ADESINA OYENUGA

ADESINA OYENUGA

Now you're at Indego Africa. Do you want to give a brief overview of what their doing?

They are a non-profit, social enterprise. We work with artisans, mostly female artisans, in Rwanda and Ghana. We help train these artisans in different skills sets. A lot of them do sewing, some of them do jewelry work. We have a kids line now. The necklace that I’m wearing is from them. We train them and then after that, a lot of the women have the option of going into our leadership academy, and that's where we train them in business. Being business savvy and being entrepreneurs. Right now we're in our second year of doing that and we've had, I think, thirty women come out of that program and now a lot of them are starting businesses in Rwanda and Ghana. It's amazing.

 

That sounds incredible because a lot of charities give immediate relief but they don’t break the cycle of poverty.

Exactly. I think that, another thing is that their products are great. It's not like a non-profit that has OK products. Their products are amazing and really colorful and pretty.

 

That's so exciting.

Do you want to talk a little bit about the transition from Louis Vuitton to Indego Africa, because that is such a large jump.

After Louis Vuitton, I kind of didn't want to work in the fashion industry anymore. I took a break and I worked almost a year at a frozen yogurt shop. I was like, I don't know what I want to do with my life.

 

So Louis Vuitton sparked that much of a change in you?

Yes. After the frozen yogurt shop, I did a lot of research, just on different aspects of the fashion industry. I knew that there was so much more than just luxury fashion or fast fashion, but I wasn't really knowledgeable about the different facets. I learned about sustainable fashion and just looking at different companies that I thought fit my interests. At the time I was really interested in African fashion, my dad being from Nigeria.  I learned about Indego through Modavanti, do you know of them? They're an ethical fashion website, an ecommerce website.

 

Yeah, I don't.

They work with only ethical fashion retailers.
They're a really cool company as well. I decided to go through their site, look at all the companies that they work with and see if I had an interest in any of them and then I found Indego Africa.

 

What role did you take at Indego Africa?

Sales and communications was first.

I was working a lot with their social media and their newsletters. They're such a small company, I think there was only six of us. I was working a lot with their finances as well and then creative work, then also social media. So it was a very general role.

Then I became the production assistant and they asked me to go to Rwanda, Africa.

 

And that was with the Be Happy Trip?

Yeah. They asked me to work in production, and I'm like, I've never done that before but okay. Let me try this in a different country across the world.

 

How long were you there for?

For a month and a half.

 

Oh shit, I didn’t get that part. I thought, oh that's sweet, she was there for five days.

I went by myself and I was working with their team there. It was a great learning experience. That was my first time traveling abroad by myself. It was a culture shock.

 

You grew a lot.

Yeah, I grew a lot. I worked with the artisans one-on-one. I would go to cooperatives throughout the weeks and do quality control. I helped on a photo-shoot that we did in Rwanda for the kid’s line. It was a lot of hands on work.

 

Do you have any specific stories from that trip that brought home what you were doing?

It was when I was about to leave and we visited one of the artisans.

Her name was Theresa. We went to her house because she was working on some scarves for us. That was the first time that I went to one of their houses. She invited us in. It was a small house. She has three kids and one bedroom, but it was really nicely set up. Then she took us out to the back and she showed us the cow that she just bought and she was so proud of that because she used the money from Indego Africa that she earned to buy this cow and then she's selling milk on the side for extra income and sending her kids to school. It was just a really nice moment to experience and it brought everything home for me.

 

Wow, that is empowering.