Jane Ole is a woman of many ‘faces’. And for those who know her worth, Elizabeth Waldorf is a designing label capable of leaving you breathless. Aside that, her label has made it a point of duty to put smiles on faces of cancer patients through yearly gifts. For this young and talented lady who dumped her juicy bank job for a call to humanity, she is worth celebrating. Read on
How exactly did you get here?
I had stint in banking, ECO Bank precisely. I had also worked as Human Resources Manager at a consulting firm and at a telecoms firm. At a point, I realized there was no way I could handle my business (Elizabeth Waldorf) and still work 9 to 5. I had to focus more on my business to take it to the global scene.
What was the experience the first day you tried to make a dress?
I’ve been designing as a teenager and that’s where it all started. I woke up one morning and I realized this is what I love to do and I knew there was nothing else I’d rather do than fashion designs. So, I went through a lot of books, processes and all the prerequisites to be a great person at what I do. It’s like being a basket ball player, talent is not enough until you practice and spend hours honing your skill.
The first time I had to piece materials together, it was totally by hand. I sew a dress for my sister and it was rough around the edges but we got the basic idea and it was exciting and tacky at the same time. At least, my joy was that we got the design come to life.
How have you fared since you floated your label?
I’ve been designing for fifteen years, but Elizabeth Waldorf brand is just three years old. We’ve fared pretty well as a matter of fact. We started in our little world, so to speak and with time, a lot of people have become aware of the brand.
In January 2012, you showcased your winter/autumn collection dubbed ‘Structure, Lace, Romance’, but there was no follow up to this in 2013, what informed the hiatus?
Well, we just released the collection which is in store already. We’re retailing it at The Library, a luxury store tucked inside the Silverbird Galleria, Abuja. It’s very exciting and we should have an in-store launch sometime this month.
Can you describe in details what your sub-labels are?
Elizabeth Waldorf has Le Petit for kids; Elizabeth Waldorf 21 for socialites who are vibrant and young but want some element of luxury;we have the Elizabeth Waldorf Limited Edition which is the high end category and we have Elizabeth Waldorf Africa which is for women with African sense of fashion. So, we go around Africa to source for accessories to make the garments.
The brand extensions are; Elizabeth Waldorf Bridals, Elizabeth Waldorf Lifestyle, Elizabeth Waldorf Made to Measure, Elizabeth Waldorf Bespoke and Elizabeth Waldorf Premium Bespoke. In lifestyle, we have throw pillows, aprons and all sorts of exciting things you’d love. We just started Elizabeth Waldorf about two years ago and it’s for the woman who appreciates luxury during her big day. These elements make it open for all women irrespective of class to come in and get something really good for themselves.
How do you source your fabrics?
We source them from around the world, Milan, Paris, Dubai, London, Africa and so on. Recently, I’ve been excited about somewhere in Africa which I like to keep under wrap at the moment, but you find that reflect in some of the collections. We’re a global brand and that’s why we fuse stuffs around the world together.
What were your parents’ reactions when you started the business especially as they knew you were not doing badly in the corporate world?
Truly, I find a lot of young entrepreneurs say that, ‘oh, when I wanted to start my business, my parents never like the idea’, but I’ve been very fortunate because they’ve been extremely supportive from the start. My mom had some experience with food management and stuffs that have to do with fashion, so, I think that may have contributed to why it came easy for me. My parents have been extremely supportive, in all sincerity.
When you handled your first major job, how did you feel?
It was a wedding and I was nervous. That actually happened way before the brand kicked off. It was a friend’s wedding and I was contracted to make the bride’s maids dresses and at that time, we were just starting as a brand. I remember that I was just boosting my inner courage that, ‘ok Jane, you can do this’. So, I called my team together and we did something amazing and that was the point where I realized that this is something I could really do. That was four years ago.
Aside fashion, what other things excite you about life?
I love food and I really love to cook. I look forward to the Sunday dinner with my family every time. I might just have something to do with food along the line because I’m still an entrepreneur at the end of the day. I’m excited about travels. I realized that the more you travel, the more you’re aware of other cultures and this is what I would love to do more as I go along my life. I love Paris and Italy but I’d really love to spend a lot of time in Paris. I’m looking forward to that.
How about your awareness campaign on cancer among women?
Every year, Elizabeth Waldorf brand has a time to make women aware of cancer and the harsh reality of its existence. We hand out gifts and create platforms for affected women to share their stories in order to make other women aware of the scourge.
Two years ago, we gave out Swarovski crystal necklace which is another brand we work with. And last year, we gave out to the winner, a limited edition dress embellished with precious stones.
How did you do it ?
We told women to help one woman who inspires them and they shared the stories with us.The best story won the necklace. It’s our corporate social responsibility to our community to make women know about the disease.
You’re elegant, vivacious, enterprising and single, are you in any relationship?
My world is one so private, do you mind?
So, what do you want in the man that will be yours?
I desire an intelligent, hardworking, God-fearing man who supports my dream all the way.
Which of the celebrities would you say have a near-perfect lifestyle?
That’s difficult to answer, but I’d say I like the personal style of Olivia Parlemo , Tina Craig, Victoria Beckham & Miroslava Duma.
If you would flip through the phone of any star, who would that be?
Who in the world would you like to dine with?
What outfit would you never be caught in?
Grunge boots and a body con micro mini skirt.
What do you crave for all the time?
I mostly crave for food. I love my dessert and seafood (love prawns!). Lifestyle wise, I’m a fragrance junkie so I can’t do without my scented candles especially at the office.
Who is Jane Ole?
Jane Ole is a fashion designer. I love my art and my work for Elizabeth Waldorf. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I believe in dreaming and working hard. I’m a woman who isn’t afraid of failure but my ultimate goal like any focused entrepreneur is success. I hate mediocrity and I believe in putting in a 101% always. I love family and God above all.