Omolade Kolade Mayowa is the face behind crochet brand, Hooked By Lade, an online fashion label that creates beautiful, colorful woven bags. In a recent chat with Kumashe Yaakugh from Legit.ng, she talks about how her passion for crochet and how it turned into a thriving business.
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A 28-year-old graduate in architecture from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, she runs one of Nigeria’s leading crochet brands that thrive on sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
On her Instagram page and shopping website, photos and videos of unique, well-structured designs are grabbing attention and definitely sparking conversations.
Omolade, like many crochet artists today, learned the craft when she was a little girl, after discovering crochet in church.
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“I saw this girl who was about my age knitting with two brooms, so I learned it. I was fascinated by the craft and fell in love with the art when I received support from my parents. I was 10 then and they bought different colors of yarn, so I had a lot of yarn to play with and create different things.”
Omoloade talks about merging architecture with crochet
Interestingly, the Ekiti-born entrepreneur didn’t always want to be an architect, but a lawyer.
“I wanted to be a lawyer because I loved arguing as a kid.”
However, after “finding herself” in science class, she developed an interest in technical drawing, and she believed that choosing to study architecture would bring her closer to the art of technical drawing.
With a thriving crochet business, Omolade says she has no plans to return to the architecture path.
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“I can only infuse my knowledge of architecture with my knowledge of crochet and bring the two worlds together”, she says.
And it’s a fusion that can be seen in the structured designs of her bag. Omolade applies the three principles of architecture to its crochet creations; aesthetics, structural capacity and functionality.
Omolade says her support system influenced her decision to start crocheting as a business
Although she may have fallen in love with crocheting, she didn’t make it a full-time activity until 2021.
And before that, she practiced the architectural way. Omolade, who worked as a business estimator for a Dallas-based company, said one of the driving forces behind Hooked By Lade’s launch was its support system.
“I spent time on YouTube and Pinterest learning new designs, and my friends often pressured me to make a business out of it. So when I started posting my designs online and got lots of reviews positive, I decided to go all out.”
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The market reception for Hooked By Lade
Omolade, who launched her business in March 2021, says the market reception has been incredible, revealing she even has a fan base called ‘The Hookies’.
However, she thinks it wouldn’t have been possible without consistency.
“I emphasize consistency because I didn’t immediately get the rush from around the world. But after a while of posting and showcasing, I got this massive support from everywhere. So it’s been wonderful and beautiful. and I bless God for that. I’m happy.”
With a rapidly growing brand and a large online presence (over 300,000 Instagram followers), it was only a matter of time before Omolade’s brand was noticed by VIPs.
But despite the growing success of the business, Sola Sobowale’s patronage left her utterly stunned.
“I screamed when I saw her message. I couldn’t even believe I was communicating with her let alone making her a bag. But I felt so honored because she made it easy on a project for her. The experience was humbling.”
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A decisive moment during the performance of Hooked By Lade
One of the defining moments was when one of her videos hit one million views on Instagram. She describes it as “shocking and unexpected” as she only had this small circle of friends who constantly pushed her.
“So when the video hit a million views, I sat down with my partner and thought this business could work for us. It was a pivotal moment. We had to calm down and pause to think It was new to me and it was when we tried to redefine what we do and how to make it a long-term business.”
Omolade talks about challenges and goals
Like many companies, Omobolade cites the “Nigerian factor” as a major challenge.
“The exchange rate is against you. Shipping costs are double what they were before and getting payment from all over the world is a problem. After we went viral, we received many requests for overseas, but customers could not send payment to us.”
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Crochet Trend Thoughts and Tips
Omolade describes the crochet trend as a “beautiful thing to behold”, describing the art as therapeutic.
“I love seeing it because I understand the process that goes on there and how really happy it makes them.”
Advising other people building their craft, she stresses the need to be original and consistent.
“Take your own pace and find what works for you. Surround yourself with a support system because you will need it. No one can do it alone. A support system that will encourage you when things don’t go as planned. unique challenges. There really is no straight roadmap for this thing. Be close to God.