I came across this stall at a Mente de Moda event last year and I will never forget the navy blue and white polka dot socks that caught my eye. They were the cutest socks ever! You can definitely find your basic pair of ordinary socks in Nigeria, but to find a quirky, creative, and stylish pair? It might take a lot more effort! I particularly like this business because it’s run by this adorable husband and wife, hence the name ‘Nicole & Giovanni’. I’m curious to know how they come to a point of consonance in regards to creative direction and so many other aspects of their business as partners in business and life. Lucky for us, we got a chance to interview them so that you can get a deeper insight into their business!
MDM: What made you two go into socks?
NGS: Nicole and Giovanni Socks is a divine instruction from God coupled with my eye for a great dress sense and my partner’s research strength.
MDM: Where are your socks made?
NGS: We design N&G Socks in Nigeria but manufacture them outside Nigeria.
MDM: What’s it like working with your partner?
NGS: It is the greatest feeling ever! Not solely because she is my life partner but because she brings her professionalism, technical experience and project management skills to the table. She is also a business strategist, so she keeps us in check while I contribute my experience in creativity, sales, brand positioning and client engagement. We make an effective team.
MDM: Was it capital intensive to start?
NGS: It was capital intensive, but not over the top due to the fact that we started small and grew organically.
MDM: What is your secret for work life balance?
NGS: We’re intentional about it. We make it a duty to spend quality time together, with family and close friends. Often times, we get away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos, to unwind, get inspiration and realign.
MDM: What are your core values as a business?
MDM: What do you want the Nicole & Giovanni legacy to be?
NGS: A world class brand that challenges conventional perceptions, evolves and innovates
MDM: What hobbies outside of this keep you sane?
NGS: I love football, Aderonke enjoys movies and books. We both love art.
MDM: Where can people purchase your socks?
NGS: Our socks can be purchased via our online store www.nicoleandgiovanni.com and registered stock lists in over 20 states of the federation. Details can be found on the website. We also invest in Facetime with our customers during the monthly Mente De Moda Marketplace.
MDM: What were some mistakes that you made when starting your business that other people could look out for?
NGS: Unfortunately none comes to mind perhaps because of the level of strategy and process involved. However, we have encountered challenges ranging from recruitment of trusted and committed hands, effective vendors and funding.
MDM: What businesses do you admire?
NGS: I admire businesses in the consulting space that propose quality solutions and turnaround failing businesses.
MDM: What source of motivation gets you through stressful days at the moment?
NGS: The thought of seeing clients from different parts of the world enjoying the brand gets me on a certain high. The positive vibes from a customer owning a pair is incomparable.
MDM: What’s your advice for anybody who wants to go into the same industry?
NGS: Know your product; know your target market and most importantly, know your numbers.
MDM: What do you love the most about Mente de Moda?
NGS: The organization, relationship management and consistency. We have been privileged to be part of the growth from inception. It keeps getting bigger and better.
MDM: Tell us your life mantra
NGS: I aim to always WIN! I don’t accept mediocrity and I’m repulsed by the word “impossible”.
MDM: What is the last book you read?
NGS: I’m currently reading, “HBR’s 10 must reads, On Innovation”.
MDM: Social media handles, website, contact details?
There you have it guys! If you need any out of the box and good quality socks, these are your guys! Or should it be, this is your guy and girl? You get the point anyway! For those looking to go into this industry, they’re doing a pretty good job at it, so we hope you found this interview useful.