Letrice Okai took a leap of faith when she chose to step out from her corporate 9 to 5 norm to pursue her very own self-sustaining brand. Four years and counting Letrice is thriving with her Ghanaian inspired brand called Okai Fabrics. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ms.Okai as she shared her experience growing her brand from the ground up.
“God told me it was time to leave my job. I was afraid but I was obedient. It was funny I never intended to design” Letrice shared. Over the last decade there has been and an explosion of appreciation for Kente fabrics. However, depending on where you choose to shop you may be wearing a very impressive counterfeit. Letrice also noticed this and wanted to make it easier for people to access authentic Kente fabric from Ghana.
With the help of her mother-in-law, she was able to bring yards of the authentic material to people in the US. As people admired the different fabrics, Letrice noticed that many people had inquiries about where they could find local seamstresses who could create clothing. This led her to transition from being a fabric vendor to developing the skill of sewing herself. Her first official sale was in April of 2016. Since then Letrice has gone on to sell out popular items each year. “When you buy from Okai Fabrics you are helping multiple households. I purchase the Ghanaian fabric from my mother- in -law who goes to local Ghanaian markets. I love that I am also helping other business owners with my sales.” Letrice also shared her experience balancing a successful business and having a new baby. “I love being at home with her. Family is always first for me, and I took 3 months off to focus on her completely. Now she’ll watch me design and sometimes sit on my lap as I make different items,” Letrice explained. When asked what she hopes for her business in the future, Letrice shared that she wants to have a team of seamstresses. She also hopes to work with local hospitals to provide cancer patients with headscarves as they go through treatment.
Letrice knows the stresses of starting a new business and shared advice for budding designers and entrepreneurs. She encouraged designers not to be discouraged if they see other people with similar ideas but instead to be inspired to find ways to present their brand. She expressed the importance of keeping tunnel vision and warned to not get distracted by other people’s journeys. Lastly, she shared her key success came from surrounding herself with people who were supportive and staying consistent as her brand took form.
To see Letrice’s Okai Fabric available selection visit the link below.