Oludan is an African clothing store that promotes and sells a wide variety of ethically sourced African clothing, African accessories and African home decor made in Nigeria and Ghana. It was established in April 2016 by May Olusola-Oyairo.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I have always loved fashion and wanted to do something African fashion related for the longest. Growing up under the wings of an African fashionista mother (from Ghana and Nigeria) carved the style crave in me from day one. Her bazaar of African print clothing always fascinated and inspired me. I grew up around them and today they are almost growing on everything around me.
African prints are more than pieces of clothing in my life. They played a vital role in shaping my confidence. I will tell you how.
I was born with a conspicuous red birthmark on the left side of my face. In primary school, kids often teased and bullied me verbally. They referred to me as a “Red face monster” or “Your-mother-must-have-slapped-you-with-a-red-spoon.” These negative remarks stabbed my self-worth to the point I believed I was truly a hideous monster. This was the genesis of my traumatic odyssey in the world of self-rejection and timidity. I did not have a sense of belonging among my peers and felt all alone.
My mom Elizabeth Oyairo in African print in Lagos, Nigeria in 1972.
My mother - Elizabeth Oyairo in 1976, 1991 and 1965.
My mother walking alongside the President of Nigeria at the time Major General Yakubu Gowon in 1969. She was 5 months pregnant with my brother.
It was during this phrase of my life that my mother’s closet of African and western clothing offered me solace and eventually an identity. I played a lot with her clothes, mixed and matched them and often designed some in my head. Her closet was an oasis of colors, boldness and hope – a vivid representation of my mother. I was free to be and ultimately do “me.” Her style was the first spark that eventually ignited the fire of confidence in me.
I was 19 years old here and wearing an African print dress.
My faith and positive affirmations played a pivotal role in unshackling me from self-worthlessness. I became convinced people were noticing me for my fashion and not my red birthmark. African fashion took me to another dimension. I became skilled in provoking attention anytime I showed up in my custom made African attire. The vibrant colors and patterns most times announce my presence.
Oludan was birth in 2016 with a young woman convincing me to take the first step. I did and the rest is history. The name is a coined combination of the names of my two sons: Olumide and Daniel.
In an effort to give back to young girls treading on the familiar path of self-worthlessness, bullying and low self-esteem, a percentage from the sales of all Oludan products goes to the Elizabeth Oyairo foundation for girls in need. Proceeds are used to empower young girls through education and mentoring to seek validation from within and not the wrong channels.
There are new designs every month and happy customers remains the best icing on our cake.
Thank you for taking your time to read this piece. Look through the store and order at your convenience.
May Olusola Oyairo