Laced with Culture by Jane Umunna
If you’ve ever been interested in starting a new business you quickly learn the importance of embracing the journey. Jane Umunna of Laced with Culture is walking that walk and has a few tidbits to share about her experience one stitch at a time.
Jane U., let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started teaching myself to sew as a child. During a homework project I discovered that my grandmother was a seamstress. My mom jokingly said “maybe sewing is hereditary”, but what she didn’t realize is that my persistence in learning this skill would continue into my adulthood. I continued to sew by hand and eventually taught myself how to use a secondhand sewing machine. I would sew things for myself because I wanted unique pieces that I couldn’t find in the store. I also love Ankara/ African wax print and was inspired by a Ghanaian show “Adams Apples”, they showed successful beautiful African women wearing bright African prints in office wear and also in figure flattering dresses. My grandmother passed the year that I got married, so to honor her I sewed the gowns for my traditional Nigerian wedding. I had several people ask where I got my dresses from and when I proudly said “I made them”, people asked if I sewed for others. Eventually I gained some courage and LacedWithCulture was created.
Has it been a smooth road for you?
Being a business owner has definitely not been easy, especially since it was something that I didn’t want to do out of fear. I have friends that have been in business for years and I see what they sometimes have to deal with and I wanted no parts of that lol. I always thought that I would just have my career (I’m a Registered Nurse) and that would be it. I would say that my main struggle would be that I have a hard time promoting myself (I’m an introvert by nature). I’m also still learning my own worth in what I do. Sewing custom pieces takes time, energy, and recourses and I’m learning to factor that into my pricing. Learning the legal aspects of being a business owner has also been a bit of a struggle. Fortunately my husband has been able to assist me with this.
Please tell us about your WERK:
I specialize in African print/Ankara custom wear as well as formal wear (prom, weddings, pageants, etc.). I make custom pieces for men and women of all ages and sized. I love to make the vision of my clients come to fruition. I also strive to make everyone look and feel their best. I believe that curves should be celebrated and that people should feel proud to wear African prints and bright colors.
Please share any words of wisdom sister to sister.
I’m still a fairly new business, but if I could start over I would have definitely have had more confidence in my talent. I look back at my work and I’ve done some pretty awesome things. I really feel that God has blessed me with a gift and I’m so grateful.
Check out some of Jane’s WERK!
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