I am so excited to introduce this amazing woman to you. She uses Nigerian Adire Indigo fabrics for interior decorations. I met her at a competition for entrepreneurs in 2014. Do you know how cool it is to meet people who are of like minds as you? I bet you don’t! This woman makes me proud to be an entrepreneur. Miss Celestina Utoro (founder of Catyna designs ) is so passionate about her work and she understands the word ‘synergy’.
Q & A
- Please introduce yourself and your background.
My name is Celestina Utoro the CEO of Catyna Ventures(Design). I am from Delta State but grew up in Lagos – Nigeria. Trained Fashion Designer turned Interior Decorator. An Alumna of EDC-Pan Atlantic University, Fate Foundation, Leap Africa, WimBIZ (Women in Business Nigeria), Ideal Builders Mentoring Program and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mentoring Program. Member YouthTRADE Nigeria (KIND), an Awardee of YouWIN (Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, an innovative business plan competition).
- Please tell us about your work. How did Catyna Design start?
Catyna Ventures specializes in the production and installation of various types of window treatments and soft furnishing. In 2012, we launched Catyna Designs, a new innovation in the Interior Decoration/Soft Furnishing Industry in Nigeria using Nigerian Indigenous Fabrics such as Adire (tie and dye). Our newest innovation is the Adire Fabric Vertical Blinds which shade and control the effects of the afternoon sun, gleaming into homes and offices alike. Other products featuring in this range includes Throw Pillows, Gift Bags, Table runners, all manufactured in various designs and styles portraying the Nigerian culture and heritage. Another range being introduced is our accessories line, using recycled African fabrics /prints in producing bangles, hair ruffles, carrier bags, souvenirs and wine bags to mention a few.
- Where did the idea for Catyna Designs come from? Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?
The originator of my ideas is God. I love beautifications, happy space and colours. I am inspired by African heritage, the versatility of Nigerian Indigenous Fabrics. It’s cultural values and richness.
- Can you remember one of the first things you crafted? What makes it memorable?
The Adire vertical blinds made from Adire (tie and dye). Adire textile is an indigo dyed cloth made in south western Nigeria by industrious and dedicated yoruba women, men and youth incorporating a variety of resist dye techniques which shades and control the effects of the afternoon sun, gleaming into homes and offices alike. Its memorable because my Mentor (Mrs Toki Mabogunje) wanted something African and different from the conventional window blind dressing. She challenged me and I delivered beyond her imagination and congratulated me. It was very exciting for me and marked a new beginning in my entrepreneurship journey for Catyna designs.
- How long does it take to design and make a particular work? Can you give a short summary of the processes that go into each one?
It depends on design and availability of Fabrics. If we have stock of fabrics chosen it will take a day for a standard Window 3ft by 4ft. If request is customized and we have to dye and design to specification it will take at least Two Weeks.
- What are the challenges you face in business?
– Erratic power Supply
– Shortage of Skilled Tailor
– Lack of Machineries
- What is your most popular item (include image)?
This is called TMCDire Vertical Blind made from Adire(tie n dye). It was my very first piece and a New beginning for Catyna designs.
- To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian heritage for your work?
Catyna Design Works has 80% Nigerian contents with a combination of 20% Western. Our Raw materials are sourced locally and made by fifteen to thirty years experienced Artisans.
- What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
To be a leading producer of Innovative product, using African Cultural Materials, serving people who love and appreciate art. Empower less privileged young Girls and women discover their God given talent for growth especially single parents as pay forward.
- What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I wanted to be a musician at one point in my life.
- For someone who wishes to take up this kind of career, what kind of advice would you give them? Also, if you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own company, what would it be?
Training! Training !! Training!!! Don’t ever stop acquiring skills that will help you in developing your business. Get Entrepreneurial Skills and get a Mentor to guide you. Be passionate, Dedicated and always open to new ideas. Finally keep on networking, its your key to success.
- And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share two to four images of your work and tell us a little about each.
I don’t know about you, but I get very encouraged reading about how various brands started. The reason why I have chosen to focus on artisans, creatives, entrepreneurs in Africa is because it takes courage to turn ones passion into business, especially in an economy where you have to look out for yourself.
I don’t believe in unemployment, I’m a firm believer of growth and synergy.
Here is a quote that propels me by the Late Chaz B:
“If each one can reach one and if each one can teach one, what a much more wonderful nation Nigeria would be…”
If Bellafricana can hire one person to join her team and Catyna designs can hire one…. there will be 2 less people waiting for the government to provide jobs in making Nigeria a better place! (FOOD FOR THOUGHT!)
Thanks Miss Celestina for participating in Bellafricana’s Exclusive Interviews!
You can reach Catyna via her website catynadesign.com