Tania Omotayo: My growth has been organic, steady
Tania Omotayo is a model, actor, event host and entrepreneur. Born on the 14th of June 1992, she studied at the Art Institute of Atlanta where she got a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. Upon her return to Nigeria, she worked in a media and public relations firm in Lagos while she also pursued her modelling and acting career. She later started Ziva Lagos, a ready to wear fashion brand that caters to the modern Nigerian woman. In 2018, Forbes Africa listed her among 30 persons under the age of 30 for being creative. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her journey in the fashion and entertainment industry.
You are multifaceted. How are you able to combine all your distinct roles and still be at your best?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it all out. Being a mom is the biggest role I have and this in itself is a full time job. Combining being a mum and having multiple businesses is a lot of work. Some days, I’m at my best and some other days I’m not. But every day I make a conscious decision to do my best and that’s all that matters.
What inspired you to create your fashion brand?
I started Ziva Lagos for myself actually. When I moved back from America in 2013 after I graduated from university, I really struggled with finding affordable ready to wear clothes. And when I did find clothes, it bothered me that they were ridiculously expensive. I figured I wasn’t the only one having this issue so I decided to try and make easy, affordable and everyday clothing.
Having worked in the media and public relations space prior to taking on fashion, how did you achieve a smooth transition?
I think having that background in PR and the media was my holy grail. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My experience helped me shape my brand into what it is today and I couldn’t be more grateful.
What new thing should we expect from you?
This year is our year of growth and expansion. As you may or may not know, we moved into our second factory a month ago. This new factory is triple the size of my first factory, meaning more production. With a higher production rate, we can reach more people in more countries. Ziva Lagos opened in Abuja a few months ago, and we are currently building our third store.
How would you access your growth in the industry over the years?
In my opinion my growth has been organic and steady. I started Ziva Lagos in my living room and would carry all the clothes in my car boot. I always had access to them while I was at my ‘9-5’ job. After about six months with no staff, I hired my first staff and moved into our first store. This store was literally the size of a bathroom. It was tiny, but to me it was everything I had ever dreamt of. A year later, in 2018, we moved into our current Lagos location, a whole Ziva Building. It was something that I had only dreamt of. In 2020, I opened Ziva Kids and in 2021 we opened in Abuja. We are in 2022 now and we are working on our third store.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is a form of self-expression.
What is your style?
My fashion reflects my mood. Most days I’m in jeans and T-shirt because I’m busy with work and don’t have a lot of time to think about what to wear. So I grab the first jeans I see and the first top. But when I’m able to play dress up, it really excites me.
Who is your favourite designer?
I don’t actually have a favourite designer but I have people who inspire me. Amancio Ortega who is the founder of Zara, Adenike Ogunlesi who is the founder of Ruff n Tumble and Conna Walker, the founder of House of CB.
What is your favourite outfit?
My favorite outfit right now is the feather set from Ziva Lagos
Describe yourself in three words?
The three words I would use to describe myself are Strong, resilient and go-getter.
What is your life mantra?
I am enough.