OHANA collection is a Kenyan company involved in trendy wear primarily focused on the youth. Our flagship product has been African print swimwear. It was founded by Neema Nkatha Kinoti, a twenty three year old finance student at United States International University- Africa (USIU).
- Why the creative industry?
Inspiration came when I was traveling to Europe and I discovered that there was nothing outstanding that is African or trendy especially in the swimwear category. When I came back home it was the same situation. I saw the gap in our Kenyan market and that is how OHANA was founded and established myself in the creative industry.
- Why the leap into entrepreneurship?
I have been raised in an entrepreneurship family. My father Luke Kinoti founded Fusion Capital and Versatile Insurance Agency and I worked under him. He has mentored me in both companies and now I had to curve my own niche.
- How did you raise the capital to start your business?
For the first stock my parents gave me a grant to start my loan. To scale up in the business I was assisted by my parents to secure a bank loan with which I have been able to order a large stock.
- How has the brand grown since inception?
It has honestly surprised me. I have managed to acquire many followers who are brand promoters.
- What are your marketing and PR strategies?
OHANA’s marketing style has been purely online (Instagram @ohana.swimwear, Facebook: OHANA Swimwear) and through word of mouth by family and friends.
- How are you paying it forward?
Ohana lies on the essence of a larger family that is not necessarily connected by blood but by genuine compassion, culture, support, loyalty, and love for each other. We have used the young people on our page as well as during events as our models to break into the fashion industry and we continue to tap into the talent of the youth in the industry as we empower each other to grow.
- Do you think there is enough government support to the industry?
There isn’t enough support. The government needs to do much more for the innovation sector through open forums, government scholarships, education and facilities that are easily accessible for example the country’s known for hosting agricultural shows ASK, could we have one that taps the innovation sector.
- Who is your mentor and is it important to have one?
In this industry, I have drawn my inspiration from Diana Opoti (Owner of Design Africa Collective) and Tilo Ponder (CEO of Whats Good Studios). They encouraged me and gave me insight to begin. They generously opened opportunities for me.
- Advice to other creatives?
My advice quoting from Gary Vaynerchuk is self- awareness is the magic. Knowing who you are is the magic. You have to know who you are, if you are doing it for the right reasons and you have to deploy empathy to why your personality may not work for somebody else. The key to building a personal brand is humility.