Eseoghene Odiete is an award winning young Nigerian fashion entrepreneur and the brain behind ‘Hesey Designs’, an African-inspired fashion label that produces one of the finest handcrafted afrocentric apparels and fashion accessories, comprising uniquely crafted bags, purses and shoes.
Odiete graduated from Covenant University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication in 2010 and unveiled the Hesey brand the following year.
One of the major highlights of the young Fashion Designer’s career was when she designed the sneakers worn by Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, to the launch of the Virgin Atlantic uniform recently in London.
Her feats in the space of two years from the official launch of her exclusive brand, is proof that entrepreneurship goes beyond the availability of large capital and a basket full of great ideas. Her zeal, determination and unwavering passion for fashion has placed her amongst the fastest rising young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, and Africa at large.
The young designer flagged off her business with the sum of N10, 000, which would have been considered a meagre capital for the sort of business she dreamt of building. However, her little start-up has metamorphosed into a very respectable and recognised brand. In addition, her doggedness and drive led her to be selected as one out of the few young entrepreneurs who clinched the Google’s Africa Connect Awards.
She recently shared the stage with notable public figures, like Richard Branson and Vivienne Westwood amongst others, following her British Council ‘Enterprise Challenge’ which earned her a special mentoring session with the Virgin founder and also gave her the opportunity to attend the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.
The 25-year-old was nominated for the Future Awards Africa and Tony Elumelu Prize in Business. She was also named named by YNaija as one of Africa’s 25 best entrepreneurs under 25 in 2015 and 40 under 40 Nigerian entrepreneurs by bizwatch.ng
Odiete also runs the Hesey Designs Empowerment Centre where she teaches thousands of women and youths how to make Fashion Accessories such as Bags and Shoes at little or no cost, thereby successfully helping Nigerian youths and women start and grow their own businesses. Over 50 of Nigeria’s Small and Medium scale business owners have benefited from The Hesey Design Empowerment Centre, which has helped to strategically position them as key players in the Fashion industry. She is also a “Volunteer at the Slum to School” Project and “Project One Million Souls”
She believes in encouraging African youths to start their own businesses rather than wait to get jobs, a cause she believes would help reduce the high rate of unemployment in Africa. She also speaks to women and youths in and outside Africa at Seminars, conferences and workshops.
In March 2015, in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, she spoke at the British Council on helping young female entrepreneurs make it in 2015 and beyond. In 2013, she made an appearance on Ibukun Awosika’s Ignite TV, in 2014, she was the Key note Speaker at the Diamond Bank Business Enterprise Conference, in September 2014, she spoke at the Connect ZA/British Council on the business of fashion in South Africa.
Also, in October 2014, Ese addressed female entrepreneurs at the Diamond Woman Enterprise Programme. Other speaking engagements include Future Awards Enterprise Programme, Girls Inspire Girls event, at the University of Lagos, British Council’s ‘mind the gap’ conference, Google Africa summit at the University of Nairobi, and several others.
As a social enterprise, Hesey Designs has grown, using fashion as an active tool to galvanize a generation of young Africans to action, with the aim of reducing the high rate of unemployment, while also building enterprise.