I don’t normally mention that I have a business around here much. Well, if you didn’t know, now you know! I co-own Elci Threads, which I like to call ELCI, along with my friend, Linda! It’s actually crazy that on this day, a year ago, we launched our business, along with our first collection. Honestly, I thank God.
I never ever anticipated that I’d one day do something like this, but here I am. ELCI is something I am extremely proud of, and though I have many things to learn, I am so glad for this opportunity God gave me. I’m glad I met people who are willing to make something out of themselves, and I’m glad for Linda, my partner in crime.
I wish I could’ve done a photoshoot, but things have just been so busy, hopefully next year I could do one! I will just share my favourite things about working in ELCI, as well as my experience through this year.
One day, Linda messaged me. She said that she had an idea of creating a clothing line which would feature Ankara clothing items. I was down for it. Crazy thing was, January last year I had been strongly wanting to open a clothing line of my own. I had also wanted to make Ankara clothes! You see, I love Ankara fabric, people who see me don’t think I do because I mostly wear black and white, but I do. I love the various patterns, colour schemes, prints. There’s just so much potential with Ankara!
And so, we got to planning and brain storming. We came up with 3 of our very first designs, and set to work, planning for things like the website, photoshoots, as well as the launch event. Surely enough, soon it was November, and the event came to life. Here is a video of the launch event, if you’re interested!
The idea behind ELCI can be understood from our motto – modern threads, audacious patterns. The audacious patterns is a reference to the ankara fabric, and modern threads refers to our designs. However, we’re not ‘high fashion’ type of people, but love comfort and practicability. Therefore, we aim to make pieces which are comfortable, while also fitting a variety of sizes and shapes. I love most that the fabrics we choose seriously pop on a variety of skin tones.
The Best Things
Of course, business is not always glamorous. A lot goes on behind the scenes. One challenge is the fact that I’m in Nigeria, and Linda is in Australia. I deal primarily with the sourcing of fabrics, sewing and shipping of the finished products to Linda. From there, the majority of the work begins – getting photoshoots done, packaging and sending to customers, etc.
I seriously thank God for the internet as well as social media, because that way, I can actually pretend I was over in Australia with Linda. Whenever there was an event, I’d tune into Snapchat and view all the related snaps. I’d also go on Instagram and Facebook for the photos. It makes me sad that I can’t be over there right now, but I definitely will be going over to visit soon!
I love that I get to peruse the markets for the right fabrics. I am one of the pickiest people I know when it comes to Ankara. It just has to look right. I realise that I tend to lean towards the vintage fabrics, especially fabrics with red in them. I don’t know why. Another thing I love, is coming up with designs. Not every design looks good with every print, so It’s always great to see how things will work out! I love my tailor, she’s honestly the most amazing person ever, and I will never regret meeting her. It was crazy how I met her!
I had someone I always used to go to for sewing materials since I was doing sewing training at that time. When this idea of ELCI came up, I was sourcing a tailor to sew all the clothes. I went to this particular womans’ shop that day, but she was surrounded by people and quite busy. I stood for a bit, but then I decided to go around to the next market row. Lo and behold, I encountered the lady who is now my tailor. I remember how she held onto me, saying I had found my tailor and shouldn’t go anywhere else. It’s just hilarious!
Highlights of the First Year
Though I was not physically present at most of these events, they still brought great joy to my heart. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.
Our very first fabric choices. It was such a scary and exciting experience going to Wuse Market to shop. I like the choices, and this blue fabric called ‘sugar cane’ is my favourite print of the first collection.
I made sure to get some people other than me to try on the clothes. The first collection had two tops and a dress. The dress was my favourite. It was just so comfortable!
This was one of the tops for the first collection, which was called ‘Sisterhood’.
This was a photo from the very first photoshoot for ELCI. It’s crazy to think that this was just a year ago. I only hope for more growth for us. I remember watching all the snap chats from that day and shouting “yasss” at all the looks.
The fabrics used in the second collection were also amazing! With the second collection came the upgrade of the website photos, a very nice development.
That being said, I really hope that we can grow and expand, becoming a name that people will easily recognise. We have so much to learn, many challenges to overcome, but I feel we will overcome them no matter what.
Frankly, without the help of some very important people, ELCI would probably have crashed and burned. I would like to stress on the importance of having good friends, friends who will troop around to support you at any chance! The crazy thing is that my friends made up the whole team we used to start initially, from being makeup artists to models. I will forever be grateful to them.
Linda Iriza – Co-owner, Creative Director, Stylist
Linda is the best team mate anybody could have. She’s balancing university life, as well as running ELCI. She also plans events such as Soul Alphabet, and is just simply amazing. Linda works hard. She’s always thinking of ideas of how best to improve, thinking of locations for shoots, thinking of styling ideas. Like I’ve said before, she’s definitely someone you need in your life.
Albie Thabisani Ncube – Photographer
I never really got to know Albie, but she is amazing! She has been our photographer since day 1! She is so skilled, and is always happy to work with us. She has her own photography business, called A True Nature Photography. Her shots are awesome, and she’s a cool chica!
Happiness Uwingabire – Makeup Artist
Happi is amazing, and I will always have her in my heart. Not only does she do makeup and hair for the shoots, she also rocks our clothes with boldness! It’s amazing to have someone like this in my life. Happiness was my partner in crime throughout high school, and she’s just as weird as me, which is a bonus. She has her own budding makeup business called Beat by Happi, based in Perth, WA.
The Model Gang
Honestly, most people have modelled for us no matter what else they were doing. Happi has been a model, and even Albie! Whether it be our clothes, or custom pieces. I would like to give a shout out to people like Eliana, Florence Baitio, Alice, Shanaya, Moji, Aline, Shadia, Leah, Chiluba.. so many people have volunteered to model for us, and I really appreciate them!
Special thanks also to Madusa Karma for editing the “2 Girls + A Picnic” Collection
I’d also like to thank God, as well as my parents who supported this journey financially. This is in addition to people who keep pining for me, whether they personally know me or not. I just hope we don’t let them down!