Independent brand & designer of Midget Giraffe, Linda Omeni joins Mikara Reid of #ZINETALK (powered by ZINEBYMIKARA.com). She opens up about her attention-grabbing brand name, Eva Marcille and tips on how to have a successful brand. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on this brand and the podcast (we love feedback) !
[Mikara] Hey girl
[Mikara] Thank you so much for taking the time to join #ZINETALK. I definitely wanted to have you on because I’ve been following you, for a couple of years . I saw your work at African Fashion Week LA when Claire hosted and then I also saw an influencer wearing your brand, Caribbean cowgirl (I think that’s who it was).
[Mikara] I was like ohhh let me check her out. Then I saw you were in New Jersey and I said oh yea I gotta follow ‘cus she’s from New Jersey.
[Linda] Yea thank you!
[Mikara] I saw that you started in 2014 and your from Nigeria – which I was there last year (beautiful place).
[Linda] Nice !
[Mikara] What got you into starting Midget Giraffe?
[Linda] Well my grandmother owned a boutique in Nigeria, growing up. And I grew up watching her sew. I use to get excited when clients would come to her shop and try on her pieces that she made. How they would feel, express that they were excited and they would feel beautiful! Growing up, I’ve always loved fashion; I’ve always felt the way I dress was different from my peers. And I’ve always wanted to see something different in the market than what I was used too. I’m use to African prints cut in a traditional way that our parents grew up with and I’ve always wanted to see something different, like a different style aesthetic brought into that African print styling world. So that’s pretty much how I got started experimenting, making pieces for myself and people would love it. Eventually blossomed into a clothing brand.
[Mikara] Yea, you are definitely your best model and market when it comes to starting your own business especially when it comes to accessories or clothing.
[Linda] Thank you.
[Mikara] What really, really triggered me was the name of your brand, Midget Giraffe. What, how did that come about?
[Linda] (LOL) I know everyone asks that question. So when you think of midget, you typically think of short and when you think of a giraffe they are so tall and a beautiful animal. When you put two perspectives together, opposites perspectives together to create something unique that no one has ever seen before. So when you think of Midget Giraffe, you think of a designer brand cut in western style with eastern prints. So you’re bringing two worlds together to create something unique.
[Mikara] Ok, so now it makes sense!
[Linda] Yea, think about Midget Giraffe as an oxy-moron. Two things opposite from one another but you bring them together.
[Mikara] Yessssss! When I heard it, I was like Midget Giraffe?! What is this!
[Linda] Yeah! (LOL) I wanted it to be caughty you know. I wanted a name that grabs your attention and curiosity; wanting to know more about the brand, what its about, stand for and how we came about. Its working I guess (LOL).
[Mikara] Yes it definitely grabbed the attention. When I wore your pants and someone was like where did you get those pants from and I said Midget Giraffe and they were like no I’m asking you the brand of the pants and I’m like yea that’s the name of the brand, Midget Giraffe.
[Mikara] And they were like OMG that’s so weird.
[Mikara] So don’t ask, that’s the name of the brand. But I like it, the story makes sense and it goes with the overall brand look. Another thing I really really like about your brand, I feel like a lot of the online stores on Instagram, they don’t do this, (well a lot of them don’t this) are pop up shops.
[Mikara] I seen that you were in Atlanta, Houston, Africa Fashion Week LA. What made you go to those different places?
[Linda] I do my pop up shops where a lot of my clients are because I want to meet them in person. Its one thing to sell online and talk via DM or email but its another thing when you can interact with your clients in person. Its just a whole different perspective and you get to have a whole conversation with them. They get to pick your brain, exchange stories about how they started and hopefully inspire someone else like one of my clients. And I follow the demographics, where most of my clients are. A lot of my clients are in New York, Atlanta, LA, and kind of spread all over. I go predominantly where they are. And I am trying to start now, go to places where I don’t have a lot of clients, just so I can expose the brand a little bit more.
[Mikara] I know you had your last one in March in West Orange.
[Mikara] Do you feel like its beneficial to do pop ups or Instagram? Which one do you feel is a better marketing tool?
[Linda] I definitely think Instagram is a better marketing tool. Because you have a wider expose. You know you can reach from United States to China. Your clientele exposure is not limited, but a pop up shop is a little more precise as far as location. And only people with that demographic can attend unless one of your amazing fans want to fly out. But if you want a wider reach, I would definitely recommend using your social media tools, and your newsletters. But in the meantime if you want to reach out to a particular audience and location then a pop up shop would be great. And it also works well with being able to interact with your clients like I mentioned earlier.
[Mikara] I was wondering if the infamous Eva Marcille found you on Instagram because she wore your dress.
[Mikara] I forget the name of the dress.
[Linda] You know what’s crazy is when I was in college right, I remember my freshman year I was sitting in my dorm room and I was watching Eva on America’s Top Model. I was watching her and I was like oh my gosh she’s so beautiful! I was just like amazed by her, you know and just her confidence and her poise and never in a million years. You know at this time I was like what 18/19 years old. I didn’t even think about starting a clothing brand as one of my goals. I had no idea. So yes, she found me on social media. I mean I asked her how she connected to me but it doesn’t ever matter. I was really excited !
[Mikara] The power of IG.