Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chidinma Obinnakwelu of NMA Bags, located in Detroit, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We sell handbags that are handmade in West Africa (Nigeria) to women who appreciate the uniqueness and creativity of handmade products that not only complete their outfits in a stylish way but in a one-of-a-kind way as well.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Nigerian American, and on a visit back home, I witnessed the creativity of Nigerian artisans as well as the unique and stylish way the women dressed. It inspired me to bring a piece of African creativity to the world in the form of handbags. Through the ups and downs of business, what motivates me is the drive to redefine made in Africa and what we consider desirable. To show the world that Africa is much more than raw materials, we can be as productive and creative as anybody else in the world. Also bringing a new perspective on design in America; most people think you have to spend lots of money to get a quality handbag that wasn't made in a fast fashion factory; we are here to redefine luxury and give people an alternative and affordable brand that's not only quality but stylishly unique as well.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment would have to be conquering the inner voice that tells me I can't do it. I believe once that is defeated, the journey becomes easier and even more fun. Due to us being brand new, opening last year in October, we are still in the stage of brand awareness, but rather than see it as an obstacle, I see it as a fun challenge.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is self-doubt. I know you were expecting me to say sales, but those are not hard if you have the money to hire professionals; they are just challenging when the finances are not there. But regardless of financial availability, if self-doubt is evident in you. Your business will struggle more than it needs to; you make the key decisions, and if you don't trust yourself, you won't be in the right mindset to make good decisions for the betterment of your business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I would once you have that idea, sleep on it. If you still believe you want to do it start looking into it. Look at the pros and cons; look at others already doing it. Look at how you can make your idea unique and then execute it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; that's how you learn and grow; try different things. Take breaks if needed, but don't give up.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.