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BN Features: Livinia Accessories

Ijeoma Balogun

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9634_288079175433_847555433_9350219_598071_nIt is the small businesses that make a buoyant economy, and here at BN we make it our responsibility to encourage individuals who have taken the bold step to set up their own businesses.

Chiamaka Iwunze is young and doing something entrepreneurial in fashion. She took her love for jewelry and transformed it into Livinia Accessories. Her passion, persistence and drive in running her accessory retailing company have taken her accessories from the University campus to various  fashion shoots, shows and magazines.

BN chats with Chiamaka on the success of Livinia Accessories.

Bella Naija: Why did you decide to go into accessory retailing?

Chiamaka Iwunze: I decided to go into accessory retailing mainly because I love jewelry. Also, my friends always admired the jewelry I had on so I decided to make some little cash on the side while as a student by selling them. My sister was my rock; she was the one who bought all the lovely jewelry I sold back then.

BN: Did you experience any difficulty in establishing your business and gaining customers?

CI: I started selling accessories about five years ago and that was when I was a student so getting customers wasn’t difficult. When I finished school it was a bit more challenging. I took part in photo shoots with fashion magazines such as Genevieve magazine, True Love magazine, Exquisite magazine, Next’s Elan magazine, Sideview magazine and a host of others. Livinia was also fashion partners with Zebra Annual Ball, The Future Awards, Celebrity on the Runway and Naija Sings showing on Mnet. All these and God’s special grace made establishing and gaining new customers easy and interesting.

BN: How do you generate new customers?

CI: Fashion shoots and shows are one of the ways I use to generate new customers. Apart from that, I try to ensure that my jewelry are unique and affordable because I know word of mouth is still one of the strongest means of advertising. Many of my new customers were generated as a result of a friend or two telling them how good my jewelry were. I also place advertisements in some magazines. Facebook has been a blessing to me because most of my clients who are celebrities were contacted through facebook and appointments were fixed. Lastly, I keep my ears open to news on sales and exhibitions and take part in them e.g. Le Petit Marche

BN: What’s the atmosphere like for a young entrepreneur?

CI: Being a young entrepreneur has had many advantages. I have been blessed and I would say many of my clients especially the ones who are fashion designers and celebrities are always impressed and encourage me for my efforts and success. Though, it has not always been smooth. All in all, it’s been very fun and full of new experiences.

BN: How is Livinia Accessories run?

CI: I have another full time job as a pharmacist so my business is run to fit into my job as a pharmacist and it is not so tasking because we run shifts so when I am not working in the pharmacy, I am doing Livinia Accessories stuff. Every week, I set goals I want to meet for Livinia Accessories and I try to achieve them. I place my orders for my jewelry, send some jewelry to customers who want to buy either in their offices or homes because I find that many working class ladies don’t seem to have enough time to go shopping for their own indulgences, do a few bank checks and keep my books.

BN: What skills are necessary to run a successful accessory retailing company?

CI: I think to run a successful accessory retailing company one needs to be have passion for what one does, be determined and accountable. Determination keeps you grounded and on your toes even when things are tough. One needs to be accountable to yourself, to your company and your customers. Accountability to yourself means being able to separate your personal money from your business money and not mixing them up, accountability to your company in the same sense and treating your company like a separate entity that should be treated specially and accountability to your customers in the sense that they are reason why you are running your company in the first place and earning their trust and respect is paramount. All these skills and are the keys to running a successful accessory retail company. Also, God has been the key to my success.

BN: With clothing retailers keeping up with seasonal trends is very key, is it the same with accessories?

CI: Keeping up with Seasonal trends with jewelry is not as tasking as it is with clothing. Most jewelry are timeless and could come in handy for many seasons. However, I try to watch out for particular accessories which become a popular trend. Like brooches, they were associated with our mums and grandmas for church but now they are back and capturing the hearts of every generation. Generally, many of my clients have their own individual style so I try to meet every client’s style demands.

BN: How are you able to deal with the new consumerism patterns with the onset of recession? Or has nothing changed?

CI: Things have not really changed, Nigerian ladies are very fashion conscious and would always try to keep up with trends and look their best in any situation. However, I encourage my clients to buy more jewelry by selling at very affordable prices, offering discounts as well as free gifts for specific purchases. In general, it has been good and hopefully, can only get better.

Livinia Accessories operates a stall at Le Petite Marche (La Saison 42 Raymond Njoku street, Ikoyi Lagos) every last sunday of the month.

Call : 08033856831

22 Comments

  1. fokasibe

    February 15, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Impressive!!! Good luck…may visit you one of these last sundays!!

  2. Tola

    February 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Fantastic! Keep it up. . .

  3. Nneoma

    February 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

    very impressive!!! kip up d good work

  4. jd

    February 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    i think she went to my primary school. am not sure molly or A- z lol. if she is who i think she is am not surprised, she was always at the top even from a young age. kip up d good work.

  5. Nneka

    February 16, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Great work here Chiamaka! I’m going to show this to some people!I can’t help but say “well done!” again.

  6. F

    February 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

    omg i went to molly for like 2 years…haha..lol

  7. misstee

    February 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    chiamaka thumbs up!ur an inspiration for intending entrepreneurs like myself.

  8. jd

    February 17, 2010 at 2:12 am

    really?. thank God. i went to molly for a yr. when did u finish.

  9. gbemi

    February 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I’ve bought some stuff from Chiamaka that I really love. double thumbs up and all the best 🙂

  10. chioma

    February 20, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Chiamaka has really done well for herself.. remember when she started. She had so much passion and I am not surprised she has gotten this far.. more grease to ur elbow chimax

  11. Tosin

    February 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Good work girl…always knew u had it in u.

  12. otiri

    February 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I have brought her pieces and they are awesome and are very reasonably priced. Infact my mum loved it so much when I got her a piece on her birthday.x

  13. Funmi

    March 8, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Chiamakas accesories are the bum… av gotten pearls,earings,bracelets etc from her from over 3 yrs and still use them till date.Am proud of you dear.

  14. nwakaego

    March 10, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Great work girl!!! Wish you all the best in everything. You will go places…

  15. deola

    March 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    hi keep up the good work.I am also into jewellery but more like ethnic types. just wondering, does Chiamaka design or make the jewellery herself or does she just market and sell them? thanks

  16. Modupe

    May 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Nice. Still love wearing that earring i bought from u in camp (nysc)…my frends love it

  17. OlucciArmani

    May 14, 2010 at 2:47 am

    awww….we went to the same high school,
    chiamaka,more grease to your elbow. i’m so proud of you dear…..:):)

  18. Joblist

    June 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Splendid, I like your drive, keep it up girl

  19. tolu

    July 6, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    so proud of you darling……i know you`ll go places

  20. sexychic

    July 15, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Aww…. Chiamaka my friend……u shall go places wi dis…. Bin a customer 4 5yrs n believe mi, I stil use her jewelries til date…proud of u.

  21. amamgbue

    August 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    girl,you’ve done so much for yaself.we were classmates.beyond the sky is your limit,i’ll come around one of these last sundays.good work gal,im proud of you.

  22. luyi

    August 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I trust we’ll soon see a Livinia outlet on the Champs Elysee. congrats Ms. Chiamaka, love your passion and drive.

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