Who: Darlene and Lizzy Okpo
What did you do before launching your own line/what is your fashion background?
Darlene: I was a visual merchandiser for four years before we started William Okpo. It was a great experience because it was a great marketing tool to engage customers.
Lizzy: When we debut William Okpo I was/am a student. I have also worked with the fashion label Libertine for a few years, in addition to working at Opening Ceremony.
How did the line come to be?
We lanned for a few years. It was Christmas of 2009 when we said enough is enough, we rolled our eyes, stomped our feet and put all of the fear behind us. We’ve just decided to move our feet and stop talking about it.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is balancing all of the work load between us. Dealing with production for a current season while creating a new collection for the next season is a huge challenge. Not to mention we juggle school and work around our clothing line, which is almost like being three different people in one week.
What’s the ballsiest thing you’ve had to do to for your business?
Hahahaha. Everyday is an adventure for us. We are pretty tough girls. Sometimes we show up to an office unannounced. It is important to be upfront and tell people what you want. Usually someone is caught off guard, but we are still able to charm our way into a good deal, respectfully.
Where do you see William Okpo five years from now?
In five years we expect William Okpo to prosper into a strong, positive venture. Essentially, we expect to expand into shoes and accessories as well as menswear.
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Our advice would be to do your research. Also, being confident and humble comes a long way. It’s important to have a strong idea of what you want to do and where you would like to be. It is also ideal to be alert, watch and listen at all times.