Kamokini is a swimwear created by Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo.
It is seen as the swimwear for every African woman, regardless of shape and size.
Kamokini was created when she could not find a swimwear to match her taste.
“A swimsuit is kind of like wearing your underwear in public. So the inspiration for Kamokini came out of a self-conscious need to feel beautiful and comfortable, and look confident while I’m so exposed.”
She adds that western swimwear brands do not satisfy the African woman, as they are created with western women as the target market.
She says the African woman’s body proportions are very different from that of the western. Hence, she’s working towards including all possible sizes and shapes to her collection.
She began designing some for herself, however, Kamokini didn’t fully kick in until she realized a high demand from friends and family members.
Before moving back to Nigeria in 2014, Kambili was based in the United Kingdom. She finished her high school as well as her University in the UK.
Kambili obtained a BSc. and MSc. degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Imperial College. She also got another MSc degree in Supply Chain & Logistics Management from Cranfield University, Milton Keynes.
Engineer Turned Swimwear Creator
Kambili also had a career in the oil and gas sector. She worked as a Procurement Expeditor in Total Nigeria. Prior to that, she worked as a New Product Development Project Manager for Heinz Continental Europe in the Netherlands.
Now, she works as a Business Consultant for Ethnic Heritage Centre, something she does in conjunction with managing Kamokini.
Kambili cites outsourcing as both an advantage and a disadvantage to her business. Outsourcing to Turkey and China ensures that experienced and professional hands will be working on her merchandise at low-cost. However, the customs fee paid on importing her finished product is disheartening. Not only that but it also hinders easy change of the products in case of dissatisfaction.
On handling her own business. Kambili states being able to be tough when the need arises is one of the keys to running it successfully.
“I like to consider myself as a nice, friendly person. I don’t like offending people and I don’t want to be the bad guy. But in business you have to be able to put that aside at times and actually get down to it,” she says.
“I find I’m constantly training myself on how to talk to people and give them constructive feedback when they are not doing what I need them to do. In the end, if you can’t say how you really feel, the only person that suffers is you… And I’m still working through being able to speak my mind irrespective of who I think I am going offend or who is not agreeing with what I think.”
“You need to be able to be disciplined enough to push through those bits. And if you can’t do it, don’t expect someone else to be able to sacrifice that time or effort to do it for you. That is definitely something I would say is important in business,” she emphasises.
Kamokini finished second place at the She Leads Africa 2015 entrepreneur showcase. Taking home $5,000 to support her business.
Many celebrities have been spotted in Kamokini.