Born in Lagos and lived there all her life, Vera is a third child in a family of 5 children. She studied Marketing And Management from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism 1995-1997, then proceeded for her Bachelors’ degree in International Studies and Diplomacy at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma from 1999-2004. Between 2007- 2009, she went for her Masters degree in Public and International Affairs University of Lagos.
One would think Vera is ready for a regular 9-5 job, but she couldn’t wait for it. She had to create her own opportunities. In a quick chat Vera says to me “necessity is the mother of invention! I got to a point in my life that for want of waiting for a guy to foot my bills I had to put my hands to work…a simple prayer of ‘ God I need something to do’ was all that I needed to kick off! The rest they say is history. My mum used to sew non- commercial so I guess creativity must have rubbed off on me . I also studied a lot of African history and subconsciously I decided to express myself through the arts via making handmade bags and accessories. These 2 key experiences prompted me to start off my business”
Sharing about start-up capital, Vera spent minimally in her early days “I started my craft with my mum’s sewing machine. My overhead was next to nothing…fabric materials are not expensive. All I needed was a functional product good enough for people to buy. Invest in research; keep creating and innovating!
As with all businesses there are high and low times. The key for me is to never rest on my laurels but to keep diversifying; creating; and innovating. Finding out what’s trendy and functional. The core of my business are all these and our ability at Oremicraft to customize to suit clients preference in terms of shape; color; design etc.”
And Talking about laurels, Vera has won some by her crafts. She was awarded scholarship to the Pan Atlantic University by the British Council to do the Creative Enterprise Program (CEP); a trip to Morocco to represent Nigeria in a Woman’s craft fair. She was the overall winner in a Mentoring Challenge with an NGO, Idea builders mentoring young sec school girls; overall winner IBM enterprise Challenge; overall winner …Creative Focus Africa Business Challenge; and while is school for her MSc she was awarded Most industrious female, Henry Carr, UNILAG Postgraduate Hall.
Talking about the business side of her passion, Vera has this to say “studying marketing before my other degrees prepared me for entrepreneurship. It taught me to carve out a niche in the market place; to create value and to stay with my passion and desires because only passion will see you through the down days. Basically I love what I do and do what I love. Because of the dynamics of the business I have ADHOC staff who I outsource jobs to. It gives me time to do my research and pursue clients . A growing business always gets to a point where it gets beyond one person I also have persons- in- training that come around to learn intermittently.
Because of my passion I stay inspired by doing lots of research and finding ways to get better and faster at what I do. I never think at any point in time that I have arrived! I see myself in the ‘ school of learning’ constantly finding new ideas; ways; terrain to explore. It keeps me moving on especially at times that business seems slow and discouragements seems to set in.
Oremi Crafts have orange of products, there is the exclusive line which include certain kinds of bags which are tailor made for bespoken clients. Then the mass produced for those either willing to resell OR as souvenirs for weddings these include but not limited to key ring holders; wallets; flip flops slippers; small carrier bags ; hair rosettes; bangles and earrings; neck pieces and all proudly handmade in Nigeria.
Visit her blog oremicraft.net