Black creators are setting the trends, moving the needle and informing where the worlds of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle are headed. In our series, ‘Shop Black’, we talk to entrepreneurs about their journeys, their brands and the realities of being Black business owners. Through ‘Shop Black’ you’ll be introduced to some game-changing style stars and have the opportunity to shop and support their work.
All Ade Ogbomo needed was a word from her beloved nephew to birth her stunning line of African wax printed accessories.
Following the then 7-year-old’s request for a bow-tie like his auntie’s printed skirt and blouse, Ogbomo realized there was space for her designs and got to work. Now, her brand GabeJade is on the rise and for good reason.
Ogbomo sat down with ESSENCE to chat about her journey, her recent victories and the products you need in your life.
Name: Ade Ogbomo
Tell us about your journey to GabeJabe.
One day as I was wearing my native African skirt and blouse, my 7-year-old nephew came running into my room shouting, “I want a bow tie that looks like your African dress with all the beautiful colors”. He’s my baby, so I immediately got online and googled “African bow ties” and “bow ties made with African fabric”, but none of them seemed good enough for the little prince. So what did I do? I grabbed one of my dresses, my box of needle and thread, and scissors and started to make him one because he wanted a nice bow tie so he HAD to have it. (My boy gets whatever he wants.)
At first, I just wanted to make custom bow ties for the little man, but when he wore them to church people began to ask where we bought them, complimenting their uniqueness. After many comments such as “Oh wow, I’ve never seen an African bow tie like that before” and inquires like “where can I get this?” I decided I should perfect my design, develop a name and begin selling them. After all, what better way to brighten the world than to share these beautiful, authentic, colorful bow ties with everyone else? Now, two years later I’m sharing my designs with everyone.
Describe GabeJade With a Song Title.
The Nigerian song “Killin Dem” by Burna Boy. Simply put, this means we break necks with our designs. People never fail to ask and stare in awe when they see our designs, especially our matching headwrap-necktie/bowtie designs.
Also, “Apeshit” by The Carters- Seems like a celebration song and we are always celebrating over here.
What’s the most challenging part of being a Black entrepreneur?
The most challenging part of being a Black entrepreneur is getting our products out there & noticed.
What has been your biggest victory thus far?
We were just featured on the Etsy blog and have been on the front page of the website for a couple of weeks now. We’re also on their Father’s Day top gift ideas email. This has greatly boosted our sales and site visits.
Advice to aspiring Black business owners?
Just start! Do your research, but don’t spend forever planning the “perfect start,” just start somewhere and start immediately even if you feel the market for whatever you are selling or producing is saturated. In our world, there’s no such thing as “over saturated.” Create your own niche and you can always come out on top — with hard work of course.
Favorite product from your current line and why?
Our favorites are the Father’s Day neckties, the mustard matching headwrap/necktie set and of course a couple of the headwraps.
Shop below and grab a bow-tie that your dad will actually love this Father’s Day and for years to come!