From its nursery in the school days of its founder in Warri, Delta, in 2017, through its transplant to Lekki, Lagos, and its imminent spread to Abuja, BLAQ DIAMOND (BD) has left no one in doubt of what it’s up to: to become Nigeria’s one-stop house of everything women fashion.
Now, three years after, with a departmental store, a salon, Lawyers Pack, a logistics company, and an online legal service added, BD has made its statement.
In the whole of Lagos, you hardly find all of these services in one place. It’s like a mall.
So Konye Ishie, its founder, has reason to make a toast, her third, on August 4. (50 percent discount for you all)
“I understand that corporate birthday is an avenue to celebrate achievements,” she told the National Daily.
And here the celebration goes: BD is no longer a boutique with just one trademarked line Lawyer Pack, a powerhouse of lawyers’ ensembles.
“It’s now a departmental store where we sell different brands like Fashion Nova, Body Shop (UK cosmetics), Zara, Victoria Secret (US), Denim, Adidas, the BLAQ Corner (for black outfits), European brands, US brands, and the Under-5k Corner, and a salon (Warri)—to accommodate as many clients as possible,” she said.
Complementing these is BLAQ DIAMOND Logistics for delivering items—not just for the store only but also for the general public.
If that makes item delivery easy, the online e-commerce website the business added just makes customer experience much more fun.
“Our website www.theblaqdiamond.com features all the department services as categories. You can access all and place an order right there.”
She’s already in talk with distributors in South Africa, Ghana, the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Paris and others—places where BD already has clients. “So if you are in the US, for instance, you can always get our items online.”
All this expansion and tweaking in the last three years has helped BD maintain its top-notch products and services. And, Ishie said, the effort has also helped beef up to 100 percent the business customers service which no fewer than 17 dedicated staffers run. Which is why the business, according to her, has experienced a spike in sales and big-ticket patronage. Among the hotshots that make up BD’ customer base are Delta’s First Lady Edith Okowa, Pastor Mary Owase of Christ Embassy, and Hon. Evelyn Oboro Omavowan.
Everybody savors the sweet smell of success. But like most entrepreneurs, Ishie has had to take the rough with the smooth to build her brand. One, the business climes are not that friendly. In fact, the e-commerce add-on is a spin-off of a global crisis: the Covid-19 pandemic. To make things murkier, the fashion industry itself, fraught with competition, is now saturated. “So it’s been a rollercoaster of an experience,” she said. “We placed ads, used brand influencers like Ceecee and Venita Akpofure, both former BBN housemates.”
But all the challenges have only motivated her to keep shooting for her goal: to have BD in every state of Nigeria. “The idea is to make every female that follows fashion feel incomplete without our pieces,” she said.
Such ambition can only live in the heart of a real fashionista who believes fashion can’t be boring, and that every lady should look gorgeous. “I have been very enthusiastic about fashion right from birth. My mum told me,” she said. And, seriously, Ishie is a fashion buff—unabashedly so. The radiance in her looks, the array of clothes she sells, the snazziness of where she sells them, and the relaxing aura of her office—they all speak style.
You can’t, however, say she’s only a pretty face. She’s also a lawyer, a Delta State University graduate, with a masters in international law from University of Hertfordshire, UK. While helping women look their trendiest could be her destiny, she’s not about to chuck lawyering.
Her store’s e-commerce platform already features a category—the Online Lawyer. It’s a platform for offering BD’s clients and other Nigerians legal services.
Like she always, knowingly, insists: You’ve got all you want at BLAQ DIAMOND. What else could any fashion-conscious woman have asked for—in this age when the old will keep defining the new normal, according to Ishie’s fashion forecast?