Warwick Africa Summit’s official Blog, a space to explore all things Africa, ranging from current affairs, business to culture.
This week, the spotlight is on Mojo Kojo, an African inspired streetwear label launched by Koyejo Adesanya in January 2016. With its African inspired prints and designs, Mojo Kojo is bringing Africa to the world, being stocked by Urban Outfitters along with collaborations with K Swiss up to date.
I was drawn to Mojo Kojo’s ranges, which were reminiscent of the colourful fabrics and designs you find in the Lagos street markets. I loved seeing how these patterns have been re-imagined by the brand. Mojo Kojo has kept its African heritage close to the work they do with their range being ethically sourced in Lagos. Furthermore during Black Friday, I was touched by their charity appeal where they donated the money from their sales to resources for Ado Primary School in Lagos, Nigeria. To find out more about the brand, I got in touch with the founder, Koyejo.
What was your motivation for starting Mojo Kojo?
I had a strong vision of what I wanted Mojo Kojo to be. I genuinely felt there was a gap in the market for African inspired clothing in the West and I didn’t find any brand that I could buy that was cool, affordable and celebrated African culture. Therefore, I just created what I liked wearing, whilst giving it a lil’ Afro mix!
What are the most significant challenges that you have faced, particularly as an African Brand?
The most challenging thing has to be scaling up in a sustainable way. Less than a year after launching Mojo Kojo, Urban Outfitters emailed me and wanted to stock 1,000 Mojo Kojo clothes in their USA stores. At this point I didn’t have a dedicated member of staff in Nigeria to manage a team, nor did I have a dedicated seamstress for Mojo Kojo! I was using my mum’s personal tailor to make the very first pieces. Several issues have cropped up like that, maintain steady growth without spending too much and getting ahead of ourselves is key.
Your range is ethically sourced from markets in Lagos, how important is this to your brand and your ethos?
Very important. People have suggested I outsource my manufacturing to China as it would be cheaper. It definitely would be, but that would go against the brand’s values. By manufacturing in Nigeria, we have a direct relationship with our seamstresses and we can ensure top quality products are made. More importantly, the fabrics are sourced in Nigeria. I’m Nigerian and supporting & investing in my people & community is essential to me!
What is your vision for the brand?
My vision for Mojo Kojo is that we become a global brand. I want Mojo Kojo to be seen in as many countries as possible. I also want to develop a community through events, and more!