In this interview ONYINYE UKEGBU tells NAOMI NDUBUEZE, about Ombre, an emerging bespoke leather brand.
Ombre is a bespoke bag service for professionals, non-conformists and fashion lovers. We are based in Lagos, Nigeria and all our goods are handcrafted by highly skilled local artisans. I wanted something abstract, and easy to define. Something like Mango and Apple which were only known as fruits till the names were adopted and defined as brand names. Ombre in English refers to a card game or shaded in French. This made it an ideal name choice to build our brand around. This vision was born in 2011, however we got registered as a business, November 2015. Technically, you can say we have been around for some time.
The group of consumers our products are aimed at, will be the professionals, fashion lovers and non-conformists. However, our bespoke service offering is mainly targeted at the non-conformists group, so enable them own or co-create their unique identity
We leverage on local suppliers who source finished leathers from across the world, including Italy, Portugal etc.
Our selection is only unique leathers in uncommon designs and finish, because our brand represents individuality and our products are 95% one-off pieces. We also use Aso-Oke. Nigeria is a haven for Aso-Oke, so we source locally from indigenous weavers and retailers in Lagos.
Working with Aso-Oke
Definitely for its uniqueness, durability and cultural effect. Just like genuine leather, it is also long-lasting. I also love the fact that traditionally, it is reserved for special occasions and not everyday use.
I want to create unique luxury product-service that won’t put a hole in the pocket. I feel inspired by structure, simplicity and sophistication
Yes. We are collaborating with a gifted artist to create a diffusion line of hand painted bags. I am excited to see how customers react to it. We don’t often unveil new collection at the moment. It has been a lot of learning and unlearning for the business. We don’t want to hop on the trend of seasonal collections rather have an integrated strategy of engaging, attracting and retaining our target audience
The Ombre Brand
Greatly. Our customers really love the idea of an affordable bespoke service, and the unique opportunity to co-create with us. It has been such a rewarding experience, interacting and understanding how they think and what they expect.
The challenges are huge. The lack of facilities and industrial machines to equip our local artisans and increase our capacity in parallel with international standards are some of the challenges facing the leather industry.