I’m quite sure all of you must have heard the popular pop song by Bruno Mars “Billionare” and sung to the lyrics of it singing, “I wanna be a Billionare...Buy all of the things I never had/ I wanna be on the cover of Forbes Magazine/ Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen...”, and wished something like this would come true. Maybe not for us yet, but it has come true for Kelechi Anyadiegwu. This 26 year-old Nigerian-American entrepreneur, who has a masters in human-computer interaction from Carnege Mellon, created an African-inspired clothing and accessories e-commerce destination for merchants from across diaspora to sell their wares and featured in 2016’s Forbes 30 Under 30.
Kelechi Anyadiegwu is just another average girl, a student, yet a little extraordinarily brilliant, with a quick presence of mind and a quality for appreciating things in life very closely. While mostly grad students get consumed with coursework demands, she made a different choice by choosing something unusual for a extra-curricular activity: launching a fashion marketplace with something new that people will find appealing and fascinating and a result of which she was able to turn the business which started with $500 into a business of $2 million as of today.
Anyadiegwu grew up with African prints and fabrics and she loved wearing African inspired prints, and every time she wore one of those pieces, friends and people around really liked it and would want to know where and how they could shop African inspired prints. This was the point where she saw an interesting opportunity and saw this unmet demand in the market for African textile prints and fashion, and instead of referring these curious customers on to the designers she knew, she combined her talents and passions and jumped into a full-scale business in 2013 and began “Zuvaa”.
Anyadiegwu has done much in past two years and has much to be proud of along with her being recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs under thirty in Forbes. She being a very humble person, and when asked that what was her proudest moments answered that she is proud of the contribution she has been able to give her roots by creating jobs and a place for African fashion on global terms. She also expressed that she has always looked for ways to integrate her love and pride for African culture into her wardrobe.
This originated as a result of creating a platform that would provide more exposure for the talented African-inspired fashion designers that she knew existed all around the world. It is a market place which is premier online destination to find unique and one of a kind African-inspired pieces. It works directly with the emerging designers around the world to bring to the customers the best selection of high quality African-inspired pieces the fashion industry has to offer. It’s an approach to globalize and raise appreciation for African-inspired designs in the right way so that the cultural significance of African aesthetics and textiles is rightly understood. Lastly, Zuvaa which means “sunshine” in Shona language of Zimbabwae, is not just an online store but a community which represents the vibrancy and radiance of African Culture.
For Kelecha Anyadiegwu, to have an understanding and cogitation such as these at such an early age, we know this is only the beginning and she has lots of big things yet to come her way.