Bukki Ojo is 18 years old.
Five months ago, she dropped out of education and began working at a clothes store. A few months later, she was fired.
Her frustrations led to starting her own clothing line and within a few months it was picked up by online giant ASOS and later featured at the esteemed London Fashion Week.
This month Ojo’s clothing line goes on sale in the United Kingdom and in January it arrives in the United States with Urban Outfitters. All this at 18 years old.
In a world fixated on education and the pressure to receive good grades, Ojo demonstrates that there are other ways of nurturing your talent and gaining success.
Ojo’s courage and tenacity are identified through her striking designs which are made up of vibrant African prints and denim material.
MTV Voices spoke to Ojo about her endeavors, her clothing line, and, of course, the advice she would give to young people.
How would you sum up the clothing line, BUKKI?
BUKKI is simply jazzing up your everyday wear with a touch of colour and quirkiness.
What gave you your motivation to succeed?
I didn’t get into my university last year, so I decided to take a gap year. I began working in a concession department, but after a couple of months I was fired for a small and petty reason. I was irritated but looking back I feel that painful experience was needed because it became my drive to succeed. Also at that point I had nothing else to fall back on and I didn’t want to waste my gap year so I made the decision to do my own thing. To add to that, working in the concession department made me dream bigger, I didn’t want to remain an “employee”, I wanted to come back as an employer and show everyone that I was worth more.
What are your aspirations for BUKKI?
I don’t want BUKKI to remain strictly a clothing line but instead I want it to become a brand associated with a wide range of products. Thought it isn’t the greatest of examples, Kim Kardashian has become a brand and though she has a clothing line she also has a perfume and even bed sheets! I hope that one day BUKKI will reach that level. But I would like to ensure that every product released is at the highest quality, I won’t just bring out something for the sake of bringing it out, it has to be great!
What advice would you give to fellow young people wanting to get in to fashion?
I would advise them to think for themselves. I started this whole business on my own and with the help of God. Never ask someone “how do you start a clothing line”, that is up to you to discover. Once you have figured it out for yourself, you will gain so much more knowledge and confidence! Also if you want to start a fashion brand, it’s about getting your concept right and being aware of the market. Read business books, because, to be frank, the fashion industry is about handling business, demand and money, not just looking good. Do it for yourself instead of waiting for someone to tell you. That’s what genuinely gets you far.
What advice would you give to young people as a whole on reaching success?
On reaching success, be very quiet about your goals, be focused and for me praying always works! Things don’t come in a day so never give up, keep pushing! If you really think that something is your destiny, don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t do it”. I was told that many times that but I ignored it and my story has changed- everybody has the capacity to be great if they work at it.