Omobolade Kolade Mayowa is the face behind the crochet brand, Hooked By Lade, an online fashion house that creates beautiful and colourful woven bags. In a recent chat with Legit.ng's Kumashe Yaakugh, she talks about how her passion for crocheting and turning it into a thriving business.
PAY ATTENTION: Сheck out news that is picked exactly for YOU ➡️ find the “Recommended for you” block on the home page and enjoy!
The 28-year-old architecture graduate of the Federal University of Technology Akure runs one of Nigeria's leading crochet brands that thrive on sustainable and environmental-friendly materials.
Displayed across her Instagram page and on her shopping website are photos and videos of unique and well-structured designs that command attention and are unarguably conversation starters.
Omobolade, like many crochet artists today, learned the craft as a little girl, having first discovered crocheting in church.
"I saw this girl who was about my age knitting with two brooms, so I learnt it. I was fascinated with the craft and fell in love with the art when I got support from my parents. I was 10 then, and they would buy different colours of threads, so I had lots of yarns to play around with and create different things."
Omobolade talks about merging architecture with crocheting
Interestingly, the Ekiti-born entrepreneur didn't always want to be an architect but a lawyer.
"I wanted to be a lawyer because I loved to argue as a child."
However, after 'finding herself' in science class, she developed an interest in technical drawing. She believed that opting to study architecture would bring her closer to the art of technical drawing.
With a thriving crochet business, Omobolade says she has no plans to return to the architectural path.
"I can only infuse my knowledge of architecture with my knowledge of crochet and bring both worlds together," she says.
And this is a fusion that shows in the structured designs of her bags. Omolade says she applies the three principles of architecture to her crochet designs; aesthetics, structural ability and functionality.
Omobolade says her support system influenced her decision to go into crocheting as a business
While she may have fallen in love with crocheting, she didn't turn it into a full-time business until 2021.
And before then, she was navigating the architectural route.
Omobolade, who worked as a commercial estimator for a Dallas-based company, revealed that her support system was one of the driving forces for launching Hooked By Lade.
"I would spend time on YouTube and Pinterest learning new designs, and my friends would often urge me to turn it into a business. So when I started posting my designs online and got numerous positive reviews, I decided to launch fully into it."
The market reception for Hooked By Lade
Omobolade, who launched her business in March 2021, says the market reception has been amazing, revealing she even has a fanbase called 'The Hookies'.
However, she believes it wouldn't have been possible without consistency.
"I emphasize the consistency part because I didn't immediately get the rush worldwide. But after a while of posting and showing up, I had this massive support from everywhere. So it has been wonderful, and beautiful and I bless God for it. I am happy."
With a fast-growing brand and a large online presence (over 300k Instagram followers), it was only a matter of time before Omobolade's brand got noticed by high-profile people.
But despite the growing success of the business, Sola Sobowale's patronage left her completely stunned.
"I screamed when I saw her message. I couldn't believe I was even communicating with her let alone crafting a bag for her. But I felt so honoured because she made it easier to work on a project for her. The experience was humbling."
A defining moment while running Hooked By Lade
The 'crochet architect' says one of the defining moments was when one of her videos hit a million views on Instagram.
She describes it as 'shocking and unexpected' because she had only this small circle of friends who were constantly pushing her.
"So when the video hit a million views, I sat down with my partner and figured that this business could work for us. That was a pivotal moment. We had to calm down and pause to think. It was new to me and that was when we tried to redefine what we do and how to make it a long-term business."
Omobolade talks about challenges and goals
Just like many businesses, Omobolade cites the 'Nigerian factor' as a major challenge.
"The exchange rate is against you. The shipping fee is double what it use to be and how to get payment from across the world is a problem. After we went viral, we got lots of demands from abroad but the clients could not send payment to us."
Thoughts on the crochet trend and words of advice
Omobolade says the crochet trend as a 'beautiful thing to see', describing the art as therapeutic.
"I love to see it as I understand the process that goes into it and how happy it genuinely makes them."
Advising other people building their crafts, she emphasizes the need to be original and consistent.
"Pace yourself, and find what works for you. Surround yourself with support system because you're going to need it. No one can do it alone. A support system that will keep encouraging you when things are not going as planned. Prepare for challenges that are unique to you. There's really no straight road map to this thing. Be close to God."