My husband and I were inspired by Coronavirus to found Udara London —Faustina Anyanwu, British-Nigerian entrepreneur and co-founder of Udara London
Faustina Anyanwu is a Nigerian entrepreneur based in London. She is also the publisher and co-founder of Udara London, an online fashion and lifestyle shop, which she recently co-founded with her husband. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about her husband and how they founded Udara London.
Why DID you and your husband decide to venture into same business line abroad?
My husband, Emeka, is a Chemical Engineering graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). Before going to the UK, he worked in several oil companies in Nigeria. And going to the UK, he studied law at the London South Bank University. He has worked in various capacities, in different sectors here in the UK before we started our own media and publishing business.
On the other hand, I studied Nursing and Midwifery in Nigeria and worked for several years at Havana Specialist Hospital in Lagos before I met my husband and came to the UK. Like any other couple, we started our lives after our wedding and together we’ve continued to work towards our vision.
At the beginning, I had to give up my career to have and nurture our children while my husband worked full-time. It was during this time we figured our common desire and vision in business.
We’re blessed with three beautiful and talented daughters and a son who is two years old.
What inspired you to found an online fashion lifestyle business?
I’ve always had a unique taste in fashion, though it’s not my strongest passion. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic struck, our businesses—especially our events businesses—were hit so hard. The situation opened our eyes to how vulnerable we were. We had to quickly analyse the situation and came up with the idea to launch the fashion and lifestyle retail online shop.
My husband and I have been in business since 2012, and it has been one of the greatest successes of our marriage. Our working and making decisions together have helped with our bonding, trust and growth as a couple. We’ve learnt a lot about each other and know where our strengths and weaknesses are. So, Udara is simply one of those ideas we have to work on and make a success out of it.
Why did you choose the name ‘Udara’? And what does it symbolise in terms of African symbolism and contemporary African fashion?
I thought of a unique name that is snappy, easy to pronounce and remember. Also, I wanted to project our Africanness. I thought, if apple, mango and other fruits are used as brand names for Western companies, why not our African fruit’s name?
Udara is a unique fruit found only in Africa. As a fruit, it is tenacious and beautiful. It has all the qualities I would like to achieve with the brand.
How did both of you manage to pull this Udara innovation off in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic has meant that almost everything has been completely shut down. We, in particular, have been completely shut down, which gave us an opportunity to rest and re-evaluate our strategy and the way forward. Also, using the available government opportunities, we had to quickly find a way to utilise those opportunities.
What kind of products and or services should we expect from Udara? And, what platform/app/website can they be found?
Udara is a retail platform for premium quality fashion and lifestyle products. We’re working with independent designers and product producers from around the world to supply us with their products. Our aim is to provide unique and high quality products that are not mass produced and are not on the high streets. Our website is: https://udaraofficial.com and we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin, at @Udaralondon
Fashion and lifestyle businesses require partnership with other brands. Do you currently have such partnerships?
We’re building partnerships with brands across the world. We have, at the moment, brands from Germany, Poland, Italy, USA, and we’re also working with some Nigerian and other African fashion designers to produce our ankara and African styles.
Are there any plans of setting up Udara Nigeria or Udara Africa?
Not yet. Our aim, at the moment, is to get our strong footing in the UK, gain some of the market share and then we can start to think of expanding our tentacles.
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