Chiezugo Orizu: On a Mission to Promote Local Brands

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Chiezugo-Orizu

People go into business for different reasons. For Chiezugo Orizu, the CEO of Zugo Dilly Wagen Limited, her main goal was to curb the prevalence of fake products, writes Vanessa Obioha

It is often said that Igbo from Anambra state, particularly Nnewi, the second largest city in the south-eastern state, possess an uncanny knack for business and entrepreneurship. This is evident in the rapid infrastructural development of the city compared to the state’s capital, Awka.

However true this may be, the founder of Zugo Dilly Wagen International Limited, Chiezugo Orizu would not give full credence for her industriousness to her cultural heritage. For the young lady, her proclivity towards business is a personal choice.

“I have met very industrious Yoruba people, and I’ve also encountered lazy Anambra people. Anambra has very industrious people nonetheless,” said the young entrepreneur.

As a child, Orizu had many aspirations. First, she wanted to be a lawyer because her father wanted her to study law, but as she grew older, her interest in law waned and she longed to be a diplomat. At the end of the day, Orizu graduated from Anambra State University, Uli with a Linguistics honour.

It was while in the university that she developed a keen interest in business. Her passion however was in the beauty business.

“I went into beauty business as a student. For me looking good is good business. Back then, I used to deal on Zaron cosmetics, a local brand. But my favourite brand then was Mac- top-notch quality. I was a make-up artist for three years,” she added.

Having access to different beauty products opened Orizu’s eyes to the number of fake beauty products in the country. It was always a disappointment to her each time she finds herself a victim or sees friends deliberately purchase fake products.

“I hate fake products. There are a lot of fake international brands in the market ranging from LV, Gucci, Fendi, Michael Kors, Zanotti etc, even cosmetics products. And each time I see such items, I’m not happy. I’d prefer a $20 original H&M gift to a fake Fendi gift,” Orizu stated. “Not only are they fake products, it’s also killing someone’s brand which is not good. I always ask myself, why wear a fake Gucci when you can own your own brand and build like Gucci?”

It was that question that led her into branding. She started her own branding company to promote Nigerian brands.

“Zugo Dilly Wagen is about helping clients to manufacture any product of their choice in their name. It can be cosmetics, clothes, shoes, handbags and even electronics. The goal is to be able curb the number of fake products in the market, and increase the number of Nigerian brands.”

So far, Orizu is content with the outcome of her mission. She pointed out however that it took a while before convincing Nigerians that local brands were also good.

“Nigerians are quite skeptical. They believe that local brands are not authentic but gradually there is a shift as more local brands are springing up and getting patronage as well.”

Like any other business, Orizu faced challenges but through social media, was able to position her brand effectively, particularly for her cosmetic brand Dilly’s Girl which she launched last year. On the brand’s Instagram page are the tagline ‘Don’t Copy it…Brand it’.

The cosmetic line has a diverse range of lipstick and lip gloss while she is still working on other beauty products.

“Give a woman the right lipstick, and she can conquer the world. Lipsticks are a go-to fashion item. You can wear just lipstick with no makeup on and still feel bold. Just like diamonds, lipsticks are a girl’s best friend too.”

Staying true to her heritage, Orizu named some of her lipsticks after important days and cities in Anambra. For instance, her lipshines are named after the four autonomous villages in Nnewi: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim and Nnewichi. Her matte lipsticks are also named after the four market days in Igbo land: orie, àfór, nkwó, and eke.