When mentioning the leading name in the fashion industry La Penza Couture Africa will not be left out, having been in the industry for over a decade, La Penza has been clothing who is who in Nigeria society.
TOP SOCIETY MAGAZINE hook-up with Mr. Brenda Nwaokike, the man behind the name, La Penza, here he throws some light on the happenings, the challenges and success of the brand.
May we have the pleasure meeting you sir?
Good morning, my name is Brenda Nwaokike by God’s grace I am the CEO of La Penza Couture Africa, it’s my pleasure having you here this morning on this faithful day.
How did the journey start to become a household name, La Penza Couture Africa?
Well, La Penza Couture is a divine project and that focus drives it as a divine projects. It has actually brought so many things into existence today, where we are today, and by the power of love God made it possible for us to be where we are today and He is also taking us to where we are going tomorrow, He knows the final.
What is that singular thing that motivated you into fashion line?
Right from my childhood I have always been a fashion conscious person and even while growing up I make choice of cloth I wear, because of zeal of fashion in me, they have to name me a nickname “Ochorma para-aku” meaning that if you must look good you must have money, so I grew up with that love for fashion, from my childhood I have always wanted to look different even when they are buying things for my other siblings I make my choice myself because I know my choice will always satisfy me and people will appreciate it, so fashion has been in me but above it all, I’m from artistic family, in my house they are full of artistic people, my immediate younger brother is structure he can look at you and mode you without any photograph, the other one is a furniture maker, he does wonderful furniture that you will always ask who did this, the third one is an architect in fact we are artistic people is just in us, art runs in our blood. So that is why I decided to put together my imagination about things and bring it in a fashionable way in order to cloth people with love because we believe in love.
How old is La Penza Couture and at what point did you feel like quitting due to challenges of the business?
La Penza Couture has been in existence for over decade now, but officially we spring up as household brand for like going to eight years now, if I may say and by God’s grace La Penza Couture will be the biggest designer in Africa in the nearest future because we believe that by our teamwork and the grace of God we will make it happen.
In order for us to cloth the less privileges with one million cloths that has been ongoing over the years and it will keep on going, for us to achieve that we depend on the help of kind hearted people who love to put smile on the face of the needy, because this one million cloths initiative when it came up it looks as if it’s impossible but God have always made it possible, at least we have had our fourth annual charity visit of giving out one million cloths for the less privilege, it has being God all the way making everything possible. We have to standout because is not a man made fashion house.
What is that thing that has set La Penza Couture atop from every other designer?
Yea, that thing I will say is that La Penza Couture Africa is a divine project, happiness of millions of people depends on La Penza Couture, there is so many divine activities going on that even we in our little way of running La Penza Couture, we don’t know it, is a divine project beyond my own understanding what happens around La Penza Couture so with all these it suppose to stand out because is not a man made fashion house.
What does it take to succeed in fashion business?
For you to succeed in fashion business it takes integrity, delivery focus and self denier, if you must succeed in this industry you have to marry it because fashion business is a very jealous business, it need all your attention in order for you to create good impression, bring out a product that is well detailed and well processed, so it take honesty, integrity and team-focus to make it happen because you cannot function proper in isolation, for you to make everything work properly you need to have a teaming spirit.
Having been in fashion industry for eight years now, what are those challenges in the business?
One of the challenges in the business like I said early when you came in here is power in Nigeria, we need power not only in this fashion field, in other endeavors, if we have light here we will do wonders, there so many thing we would have been doing by now but power is limiting us, that is the basic challenge we face in this industry. Another challenge is when one is trying to do all thing himself, you know you cannot really do all things yourself when you have a challenge of multiple delivery at the same time that is where I said self denier, it take you to denier yourself some certain things, it can even stop you from eating at the right time that you prefer to eat just because you want to meet up, if you are good and you don’t deliver you are wasting your time, here we believe in delivery and we have been delivering over the years and by God’s grace we will keep on delivering , these are one of the challenges face in this industry.
Which is the biggest job you have done since you spring-up the brand?
I have done several bigger jobs for different individuals but there are some that have actually made me say o this is just a good deal. When I made some couple of cloths for Governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha, it was a big deal because I was given Bonduel, also when I made cloth for Senator Babafemi Ojudu of Ekiti State it was a big deal too and Deacon Kanu also has actually contributed to the growth of La Penza Couture I must confess that, also Eze Igbo Ghana, the Igbo king in Ghana was also a good deal when we made some couple of cloths for him and several others, we have had people that believe in us and have actually gave us some good deals that contributed to our continue stay in the business.
That is why we say that in La Penza Couture we believe that we make kind of cloth for the perfect people who knows what the detail of cloth is all about, who knows when a cloth is well made, this is the reason why our slogan is we design for the wise, we believe we design for the wise because we make sure we process our cloths before delivery despite the pressure, we prefer to deliver late and to deliver absent.
What is the coverage strength of La Penza Couture Africa, do you also reach out beyond Africa?
La Penza Couture is actually global because we have so many clients outside Nigeria, we have some individual shops, what I mean by that is we have some people who believe in us and decides to be our movie shops around the world so these are avenues that we use to offload our designs outside Nigeria or make some cloths for people outside, for now we are on air, we are mobile, we have mobile shops everywhere, we are in konga and different people around the world who chose to be our shop on their own.
Where do you see La Penza Couture Africa to be in the next five years from now?
In the next five years from now is actually only God that know where we should be, but we believe by doing thing aright in the next five years we should be able to have showrooms across Africa in different countries and we will be on our own permanent site in the next five years because five years is a whole long time for one to move from grass to grace, so in the next five years I believe we will be far away from where we are now and above all by then the one million cloths for the less privileged should have been completed in the next five years.