Entrepreneurship is becoming of huge importance in our community today. Back to base, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Nancy Seino is a Chic counsellor who guides the minds of those she’s been assigned to, and also goes ahead to guide our outfits. Fashion Lover, Creative Mind, Business Woman at heart, we couldn’t wait to meet this exuberant beauty & hear all we needed hear on her vast clientele, her dominance locally and internationally in the Fashion Industry and every thing Nancyish. Please read below on our exclusive interview:
Passion Fruit: AJU B! Let’s have that runway “salut”.
Aju B: ( cutsies and bows )*lolling*
Passion Fruit: But you know we’ve being wanting to have this interview forever! But you ditched us for Yoruba Fashion Week was that…smh?! But we understand though.
Aju B: Hahahahahah noo don’t mind me. I was pressed for time and busybody wouldn’t let us have the interview. It was African Fashion Week Nigeria and I’m glad u understood.
Passion Fruit: Wow you was at the Fashion Week in another country!
Aju B: yes i was. Very exciting stuff.
Passion Fruit: Congratulations, we are Global now! *laughs*…
Aju B: Hahahahahah yea we are, slowly but surely.
Passion Fruit: There was lots of networking, could see you in pictures with people from all over Africa? And lots of cute guys too… that’s when I actually loved your job, hmmmm. how would you say you got a ticket to this grand event? And did it benefit our brand, AJU B?
Aju B: Yea lots of networking and exchange of ideas. Met people from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo, Nigeria, etc etc. And yea lots and lots of cute guys too hahahaha. Don’t tell me you loved my job only for the cute guys though and not the cute clothes hahahaha. Well I got the ticket to participate by applying earlier on in the year say January to participate at African Fashion Week and when my application was accepted I paid a registration fee to secure my space and then was good to go. Well AFWN was a great opportunity as it ushered me into the international scene and helped me see how the big shows are organised and executed. Also it opened my mind on how other fashion designers especiallybigger brands are making it profitable for them and gave me opportunity to work with others more in the future. Also it gave me the opportunity to visit Nigeria for the first time so definitely a plus in my book. Lol
Passion Fruit: *giggles* Damn right. And ohhh ofcourse we love our AJU B clothes. Who cute guys epp? *winks*.
Nancy, you are the founder of AJU B. You did the elementary education, and of course we know designing or fashion was no subject in High School. At what point in your life did you discover your passion for designing? How & when did you begin manifesting in it?
Aju B: Yea I am the founder of Aju B. And yes we all went to the nomal elementary school like everyone. Never been to a fashion school, though would love to do that sometime etc. Let’s say I discovered my love for fashion in the university. I loved clothes, loved dressing up especially loved standing out. Then when the Ankara craze kicked off in naija I was like why can’t we have this here. Of course I was always the girl who drew designs etc and had a mastery of needle work from a very young age thanks to my mom. And had the basic tailoring skills from.growing with an aunt who was a tailor. So when I was graduating from university I started seriously thinking of taking fashion as a career path. I enlisted a few tailors and started off with my very little first collection selling from door to door. For jewelries I just kind off tried out my hands at something and it came out as one and have just been doing that ever since.
Passion Fruit: I admire your designs and embroideries a whole lot. The way each button or even something as simple as the zip complements the whole creation. And the fact, it all is African themed. Why focus on the African Print?
Aju B:Thank you very much. I just love our print soo much. Like if I go anywhere and two people are walking and one is dressed in print my eyes will see the print first. I would love to use contemporary fabric but right now I’m still amazed by the beauty and possibilities of the African fabric and that’s why I’m still using it.
Passion Fruit: (follow up) so I am interested to know this: is the goal re-creating European style using African Fabric or AJU B invents its own unique patterns?
Aju B: Well fashion is a cycle and the key is bringing your own touch and uniqueness to each clothing. Most of the time I am inspired and create something new from scratch and other times maybe a sleeve on a dress or frills on another can inspire me to design an out fit of my own. But the most important thing is to bring your own unique touch to every piece. Sometimes you can actually design something and in production you change it completely to something else.
By the way, I released my newest and first ever full collection called the Silver Roots Collection and it can be found on all my social media pages; the collection exhibited at AF. The collection doesn’t only celebrate the Cameroonian culture but also portrays how elegant and versatile our Cameroonian culture is in style and aesthetics.
Passion Fruit: What does the name AJU B stand for?
Aju B: Lol!! I knew that question was somewhere. Well Aju B is kinda my name. My last name is Ajuamba and when I was in secondary school my classmates used to call me Ajubrown. So when I started my brand Ajubrown seemed so childish and so I cut it to Aju B and that was the birth of something new. Lol!!
Passion Fruit: Hahahaha… AjuBrown, ok! Well what we see are beautiful clothes, in African Prints by AJU B. But your brand is a STATEMENT far across our communities and GLOBALLY. It represents the AFRICAN DREAM, and Prowess. It represents the beauty in our culture and symbolizes an AFRICA that can unite and be great again. Is this your dream? And as a growing brand, how do you plan using your influence to sensitize our Public to this effect.
Aju B: Woww thanks for this analysis. Aju B through African fashion and accessories is definitely trying to make a statement that we can incorporate our culture and products in our everyday lives especially how we dress and still stand out. We are trying to proof that our culture is beautiful and can be appreciated vis-à-vis the western culture that has taken over the world especially Cameroon. Next year we intend to make more contact of not only our products but variety of other brand products, making it more visible and in contact with our ready consumers.
Passion Fruit: In a world where the European Brands are predominant, wide across, I know you face the pressure of outdoing yourself. How have you been handling ongoing challenges?
Aju B: yes the European brands are very predominant but I just try to carve out my own market. We cannot satisfy everyone and so can’t they also. So when you know who your targeted clients are you would concentrate on satisfying them and on what you have to offer.
Passion Fruit: We know there is that which makes every brand stand out? Sometimes it exceeds physical capabilities but collaboration with internal values – like kindness, great customer service, great countenance, great personality, organizational skills, punctuality, consistency, humility, respect & exhibition of love. As a CEO, which internal values have you adopted to enhance your business growth as well as your personal growth?
Aju B: Life is all about growth and each day we are pushing to improve ourselves. So the values I try to perpetuate everyday through my brand is consistency, humility too for me is very important cause if you are not humble you would not learn what the universe and God is teaching you through every platform, I try to build trust and respect through my brand so even when I fail, the respect and kindness I exhibit will make you give me a second chance. No one is perfect but everyday in my personal life and through my brand, is an opportunity to learn and improve. And most importantly through my brand I try to show you my fear and love for God and try to win you to God’s side even with the littlest things like “God bless” at the end of every conversation and business deal.
Passion Fruit: “Follow Up” As a person, who is Nancy?
Nancy: ( sighs deeply) Who is Nancy really ??? Nancy is a God fearing, creative, humble person who is a Guidance Counsellor some days and moonlights as a fashion designer every other day. Nancy is a very deep person and has built a perfect balance between being bold and shy at the same time. . And also a terrible loner; I know its the blessing of being a creative mind.
Passion Fruit: Now liaise Nancy the individual and Nancy the entrepreneur, how capable is this person to turn this GUCCI obsessed community to an AJU B obsessed community?:
Nancy: Hmmmm one day at a time baby. One day at a time. I believe everybody has their own timeline they are working on and two years ago Aju B was working silently behind the scenes but today we are pushing to be a household name. So every year now we set goals and try to accomplish them and one day when God designates it we would be sharing the spotlight with Gucci and the rest.
Passion Fruit:*ecstatic* Yassss! That is the spirit! *then fixes up*, I think I should behave myself. AjuBrown, you see what you doing to me now?!
But we have spoken ‘bout Nancy as Nancy and Nancy as CEO? But who is Nancy as a Boss, friend, daughter, sister and Lover?
Nancy: well Nancy as a business person isn’t really different from Nancy as the boss, friend, daughter and sister. Lover ehmmm???????? But as every other persona I am both soft & tough, kind and strict and caring.
Passion Fruit: Nancy, Passion Fruit deserves an AJU B branded attire. No I know you are about saying we are virtual people and can’t have clothes. But gift us oo, we will dress the blog or ehmmm, our Passionista could represent us, Passion Fruit, in it.. fair play.
Aju B: hahahaha well yea your right. U do deserve one. So maybe we would figure a discounted something out. Right???
Passion Fruit: Hahahaha. Business Woman! I love that. *whispers* But ehmmmm, I suggest we do our bargain off Passion Fruit huh?! Cause if everyone sees my “beating price” skills here ehhh, they will now know I visit Marché NKOULOULOU.
Before we close up, any last words to the public?
Aju B: What lil nugget of wisdom am I leaving with the public?? Hmmmm well if you have a passion just keep at it, be consistent, work on improving yourself, set goals for your brand and trust every process you go through especially your incubation season because that is when you are being prepared and fortified for where you are going. Don’t compete with anyone. Just do you.
Passion Fruit: God bless AJU B. Looking forward to meet you at the New York Fashion Week red carpet. But that red carpet is notorious ooo. mamma, make we noh only start fight oo. I don’t want to lose my shoes and end up with a warp on my eye, biko. Plus earn a ban! *laughs hard*
Aju B: hahahahaha I hope to meet you there too. Oh and please we are more cultured to give into cat fights lol. Thank you for having me and it was a pleasure and more fun than my at first shy self could handle
Passion Fruit: That was Nancy Seino representing AJU B. For more on her designs and brand, find her on:
Facebook: Aju B /Nancy Seino