Stephanie Onuabuchi Akaninwor is based in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. She has been an entrepreneur and craftsperson for over 3 years and is an alumna of the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria where she studied Geography and Environmental Management.
Stephanie’s day often begins very early and she describes her days as fluid without much of a start and end point. “Well I’d like to say my day never starts nor ends because I’m mostly awake till the early morning. If I’m awake till 4-5am I say my prayers, as a Christian I love committing my entire day into God’s hands. Sometimes I praise and read the Bible, do some house chores and then shower. Before heading out for fashion school I try to write, seeing as I love writing, and do some research to learn a thing or two. Lately, I leave the house for school around 9am and come back home between 2 to 3pm.”
She sets out a specific time to eat during the day which is usually at noon and then she snacks along for the rest of the day and she engages in recreational activities. “I watch a lot of YouTube videos on fashion and crafts and then I create time to play and discuss with my relatives, especially my nieces, and then I see some movies; I’m a movie lover because it helps me relax my brain. If there’s service in church or choir rehearsal for the day, I attend and I also try to stay away from negative news throughout the day in order to maintain sanity.”
Although she’s been professionally practicing for 3 years, her love for art and crafts started early. “I have always been a lover of arts and crafts and also fashion as well. During my internship in my undergraduate days I decided to learn how to make notepads, footwear, and earrings using Ankara fabric. I never knew I’d make a business out of it until one month after my training. Some of my sister’s friends patronized me and then I knew this could be one of the things I would be known for.”
“After my undergraduate studies…” she continued, “I decided to go into fashion to expand my skill set. I couldn’t be consistent with the training because of my NYSC posting, a dental issue and then of course, COVID-19. However, the good thing is I didn’t let the pandemic stop me… I applied for the Master’s program at Rivers State University in December 2020 and this year, in February 2021, I decided to continue with my fashion school and I have to say I’m really proud of myself and excited for the journey ahead. I have completed my basic training and I’m currently heading for the Intermediate and advanced levels. The good news is that in May 2021 I secured Master’s admission at Rivers State University, which means I am currently multitasking between school and business and I love what I do every day.”
Stephanie has visited 6 out of the 9 Niger Delta States and she loves the diversity of the region including its culture, heritage, and food. “In the next five years I see myself owning a very big fashion house that produces all kinds of Ankara craft renowned globally not just on the shores of Africa. I also see myself publishing a book, getting married and raising beautiful kids.”