My parents wanted me to be a lawyer, but I chose fashion instead -Maryam Elisha, CEO Ricaoto By Me
Maryam Elisha has always loved fashion. When she won Miss Valentine Beauty Pageant, Nigeria in 2007, she had the opportunity of wearing very expensive and beautiful dresses from top designers within and outside Africa.
Maryam felt that Nigerian women needed a clothing line that would be accessible and affordable for them to purchase. So, she thought of fashion business as something she loved doing, and today, she owns Ricaoto By Me, a fashion company in Nigeria.
Enjoy her story.
Recession and sales of luxury dresses
Recession is affecting businesses in the country. We have clients slashing prices on the products from the actual amounts we made the dresses. They now slash into two, they want most dresses half the usual prices. It’s been difficult to get fabrics because we have to deal with the cost of exchange rates. We have to change naira to dollar to buy fabrics but we keep on trying to cope and we hope it’s going to be just for a moment.
Where we make our clothes
We don’t have a particular showroom yet in Nigeria but we have a massive factory and we produce here in Lagos and export to different places and different stores. The factory is at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos. Our designs are usually very detailed, they speak for themselves, very glamorous, maybe sometimes extravagant and unique.
I attended New Jersey Fashion School after learning with normal machine at home. When I was in school, I would just go back home and stitch some things and sketch some clothes so that when I start I would be outstanding. It’s been like that and it grew into business.
Meaning of fashion Line, Ricaoto
It’s actually my name and it means fruitful. I’m from Kebbi State and that’s a tribal name. So, when I was looking for a name for the brand, I asked people what they feel about using Ricaoto, an uncommon name for the brand. Some said it sounded Italian, others said it sounded French, but I thought it was okay to settle for that.
My parents didn’t want me to do fashion, they wanted me to be a lawyer. That was the dream they had for me. I studied English Language, I also wanted to study law but what I got was English. It took them so long to accept the fact that I was going into fashion designing because they felt people looked down on designers. They felt it wasn’t a serious business; one had to do something more serious with one’s life. But now they love it.