats are unique and you can’t help but get noticed wearing one of her designs. She has been featured in several magazines such as Royal Ascot and Vogue. She is currently featured in the Vogue October Edition. Aside from her designs, I admire her kind spirit and her ability to create kindness through her social network. Enjoy my inspiring interview with Nena Kalu Ogba, internationally renowned miller.
When and why did you become a hat designer?
Nena Kalu Ogba – I decided to become a miller out of curiosity. Even after graduating from fashion school, I still found hats a puzzle. I could barely see any stitches or joins and it just made me wonder how they were made so I started looking for a teacher. The teacher I found happened to be well known – she was the official royal milliner to the late Queen Mother of England. I didn’t learn to paint with the intention of making hats for other people. I just wanted to be able to turn some crazy ideas I had in my head into reality so I could wear some amazing creations to events. But when I returned to Nigeria, a family friend was getting married and my father asked me to make a hat and accompany him to the wedding as my mother was on holiday in the UK. I made a simple, striking hat that I wore to the wedding and noticed people walking up to me and asking where I got my hat. Every time I happily mentioned that I made it myself, they were surprised and asked me for my number.
That’s how my hat business was born and spread mostly by word of mouth before I had my first big exhibition and the media fell in love with my designs.
Where did you study fashion and design?
Nena Kalu Ogba – I studied fashion at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. I specialized in contour fashion, which includes evening and bridal wear, lingerie design, children’s wear, sportswear, swimwear. I later took short courses privately and also at Central Saint Martins College, London, where I learned to make handbags.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nena Kalu Ogba – I really get inspired by everything – lines, shapes, nature, animals, birds, flowers, sometimes it can even be a plate design or teacup design.
How have you been able to succeed in this industry?
Nena Kalu Ogba – By creating unique and original products, strong belief in myself and in God, determination to get to the top no matter what and constantly marketing myself through various media.
What advice can you give someone interested in a design career?
Nena Kalu Ogba – A career in design is not a roller coaster ride. You have to be focused, believe in yourself, be well grounded and super strong inside, determined to reach the top. No matter what happens, work around the clock to develop your imagination and creativity, ask a lot for design revelations, have a deep love for design and be clear about why you want to be a designer, be sure that you have the talent and strength to raise you. your competitors, be original and not a copycat and ready to endure. Finally, you must have a strong marketing team.
Where can people find your products?
Nena Kalu Ogba – My products are sold on my website – www.NenaKalHunter.com.
I have independent marketers and wholesale buyers who own shops or stores who also buy from me. My hats are purchased from customers all over the world and we ship to almost every country.
What are your next goals for you and your company?
Nena Kalu Ogba- I hope to create my full clothing line which is what I originally intended to do. This would be a line that would incorporate all aspects of clothing and accessories for men and women and be sold in stores worldwide.
Nnenna Pastor – Thank you Mrs. Nena Kalu Ogba.
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