An LV bag got missing and two young people who had been friends for five years, decided they had had enough of foreign designer bags and so they came together in partnership, to start a business. Their names: Oreoluwa Osoba and Adanna Ngwube, and the business – Coz Designs. Co-founder Oreoluwa is the creative director while Co-founder Adanna is the business manager of the business Coz Designs.
Coz Designs is a luxury bag brand which is less than 2 years, but as at today, it can boast of clientele in over 16 countries. Speaking about how it is that they have come this far in such a short period of time, Adanna had this to say; “Every day has been a miracle”.
It would interest you to know that these two did not study anything closely related to bag making at the University; Adanna is a computer engineering graduate while Ore is a computer science graduate, both from The North American University, Houdegbe. Ore graduated with a first class. Speaking on how their parents took the fact that they were leaving white collar jobs into bag making, Ore said “My dad said I was mad”, “My dad told me that I was useless, because he could not fathom how I would leave computer engineering for bag making” Adanna said. “It was a big struggle, but now they are so proud of us” she continued.
One would wonder what fuels the inspiration behind the different designs of bags which they make, “I try to put in mind the person I am designing for and the character I want the bag to take on, because when I am sketching my designs, I want the bag to not just represent you, but also represent your character and give you confidence.” Ore said. “We try to make bags that suit your sense of style. We believe that there is a bag for everybody. When people come back with their positive feedbacks about the bags, it makes us very happy” as quoted by Adanna.
Speaking on surviving in this harsh business climate of ours, Ore said, “It is actually hard, there were days when we almost gave up.” He brought to remembrance, a time when there was fuel scarcity and so they couldn’t fuel their generators in order to produce, even make deliveries, and clients kept calling in for their bags.
Social media seemed to have made a huge impact at driving sales for the bags, as Ore emphasized that especially when celebrities purchased their bags and put it up on social media tagging them, people eventually always followed from there, and more followers led to more potential clients. “We are on all social media platforms, Instagram, and Twitter (@coz_designs), Facebook (Coz Fashion Designs).
When asked how they got investors or sponsorships, Ore said “So far, we haven’t gotten any investors, or sponsorships, we had to save our allowances for about a year when we were in the university in order to be able to raise funds to start.” According to the duo, they always knew that they wanted to do something after school, but they didn’t know what exactly. So, it was when the bag got missing that they decided to go into bag making. When asked their price range, Ore said “Between 20,000N to 40,000N. We believe everyone is entitled to luxury.” Adanna said “For a luxury brand, we are actually quite affordable”.
Speaking on their plans for their short and long term goals, Ore said “We would be launching our first store very soon and also, in the long run, we plan to launch stores all over the world. We are currently shipping to 16 countries and we plan to expand. Also, for short term goals, our biggest collection yet is coming out this year. We also plan to get investors in the next coming years, we are just being very careful”. He went on to recount a bad experience they had with an investor. Apparently the supposed investor was being shady with them and saying some things that didn’t add up and when they confronted him, he said that he planned to actually buy over the company because they wouldn’t make much sales in Nigeria. Adanna said “He said we were going to be at the background and at least our children would know that we started something, and we refused of course”. “It was very bad because we really needed the money at that point, we didn’t even have money for transportation from there that day, and when he drove past us after the meeting, he just shook his head”, Ore said.
On collaborations, Ore said “We have done a shoot with Yomi Casuals, we are being careful because a bag is an accessory and the beauty of an outfit can easily steal the shine away from the bag”. Speaking about aspirations, Ore said, “I love the designs of the creative director of Fendy, his designs are so spot on, and creative.”
Culled from Issue 15