As most of you know, we carry a variety of gorgeous, one-of-a-kind ankara and leather purses on our website. If you have purchased one of these bags, then you also know how well-made and durable they are. We pride ourselves on providing the best fashion goods and shopping experience for you all.
From the beginning, we promised that when shopping with us you can expect to buy fashion pieces that make you look and feel good, as well as learn about the stories of the designers we work with. Well guess what?! Today is the day that you get to learn about the amazing woman behind our bags, Nneamaka Nwosisi, founder and creative director of the Maknisy brand.
About 5 years ago, Nneamaka started Maknisy not knowing everything there is to know about the world of fashion and business and not knowing what the brand would become. All she knew was that she possessed a skillset, a passion, and a lot of determination.
Before Maknisy, Nneamaka worked at an organization in Abuja and thought that she would be there for a while. But in 2010, the organization closed and she quickly became a housewife and a new job seeker, which made her restless because she has always been someone who likes to work on projects, be hands-on, and stay busy. One night in 2011, she decided to take to pen and paper some of the creative thoughts and visions she had in her head. She started sketching handbags and soon found herself pulling out her sewing machine to make her very first bag. To her surprise the bag came out better than she had imagined but it was not as sturdy as she wanted it to be. Being a resourceful person, she made the decision to meet with a local shoe maker in hopes of learning how to add some structure to the bag. She spent almost a month with the shoemaker and they soon formed a partnership. The two agreed that she would design and sell the bags and he would produce them. But after only a few orders, the shoemaker became a disappointment. Nneamaka believed that she learned enough from him in the month that she spent observing his methods and decided to start making the bags herself. The following year, in 2012, Nneamaka officially launched the Maknisy brand and as they say, “the rest is history”.
She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.-Beau Taplin
Nneamaka’s love for bags is longstanding. Growing up, handbags excited her and she wanted them in every color and shape. As she got older, the process of creating a bag from scratch really intrigued her. So it only made sense to pursue a passion that had been brewing in her for so long. But as we all know, just because you have a passion and a vision doesn’t mean that the journey of entrepreneurship will be an easy one. Nneamaka had basic buying and selling experience due to her time spent as a personal shopper during college. But starting a business that would require her to produce and sell a product was a different ball game for her. She lacked in-depth business experience and therefore had to teach herself a lot of business strategies and principles. You could say there was a lot of trial and error involved. She also faced difficulties finding suitable employees that were honest and hardworking and had to manage the inadequate infrastructure in Nigeria that can make it hard to start, run, and scale a business.
But through it all, Nneamaka stayed focused and always kept her eye on the prize. She set goals and worked very hard to accomplish them. When asked what she has learned after being in business for over 5 years, she said that she has learned the power and importance of self-improvement and being resourceful. When you consistently challenge yourself to be better than you were yesterday and seek out information, you will come out ahead. Especially in the world of fashion, being flexible and staying knowledgeable about current trends is imperative. Furthermore, she learned the value of collaboration not just with other designers and brands, but with her team. Let me say that again. She learned the VALUE of collaborating with her TEAM. When you have a business, it is so vital that you never forget that you and your employees (or as I like to call them “dream facilitators” ) are a team and everyone’s role is to be respected, valued, and celebrated. Teamwork makes the what? DREAM WORK.
Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people.
There were times when Nneamaka felt like giving up and thought that maybe running a business wasn’t what she was supposed to be doing because it wasn’t what she had planned for her life. But she is thankful every day for the choice that she made because she is living a life that challenges her and makes her happy. At age 36, Nneamaka is an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother, and an inspiration to many. Nneamaka recently gave birth to TRIPLET boys (whew!), so I asked her how she balances the responsibilities of being a superwoman and she said that she plans and organizes her time very well. She makes sure to be a mother and wife first and she makes very good use of the supportive friends and family in her life. She takes her business very serious, but she also makes time for the things she loves, such as traveling and watching her favorite tv shows.
Nneamaka has grown Maknisy into a brand known for its quality and integrity and has no plans of stopping any time soon. In the next five years, she wants Maknisy to become the leading bag and accessory brand in Nigeria and she wants to export her goods all over the world. I can personally say that I have no doubt that she will accomplish those goals! Nneamaka has been such a pleasure to work with. She embodies kindness, intelligence, grace, and humility and is truly phenomenal. When I started Asa Afrique, she told me that she was rooting for me and it meant the world. Every step of the way she has been attentive, detail-oriented, and thorough with all my requests and desires. I can say without a doubt that the Maknisy brand will continue to be a part of Asa Afrique.
I really hope you enjoyed this post and to conclude, I want to leave you with this:
What is meant for you is meant for you. Stop worrying about the life you planned and start making the best of the life you are living.
Thank you for reading and be sure to check out our Maknisy products (see below)! Oh, and please feel free to comment :)
Founder of Asa Afrique
Check out our bold and beautiful handcrafted box bags and satchel bags made with ankara fabric.
Check out our mini Efuru handcrafted leather bags.