Kelechi Anyadiegwu is a 26-year-old fashionista. Born in Nigeria and raised in the states, she certainly is not your average graduate student.
Anyadiegwu has a Bachelor’s in Information Technology from Michigan State University, a Master’s from Carnegie Mellon in Human Computer Interaction, and is currently a Master’s student at Rutgers University studying Business and Science.
Oh, and did I mention she is the founder of a $2 million company? Kelechi owns an online fashion marketplace called Zuvaa, which means sun or sunshine in the language of the Shona people from Zimbabwe.
This company started off from $500 and has reached 2 million as of 2016. This act has already landed her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
While earning her graduate degree, she saw an opportunity to combine her talents and passions and jumped immediately into a full-scale business. In 2013, she began Zuvaa when she saw an unmet demand in the market for African textile prints and fashion.
In an interview with The Every Girl Anyadiegwu says,
“I’ve always looked for ways to integrate my love and pride for African culture into my wardrobe. I love wearing print and African textiles and when I would wear them people would constantly ask me where I found those pieces. I realized there was really a demand for this product so I used my experience in online marketing, web design, and user experience to create a platform to connect the talented designers around the world with consumers who were looking for these beautiful products.”
Rather than waiting until she finished her master’s program, she immediately decided to turn this demand into an opportunity, combining her talents and passions.
Anyadiegwu has raised her company from the ground up in two years and has much to be proud of, but when asked what her proudest moment is thus far, she didn’t name a prestigious award she’s won. Instead, she spoke about jobs she’s helped create on the African continent through print fashion. With passion like that, it’s safe to say this is only the beginning of big things yet to come for Kelechi.
“Our vision for Zuvaa is to be a well-known platform for anything African inspired. Whether it be fashion, art, or housewares, if you’re looking for anything beautiful and handmade I want you to think of Zuvaa. The vibrancy, color is not what is currently being seen. I want to change that. I want the happy, positive, and vibrant story for Africa to be told, and I want Zuvaa to have a part in telling that story.
Thanks to an impressive social media following, vendors quickly took notice of Kelechi’s company. Investors wanted to be a part of such a fast-growing community, therefore finding designers and vendors were definitely not a problem for Kelechi.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting into, I just had a vision and I was excited about where that would take me,” New York-based Anyadiegwu told CNN in an interview. “I decided to use my skills in social media marketing and online community building, to create a platform that would provide more exposure for the talented African-inspired fashion designers I knew existed around the world.”
However, to be a part of Zuvaa, designers must apply and send samples of their products so they can be tested for touch, feel, and general quality. Once approved, a vendor will upload their items to the site and have complete control of imaging and pricing.
“My biggest piece of advice is to trust your vision. Your vision for your life and company are really going to be what makes you stand out. No one is going to be able to see this vision, that’s what makes it so special, that what will set you apart from others, that’s what will make get every morning exciting to work and build your company.”
Kelechi is a strong, successful woman. She is an inspiration to us that you are never too young to do exactly what you were always meant to do. She proves that education and knowledge are the greatest powers we will ever hold, and with it, we are unstoppable.
Having killer style doesn’t hurt.