SAP 022 - Mirian, Lilian and Mary Ugokwe; how three sisters are breaking racial stereotypes by showcasing Africa's beautiful culture through fashion



Mirian, Lilian and Marysonia Ugokwe on the #socialAfricanshow

Mirian, Lilian and Mary are the founders of Dashiki Pride.

These three siblings were born and raised in Aba, Nigeria to parents that are avid entrepreneurs. 

They started Dashiki Pride in the summer of 2014 on a mission to educate the world about the beautiful African culture. 

Personal life  

“We grew up in Aba, Nigeria. We were there until 2007 when we moved to the USA.”

“Going to school, people didn’t really like African things. They made fun of our accents and the way we look. A lot of people said some ignorant things.”

“In our minds, we have always looked for ways to make people appreciate our beautiful culture”

Areas of expertise

Mirian – “our roles interchange because we work as a team. I do all the analytical work, the strategies and manage the Facebook page.”

Mary – “I’m in charge of shipping, stock and coordinating shipments. I am also in charge of the Instagram page.”

Lilian – “I’m in charge of all the promotions that can give our brand more exposure and customers.”

A top-tip for anyone starting a fashion brand

“Learn how to use digital marketing. We have left the traditional route of going after magazines, stylists or all these people."

"Right now we are at a time where you can just promote yourself and reach your audience directly.”

“Digital media literacy is very important.”

“Another thing is to look at what people around your space are doing, test the market and have the discipline to strategise.”

Lowest entrepreneurial moment

“It was this summer when we had to change up the whole rhythm of just doing Dashiki. We had to start doing other prints and other designs. We had to get more creative with it.”

“We basically had to change our formula and come back again.”

Proudest entrepreneurial moment

“The diverse audience that we have. We are able to catch people’s eyes with our fabric. That’s so dope!”

“And, when you get people who used to make fun of our accent turn around and look at our designs and go wow that's tough I want that.”

What’s got you buzzing right now?

“This year has been the year where we’ve been able to figure out what it is we’re doing and what we should do better next year." 

"So, we're going to come up with some new products to round up this year. Should be fun!”

Lion's Den

  • What’s the best African saying you’ve ever heard?

Mirian:

Ukpana okpoko gburu, nti chiri ya

– The grasshopper scooped away by a hornbill is deaf.

Mary:

Omere mere ka eji eze'efi

- One has to be cunning to slay the elephant.

Lilian:

A child that says the mother will not sleep shall also not sleep

- If a child is making life difficult for his/her parents the child will also live a difficult life.

  • What was holding you back from building your brand?

“We were really young. I feel like the time wasn’t right to start a company.”

  • Which is your social media platform of choice?

“Instagram. It gives us a direct impact with our audience.”

  • Share one daily routine that contributes to your success?

“Generally, when we wake up we pray. Then we start talking about our business.”

  • Recommend a book for the Tribe to check out

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Fürstenberg

If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?

Mirian – "I will call my siblings and my mum to come to the room where I will be meditating. So I will be spending time with them."

Lilian – "I will go to a church in Rome and meditate."

Mary – "I will do the same as Lilian except for the Rome part. I will be praying to God to forgive me because I’ve got to make heaven."

Words of wisdom

Mirian – "You’re not too young or too old to start anything. You don’t know what you can accomplish until you try."

Lilian – "Whatever idea you have, think about it and pray about it."

Mary – "Get the job done! No excuses. Have that tunnel vision, do what you have to, just get the job done."

Connect with Dashiki Pride