african · Entrepreneur · Fashion

Series: Young, Gifted and African – Lauretta Mtike

Having had my blog up and running and creating content for a little while now, I am constantly thinking of ideas for content and various ways in which I can shine a light on my Sierra Leone, but also Africans doing big things in Africa.

For Summer 2017, I will be starting a series – “Young, Gifted and African” featuring very talented individuals, some of whom I am fortunate to call my friends. They are all incredibly talented and are doing remarkable things in various fields such as music, fashion and fashion design, blogging, Youtube, and photography just to name a few. They are building a brand and producing some killer content!

Let’s get straight into our first feature!

Lauretta Mtike is 24 years old and born in Malawi, now currently living in the DRC. She also lived in Kenya for just the same amount of time as I did, if not longer! We met in High School, and have been friends ever since. She is a bubble of energy and her super fun loving personality makes it hard not to love her.

Lauretta has always had a passion for fashion and in 2015 she created Vivietta Designs.

Despite no longer living in Malawi, I asked Lauretta what she loves most about her country.  She said that the scenery in Malawi is unbelievably beautiful and the people are so kind and warm hearted. When asked to describe herself in three words, she said that she is Fun, Adventurous and Vivacious, and I can honestly attest to that!

Talking about her passion, she says “My passion is making clothes… the art of designing and sewing the designs. From as young as I can remember I have always had this passion.” I asked her what drove her to pursue this passion, and turn it into a reality. Lauretta explained that her friends and community inspired her to pursue it -“my friends would always ask me to make them clothes and pretty soon I had other people contact me and ask me to make them clothes as well and before I knew it, I was living out my passion.”

She expressed that her biggest supporter is her uncle. She further explained that she doesn’t really think he fully understands what it is that she does, but he’s always pushing her to achieve more and is the one that has made most of her showcases possible.

In general, Lauretta says she looks up to her mum, and career wise she looks up to Silvia Awori. She went on to say that if she could meet anyone dead or alive, it would be Silvia Awori. “Growing up, she’s the only person I ever looked up to… she has been my role model for pretty much more than half my life – meeting her would be life changing for me.”

Talking about obstacles she has faced during her journey, she says the biggest one would be the non-acceptance and stereotyping of fashion and fashion designers in her country. “Most people do not believe in fashion design as work or take it seriously.  Some even view it as a taboo of some sort and those who do it as uncultured and ill-mannered, which is really sad.”
On the other hand, the most memorable thing to happen to Lauretta she recalls was during her first fashion show. Someone went up to her and told her that they loved her collection and had actually been following her on social media. Lauretta says that at the time, she was “super shocked” because she had only just started and thought only her close friends and family knew about it. “It was a humbling experience” she says.

Talking more about Vivietta designs, Lauretta said that she created the name by combining her name. “My middle name is Vivien, hence the Vivi and then I took the Etta from Lauretta.”

When you are an entrepreneur with a business, it’s important to create goals for your business. So I asked Lauretta where she sees her brand in the next 3-5 years. In the next 3-5 years, she wants to see Vivietta designs in magazines, on models, and taking part in international fashion shows. She said “I see my clothes being available to everyone worldwide through shipping and having 2 or 3 retail shops in different countries.”

In terms of her education and how she plans to combine the two, she says she plans to finish her ACCA course (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and then start her MBA. Combining the two is not going to be difficult, she asserts. She started designing while she was in University and managed just fine –“I created a healthy routine that entertained both designing and my education.”

To lighten things up a bit, I asked Lauretta to confess! To share her most embarrassing moment. “My most embarrassing moment happened recently actually.  There was a fashion show I was to attend and when we got there and set up and everything … no one showed up! That was super embarrassing and frustrating most especially for the organizers but as fashion designers we also felt the sting.” These types of things are bound to happen, but you have to dust yourself off and keep going. I am confident that at the rate Lauretta is progressing, the only way is up from here on out.

Concluding, when I asked Lauretta what advice she would give to someone who is just starting out in a similar field, she had this to say, “My advice would be KEEP PUSHING even when you make mistakes or encounter massive obstacles, just keep on moving and maintain your sense of style and personality – uniqueness is the only way to get ahead in fashion.”

Lauretta will be showcasing some of her designs at the Urban Music Party, that will be hosted in Blantyre and Lilongwe in the coming weeks. If you’re in Malawi, head on down and support ya girl!

 

Follow Lauretta on her personal social media page!

@empress_etta

Do you like the designs showcased in this article? Want to place an order or have a query? Send an email to vivietta_des@gmail.com OR mtikel@gmail.com

Want to have a look at more of her designs? Follow Vivietta Designs!

@vivietta_designs

 

 

 

 

Education · Entrepreneur · Events · Sierra Leone

sheVestor Africa -MeetnGreetSierraLeone- What Went Down

 

The sheVestor Africa Meet and Greet Sierra Leone took place on Friday, June 30th 2017, and was held at the Africell American Corner Bathurst Street in Freetown.

If you have read my previous post, then you will know that the two guest speakers were Christine Sesay  – Founder, Africa’s Moneypreneur and Co-founder, Freetown Business School, and Ariana Oluwole – Founder, Narnia Daycare.

When I was approached to help coordinate this event, I wasn’t familiar with what sheVestor Africa is or what they do. Before I accepted, I did my research to learn more as I believe that when working with other people, agencies, organisations and so on, it is of the upmost importance to share similar goals and beliefs.

sheVestor Africa is a community that empowers young African women with financial knowledge to become financial literates and hone their financial skills in order to be financially empowered. Their mission is to Inspire, Connect, Educate and Equip the community and spur them on to actively hone their financial skills and participate in Africa’s growth story.

What’s better than a young, African woman who is not only financially literate but also financially independent?

The MeetnGreetSierraLeone was a brilliant networking event that gave Sierra Leonean women an opportunity to socialise with other like-minded individuals. We all got the chance to talk about our career goals, hear about other people’s journey and yes, even make some new friends in the process.

I met young women who were either studying in University, in full time employment, another fellow blogger, and a few entrepreneurs. Despite those differences, we all had one thing in common – an interest in building knowledge on finances and financial independence. We all spoke about our experiences, and during the event, we also had the opportunity to define who we thought a financially independent woman was.

There are 5 major points that I took with me from the MeetnGreet:

  1. No man is an island.
    Why struggle to do it all yourself, when you can collaborate?
    Christine Sesay spoke about her dream to open a Business School in Sierra Leone. She had the idea, but needed a network to see her dream become a reality. A collaboration with two other individuals, who shared her passion, came together, all bringing different talents and skills to the table. This led to the creation and development of the Freetown Business School.
  2. Mentors.
    It is important to reach out to people who share your passion and relate to your passion, your career, your future career goals.
    Mrs. Ariana Oluwole explained that if for example, you would like to go into event planning, you cannot approach a musician to be your mentor. There is no correlation. Approach a professional in your field, who is 4-5 steps above the level that you are currently in, and you will flourish.
  3. Re-invent your brand.
    You have to continue to bring originality in all that you do. Furthermore, you need to be re-inventing your brand and constantly staying ahead of the competition, without compromising or reducing your value and who you are.
    You may have a friend who is also an entrepreneur, and you may both have specialty in a similar field. In reality, the both of you are likely to appeal to and cater to two very different target audiences. Work together, bounce ideas off each other, and grow together. *Feel free to read point 1 again*
  4. Be consistent.
    Put simply, your dreams won’t work out, if you don’t work for it.
    Stay focused, work hard. Create reasonable time frames, and following them will not be a struggle.
  5. Create GOALS.
    Set goals for yourself – short, medium and long term. You must be specific, but also idealistic.

I will work hard to incorporate the lessons I learnt from the Meet and Greet, and I will flourish.

Watch this space!

All pictures courtesy of Larry Tucker – Ronnie’s Photography. Check out his official page here https://www.facebook.com/ronsPHGY/

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sheVestor Africa will be hosting various other Meet and Greets in several other African countries. Follow them to see when they’ll be in your city!

Join the community via http://shevestorafrica.org/join-our-community/

Get social with them ! Follow them via :

https://www.facebook.com/sheVestorAfrica/

https://www.instagram.com/shevestor_africa/

https://www.instagram.com/shevestor_africa/

african · Education · Entrepreneur · Events · Sierra Leone

sheVestor Africa – Meet and Greet – Sierra Leone

 

Young African Women, more specifically those of us in West Africa, seldom have the opportunity to acquire financial literacy skills especially not from women who are thriving in the field of business. These women who are flourishing and surpassing all expectations either by owning their own business, or teaching skills about starting and nurturing a business, learning all the tricks of the trade and so on.

Young Sierra Leonean Women are becoming more empowered and it is thrilling to see women my age, and even older, not only following but actively chasing their dreams and excelling. Young women are drifting away from ‘traditional’ roles and jobs and are becoming entrepreneurs! Wanting to be more independent and being their own boss, some even start a businesses while studying various degrees.

This has to be recognized, and their efforts commended, because they are truly going after what they want.

Education for the female child is of such great importance, and this doesn’t have to stop once you leave University. Financial empowerment is a great form of independence and can be prominently beneficial to those of us who either want to start a business, or have started a business and need some support and guidance, or even if you want to learn and pick up new skills.

Meet and Greets, networking events, and workshops are great opportunities to socialise with, and learn a lot from like-minded individuals and experienced professionals from various fields and backgrounds.

What are you doing on Friday June 30th? Why not start with sheVestor Africa!

 

sheVestor Africa is a community that empowers young African women with financial knowledge to become financial literates and hone their financial skills in order to be financially empowered. Their  mission is to Inspire, Connect, Educate and Equip the community and spur them on to actively hone their financial skills and participate in Africa’s growth story.

 

sheVestor Africa presents #MeetnGreetSierraLeone, a one day  introduction, learning and networking event for young African women who are keen on becoming financially independent and building  a stable financial life.

 

The event will introduce the #sheVestorAfrica  community to Sierra Leonens and create awareness on the importance of financial education in building financially stable young African women.  This must-attend event is free  and will have an expert-led session, a session with entrepreneurs who will share their financial journey among interesting fun activities.

 

Speakers for #MeetnGreetSierraLeone are :

 

  •  Christine Sesay  – Founder, Africa’s Moneypreneur and Co-founder, Freetown Business school.

 

  • Ariana Oluwole – Founder, Narnia Daycare.

 

Date :   30th Jun, 2017

 

Venue :  Africell American Corner, Bathurst street, Freetown.

 

Book a seat now via  : https://goo.gl/forms/zRwZ44U57rlDsPtB2

 

 

Join the community via http://shevestorafrica.org/join-our-community/

Get social with them ! Follow them via  https://www.facebook.com/sheVestorAfrica/https://www.instagram.com/shevestor_africa/https://www.instagram.com/shevestor_africa/