My name is Kelo Okeke and I’m the founder and a creative director for an online streetwear store called Giddimint.
What has been your favorite moment growing up in Nigeria?
I’ve lived my whole life in Nigeria and there’s been a lot of favorite moments. If I had to choose one, it would be when the Atlanta ’96 Nigerian football team won the gold medal. It must have been about 1am in the morning but people poured into the streets in jubilation. That gave me a glimpse of what a united Nigeria would look like.
What is Nigeria to you and what does it mean to be Nigerian?
Nigeria is strength. Nigeria is resilience. Nigeria is creativity. To be Nigerian is to possess these qualities.
We have been following your work with giddimint for some time now. What is your primary motivation for creating giddimint?
I created Giddimint to fill a void I stumbled upon while I was an undergrad and trying to get distribution for a t-shirt line I’d created called Lo. I couldn’t get any store to stock my tees so I made a mental note to create a platform in the near future when I had the funds. A few years later, I had the funds and Giddimint was born.
How did you find your voice / confidence in your decision to leave your previous employ and focus on giddimint?
I felt it was time. The stars never REALLY align in our favour, but when you feel they are close enough, you’ve got to make your move.
What has been the most challenging experience you had setting up and sustaining Giddimint?
On some days it’s infrastructure and on some other days, it’s finding the right people to work with. The street wear industry in Nigeria is just starting to grow and running an online street wear store requires staff with unique skill sets which aren’t very common in Nigeria at the moment. Still in all, we push on.
Tell us about a significant turning point in your life.
I lost my dad on boxing day 2011 and I remember visiting the morgue and seeing all these corpses! It hit me that I was going to be chilling on those slabs at some point too and I didn’t want to lay there with the regret of not following my heart.
What keeps you going?
Little victories keep me going. Everyday. I don’t wait for the big ones.
In your opinion what are the key ingredients a successful entrepreneur needs.
Honesty, integrity, hard work, resilience, creativity and a lot of balls.
Do you have any role models. If yes,who and why?
My grandfather is one of my role models because he created a whole industry. Jay Z is also a role model for his effortless style and his uncanny ability to create trends.
If you could go to the past and give your younger self advice what would it be?
Spend more time with your father. Tap from his wisdom and wealth of experience.
Of all the places in the world to visit, where would you like to be/visit at this very moment and why?
China. Their manufacturing prowess will open your mind in ways you never expected.
What would you rather, the front of Time magazine or forbes? Why?
If I play my cards right, then I should be on the cover of both. I’d like to be on Forbes for creating a juggernaut of a company and on Time for affecting people’s lives positively using the wealth accrued.
Favorite hip-hop lyric /music lyric / song lyric / movie quote?
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” – Jay Z.
share your thoughts on THE african renaissance
We need to tell our stories ourselves. Africans have a rich heritage but they’ve been buried by centuries of the white man telling their versions of our stories. I believe one of the biggest wrongs we can do the next generation is maintaining the status quo. We’re hoping to tell some of these stories through street wear and we will continue till there is no breathe in our lungs anymore.
Imagine your child is reading this 15yrs from now, say something to them.
You can.wheels happy