Author: Janice Johnson Pemida
The “capacity and willingness to excel and be outstanding in life despite all the risks involved is not an impossible dream as many tend to believe, but a realistic one because a lot of extra ordinary people have proven that in their own special ways.
At Jayinspire Media, it is our aim to bring to your knowledge the unusual characteristics of such extraordinary people and inspire as many people to benefit from them by learning to strive at all cost through their experiences.
Kate Nnonyelu is one of such people. She is the brain behind NdiRitzy Fashion World in California. Ndiritzy is one of the emerging brands that caters for an increasingly diverse people from different cultures with different shapes and sizes. This exceptional beautiful and talented Nigerian lady is making Nigerians proud overseas with her extraordinary vibes and talent.
In this exclusive interview with Jayinspire Media, she gives us insight into her background, growing up days, entrepreneurial journey, challenges, successes and lessons along the way.
Please tell us about yourself and your background.
My name is Kate Nnonyelu CEO of NdiRitzy Fashion World.
I am originally from Nigeria, but I am currently in the United States. I am married to my supportive husband Ikechukwu Nnonyelu
Did you grow up in Nigeria or in the US?
I was born and brought up in Nigeria. I moved to the US in 2008.
I went to school in Nigeria. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka. Anambra State, Nigeria. I got my Master’s degree in Fashion Design from Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, California.
Can you give us an insight into your growing up days? How was growing up in Nigeria like?
Growing up in Nigeria wasn’t as bad as people think. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters, our parents did everything they could to get us through school (from nursery to higher education). It wasn’t easy for my parents bringing up 8 children, I remember my dad always tell us that it is the only way for a brighter future. Now I understood what my dad was saying, because like I said, it wasn’t easy, but I am who I am today because I grew up in Nigeria. A country where the government doesn’t help 99.9% of its citizens, we (citizens) are left to struggle through life on our own and it sure did help me become the lady I am today. I thank my parents and everyone that helped shape me.
Tell us about NdiRitzy Fashion World. What is it all about?
NdiRitzy is a luxury designer brand that I started last year and my goal is to bring a solution to the biggest problem in fashion. Which is, designing the perfect fit for everyone in all sizes. I believe everyone have the right to look and feel elegant, no matter their size. NdiRitzy mission statement is, “if you can dream it, I will make it come to life.”
What brought about the brand name NdiRitzy?
Since the plan was to make every woman look and feel elegant no matter the size, that was how my brand name came about. Ndi: means ‘I AM’ in Igbo Language and Ritzy means ‘ELEGANT’. As you can see, my brand name means ‘I AM ELEGANT’.
What informed your decision to become a fashion designer and since when did you take the bold step?
I discovered my passion for designing when I was really young, because at age 10, I made dresses for my dolls with plastic bags and paper. In 2009/2010, I stopped my nursing program and quit my job in Fargo, North Dakota and move to San Francisco, California where I know no one, to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer, and because my plan is to own a brand which will allow me work from home and stay with my (Unborn) kids. After my second baby in 2015, I decided it is time to start my brand NdiRitzy.
What excites you about your career?
My excitement or inspiration about my career comes from seeing two different clients in different shapes and sizes wearing my dresses and they both look stunning and elegant, that is my joy. My bonus inspiration is staying home with my kids, it is not easy, but I love it.
Can you tell us about some fashion projects you have embarked on so far?
NdiRitzy has been to couple fashion shows, but the big one was this past September, because I won the “Best Couture Designer of 2017” for Couture for a Cause. It was a great honor to have won such an awesome award in the mist of great designers and I am really grateful to San Francisco Community Fashion Week for such an award.
What has been your source of motivation?
My motivation comes from seeing my clients in different shapes and sizes wearing NdiRitzy designs and feeling elegant about themselves.
How can you describe the journey so far? Has it been an easy ride?
No!!!! The journey is not an easy ride, because it’s not just about designing beautiful dresses, I have some challenges for example:
1) Funds for bigger and better business.
2) Marketing. As a small business owner, it takes everything to market my business, because we already have big designers in this industry, so it is tough
But nothing good comes easy, I have to keep doing what I’m doing, until I get to where I want to be.
Where do you see NdiRitzy in the next 5 years?
NdiRitzy will be a big company and NdiRitzy designs will be in big name stores, and even celebrities will be wearing NdiRitzy designs, that’s where I see NdiRitzy in the next 5 years.
Any role models?
No, I am just trying to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer.
Has been black limited you in any way over there?
I am lucky to live in the most diverse City in US, so the color of my skin has not been an issue for me growing my business.
Any regrets so far?
Would you like any of your children to tow your path?
Yes, I would love it if my daughter will follow my footsteps, but as we all know, she might want to go a different route when she all grown and it’s okay. Maybe one of my boys might, you never know, hahaha.
What are your favorite keywords that motivate you to do more?
With God all things are possible.
What is your word of advice for young people out there who also wish to become successful entrepreneurs in their various fields?
“My advice to young people out there wishing to be successful entrepreneurs in their various fields is to dream big, work hard, pray harder and don’t be afraid of the word “NO” instead use all the NO’s you’ve got in your journey as a motivation to prove to does people that said “NO” to you, that when God says YES in your life, no one can say NO.
If I as a little girl from a small town in Anambra state could dream of becoming a ‘big name’ fashion designer (yes, I am not a ‘big name’ fashion designer yet, but I know I will get there by God’s grace) then anyone can dream of becoming whatever they want to be. The sky is your limit!
NdiRitzy will be at the NYFW (New York Fashion Week) on the 11th of February 2018, please let’s give our maximum support. You can follow @ndiritzy on social media for more information.