You see gorgeous editorials, fresh new content, exciting TV and film shows, but you rarely get to peek behind the curtain where the magic happens. In this new series, we join young, talented creatives and fashion executives in a short fun interview series, learn about their work, how they got their start and what new exciting projects are to come. We spotlight industry creatives, celebrate their wins, and inspire upcoming creatives to seize the day. Every week, we’ll learn from individuals who conquered their doubts and fears and made moves to follow their fashionable dreams.


I landed a role for a prominent fashion company as my first job out of college, and since then fashion has been such a huge part of my life.

@onalajaofficial Onalaja SS17 on Moda Operandi

Role/Title: Product Manager, Moda Operandi

Born & Raised: Born in New Jersey, raised in Lagos and New York

How you got into fashion:

My mother has always been very into fashion, and as a young girl I would always be inspired by the African brands she would wear. In school I had opportunities to intern with fashion companies, so my passion for this industry grew as I got older. I landed a role for a prominent fashion company as my first job out of college, and since then fashion has been such a huge part of my life.

How did you become product manager at MO?  

I have worked in Fashion my entire career, I started off in Merchandising at LVMH (TAG Heuer) and then moved into an eCommerce merchandising role at Louis Vuitton North America and Scandia Home. I’ve always wanted to understand running a business holistically, and the right next step for me was to move into a Product Management role. I had the opportunity to transition from managing a merchandising team at Moda Operandi to working on the technology team.

I now support a team that builds the shopping experience on Moda Operandi’s site and Mobile App, and interface with various business units on the day-to-day. The best part of this role is that I’m getting a holistic view of running a fashion company, and learning the ins and outs of an omni-channel business.

Maki Oh SS 2018 on Moda Operandi

What brands excited you on this trip? Is there anyone you would like to see on  Moda this season or next?

Style Temple, Washington Roberts, Imad Eduso, Funke Adepoju, Taryor Gabriels, Bridget Awosika, Tiffany Amber, Andrea Iyamah, Kluk CGDT. I would love to see all of these brands on Moda.

@onalajaofficial Onalaja SS17 on Moda Operandi

What skills do you think one needs to become a Product Manager?

You need to have an interest in technology  and a natural empathy for customers. Technology can be learned, but understanding your customer’s needs is integral in being a good product manager. 

What are designers on the continent missing in trying to reach an international/broader audience?

Let’s be honest, we have amazing talent and one-of-a-kind designers in Africa. I think in order for us to reach a broader audience, our brands should focus on these key areas:

– Building your network and maintaining key contacts in the industry

– Making sure behind-the-scenes operations run seamlessly: This includes shipping channels, production quality and quantity and proper retail planning

– Making sure your products are easily accessible online

– Ensuring the visibility of your products on a global platform: Partnering with global brands, marketing etc.

@onalajaofficial Onalaja SS17 on Moda Operandi
@onalajaofficial Onalaja SS17 on Moda Operandi
Lisa Folawiyo Studio Resort 2013 on Moda Operandi
Lisa Folawiyo Studio Resort 2013 on Moda Operandi

Do you consider yourself a champion for African Brands at MO? 

YES of course. I’ve been able to get African brands like Maki Oh on Moda’s site. As a Nigerian woman in the luxury ecommerce space, I feel a personal responsibility to bring awareness to African brands. This involves me building relationships with buyers and advocating for African brands that fit the Moda aesthetic.

What’s your best advice for a brand trying to get on MO?

I give everyone the same advice. Make sure you can do exclusive pieces, ensure your production is together (as far as quantity and quality), build your resume, and be easy to work with.

Do you enjoy your work? What challenges have you found along the way? Share your story with us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

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