Kelechi Anyadiegwu is the founder of Zuvaa
What started with a compliment turned one young woman’s idea into a million dollar business.
When Kelechi Anyadiegwu started her online African clothing store
Zuvaa with $500 two years ago, her idea was to share African-inspired
designs with consumers around the world. Zuvaa is estimated to make $2
million in sales in 2016.
After receiving a compliment on her outfit, the tech savvy 24-year-old bought a domain name and started social media accounts.
“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.
“As a women of Nigerian descent, I grew up with African prints
and fabrics. I loved wearing African inspired designs, and whenever I
did wear these pieces, people wanted to know how they could also shop
African inspired prints.”
Zuvaa is taking African fashion all over the world
Instead of just referring these curious customers on to the designers she knew, Anyadiegwu saw a business opportunity.
“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,” she said.
Her success has already landed her on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Passion x expertise = a winning formula
While the path of a tech entrepreneur is not an easy one, Anyadiegwu’s education set her up for success.
After studying User Experience Design in the U.S., she combined her
passion for representing Africa on the world stage, her keen eye for
design and tech expertise.
“I’ve always been a techie. I’m very interested in how technology and design could be used to change lives.
“Zuvaa brought together everything I was ever interested in. My
love for Africa, my interest in fashion and my skills in technology.”
The life of a young entrepreneur
Anyadiegwu has been very vocal about the fact that she did not want a traditional 9 to 5 job.
And she’s not alone, according to research by Bentley University,
77% of millennials say flexible work hours make them more productive.
“My days are a lot longer than 9-5!” says Anyadiegwu. “From
when I wake up to when I go to sleep, I’m working on Zuvaa. If I’m not
directly working on Zuvaa, I’m definitely thinking about it.”
Anyadiegwu predicts Zuvaa is on track to make $2 million in gross sales this year, she said having a clear vision is key.
“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
“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
The name ‘Zuvaa’ comes from ‘Zuva’ which means sun or sunshine in
the language of the Shona people from Zimbabwe. Anyadiegwu’s vision for
the company is clear;
“We are building a movement of artisans, consumers and people
around the world who want to know the stories behind their garments.
Where they come from and who made them.”
“People are excited that their traditional prints are going
global and it’s driven by people from their communities. Many are
fascinated with the market that exists outside of Africa and how the
global interest is trickling down to their local communities,” added the young entrepreneur.