How I developed interest in Aso-Oke — Mayowa Alajo
Mayowa Alajo is the brains behind the bespoke fashion jewelling outfit, Mastic Beads. In this interview with Rotimi Ige, she speaks about her sojourn in the fashion industry, among other issues.
Tell us a bit about yourself and early memories of family life:
I was born into the family of Pastor and Pastor Mrs Amure of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), from Osun State, a few decades ago. I graduated with a B.Agric from Olabisi Onabanjo University( OOU) in 2005 and I am married with beautiful children.
When did you take an interest in fashion?
I developed interest in fashion right from my university days. I started with bead making and was also selling ready-made clothings/accessories.
When did you decide to take it up as a business?
In 2012, but fully in 2015.
What challenges did you face?
The number one challenge I faced was getting sincere weavers and access to information. Considering the fact that I did not have the background of Aso oke, but the flair for the business stemmed from my younger sister’s wedding thus I had to learn on the job.
You are one of the most popular Aso- oke customers in the South West. Why Aso Oke?
I realised that it will afford me the opportunity to showcase and embellish the already rich Yoruba heritage/dress- culture especially as it is now becoming acceptable even beyond Yoruba society. Also, it gives me the opportunity to be creative without having to be conscious of western acceptance.
What peculiar designs do you do?
My designs are based on inspiration as well as my client’s desires. We work at continuously standing out and exuding creativity.
You also ‘bling’ different fabrics and do some by hand. What is the difference between those done by hand and those done with machine?
The hand remains the tool in both cases as even the machine is operated by hand. (laughs). The difference however lies in the cost, pattern and delivery time.
Are your customised aso-oke expensive?
Price/cost is always suggestive but everyone can have one based on his/her budget.
What would you say is Mastic’s unique selling point in the fashion industry?
Credibility- being true to what we promise as well as ensuring customer satisfaction all the way. Also, we believe in giving back to the community, hence we give different promotional packages at different times to ensure happy customers all the time. Another one is coming soon and it will be advertised.
What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is a trend, an outward virtue involving the totality of creativity while style is about an individual and related to fitness/suitness.
You are also a musician. What inspires you to sing?
The word musician sounds too much of a qualification for me. Maybe a lover of music and a singer would be more appropriate for me. However, my motivation for singing comes whenever I see the wonders of God, when I reflect on who He is and my mood.
Any plans for music as a profession or is it only a past time?
Definitely yes. It is part time, at least for now. No-one knows tomorrow, as they say.