Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa is the chief executive officer, Le Look Nigeria limited, a business outfit that produces exquisite and gorgeous bags. In this encounter with Stellamaries Amuwa, she speaks on how splendid ladies could be with corresponding bags, as well as the secret of her success.
What prompted your decision to making bags with African designs?
Actually it began as an accidental business because I did not set out to do this business but I had to because of my physically challenged sibling.
When I came back to Nigeria I discovered that because of my sibling’s disability he could not talk or hear and had nothing to do so we decided to set up something he could do with his hands. That was how we got the business name Le Look which means the Look, if you cannot talk or hear you can look.
Take us through your journey of success
It’s a very long journey, I have come a long way by all standard. Though it was rough initially but thank God so far it’s becoming rewarding
What have been the challenges so far?
One of the challenges has been power, you cannot do business successfully without electricity especially when you manufacture. Infrastructure is a major issue, we find it difficult here to compete with our Chinese counterpart. Most challenging is lack of raw materials and technology, we learn continuously from other countries that have excelled in bag productions. Another challenge is that most profits from this business goes into research and development we keep researching to get the best in all we do.
How far have you gone in achieving your goals?
If I’m to measure it in percentage, I have achieved 75 per cent of my set goals. The goal is to make sure our bags are seen everywhere and also made affordable, to this I say we have done excellently well.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Women are gifted with multi-tasking, one must not supersede the other as a woman you must learn how to bring everything together. Though it is stressful but I do not allow any of them to overwhelm me. I endeavor to do my best at home though I am a widow now and the breadwinner of my family but yet I have to balance both, according to the theme of this 2019 international women’s day ‘Balance Better’ as women we must learn how to balance work/ life.
Who are your clienteles?
Nigerians, African and Europeans have been patronizing me. Schools come here to make purchase on large quantities for their pupils. Individuals come in to buy for themselves, children, wives, husbands just anyone who comes in here must get something to buy for their loved ones. We have corporate African fabric made laptop bags, traveling bags, hand bags, picnic bags, make-up bags, pencil-case even tissue paper holders. We are the Look of Africa, we make functional bags in large quantity for souvenirs. The average European likes African prints and when they see them in bags it’s wow! Though sometimes they do not wear African print but when it comes in bags they happily carry it.
How affordable are your bags?
They are very affordable, we have bags sold for five hundred Naira and we have bags here also that we sell about a hundred thousand Naira it really depends on what you want in a bag. If you want bags made with expensive leather you can’t expect to get it cheap and if you want bags made with small fabrics you can also get it here. We service all class in the society no discrimination here, your pocket only determines what you get.
What is your advice to other entrepreneurs?
My candid advice is persistence, stay focused, research more on whatever business you choose to engage in, be aggressive about knowledge and don’t be laid back also adopt best practices no cutting corners.
What has life thought you?
Life has thought me humility, resilient and focus when it comes to business. Poverty has been my greatest fear in life.
What prompts your urbane look?
I don’t eat junk, I eat well prepared food and I do a lot of exercise. I also keep away from bad habits.
What would you like to change about life?
I want people to stop hating one another; do not talk down on other people. I like the fact that the federal government is cutting down on hate speeches.
What is that fashion accessory that you can’t do without?
My bag, I cannot do without Le Look bag.
Where do you want to be in the near future?
I want Le Look bags to be in the committee of world famous bag makers like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Givenchy Antigona Duffel, Fendi Baguette, Chloe Drew. I want Le Look to be known all over the world.