It’s been a while since I sat down to interview people that are passionate about their work and are making headway in their fields. I am thrilled to host Barbra Emolot, a creative designer at Emolot, a new brand in town. I love the versatility and luxurious flair that the brand represents. It is curated to cater to a customer’s needs with its versatile hangs bags and tote bags.
RK: Welcome to my blog, Barbra. Tell us a bit about who you are.
Thank you, Racheal. I’m Barbra, and while I adore cats, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I cannot be a cat mother. I enjoy taking on challenges of any form that excite me. At present, I am learning the handstand in Yoga and trying to solve the riddle that is me while listening to Classical Music nonstop.
RK: What is the Genesis of Emolot and when was it launched?
Emolot started as a need to have a functional accessory for my everyday life, especially for work. That accessory was a bag. I was looking for something that could accommodate my essentials while also being able to complement my outfits since I like to look put together. I did my research and found that I would have to import something close to what I wanted, so I set out to make it myself. The rest I sold, and people got interested. It’s been quite the journey since then.
Emolot is my name, or at least I got it from my father. I was told it translates to “taproot.” The taproot is a large, central, and dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally. Without it, the plant would die since it’s the anchorage that keeps it together. You will also notice the crow on the Emolot tote bags; it is my totem. Also, it’s an intelligent bird. It went without saying that I had to merge them and create this brand.
I launched on 11th November, 2022 so it’s been five months though it feels like a lifetime.
RK: I love the tote bags. They are very thoughtful and work well for people who are sticklers for neatness and love organization. What inspired them?
I like to be simple in everything. I run away from anything noisy. Subtlety is key. So I chose to work with plain, quiet colors that also make a statement. I was even doubtful of the brown leather we chose; that is our bestseller, but I liked how it felt and looked after a while. Also, my mind hates it when it senses disorganization, so I had to factor that in when making the bags and the recently added packaging cubes.
RK: Have you registered any Successes since you started?
Oh, yes, and that is something that never ceases to amaze me! Can you believe we are currently in our fifth production? Additionally, we are extending our product line. Packing cubes were added, and jewelry will now start to arrive in May. The mini tote bags are scheduled for June. Success to me is not entirely about selling out but more about how this concept and brand have developed in conjunction with how they have affected me personally.
Success to me is having a concept come to life, working tirelessly to see it through, and holding a finished product in my palm that is ready for sale.
RK: What difficulties have you faced since you started the business?
I could say my ideas, haha. Those have been my difficulties. I sometimes get frustrated because my dreams are so big and what is actually happening is hard to match. Kampala is where I am based, and the materials present are lacking; some have never seen the light of day here. There are times I want something made, but it cannot be because no one has ever seen it in Kampala, so we end up compromising on some materials and concepts.
RK: How has the product been received on the market?
It has received excellent feedback. Many women have been contacting me and saying that the tote bags are what they have been looking for. And this reiterates my why. The packaging cubes, particularly the toiletry bag, have been highly welcomed as well. I’m eager to hear what people think of the jewelry because the process of creating it is an intriguing one.
RK: What has been your biggest marketing tool?
Social media and word of mouth have played a role. Some of my customers come to me after seeing an advertisement or our online presence, while others are referred by their friends or family.
RK: Tips for young people starting out in business.
Hmm. Typically, young people do not enjoy the luxury of financial freedom, and that is okay. I would suggest that however how unattainable they may appear, those ideas and dreams are what will keep the tunnel illuminated. Keep the light on in that tunnel, and when you find some money, be wise about it and take it one day at a time.
Also, the world will break you, definitely, but if you are a pillar on the inside, it will be simpler to climb back up. Therefore, get to know yourself, really get to know yourself.
RK: What is the future of Emolot?
I’m not sure which is more exciting. Our delivery parcels come with tags that read, “for all your wardrobe essentials.” We intend to follow that example and establish ourselves as the Ugandan girl’s go-to resource for boosting confidence as she ventures out into the world.
RK: What does starting a business in this day and age mean for you?
For me, It affirms my stubbornness. I explored a lot of various paths before finding this one. However, it also demonstrates that one can always find a niche to occupy, no matter how small, and make a difference while doing so.
RK: Are you listening to any podcasts in line with business or otherwise?
I used to listen to How I built this by Guy Raz back in the day, but I don’t listen to podcasts as much anymore. Maybe I will get back to them.
RK: Which designers-Ugandan/non-Ugandan inspire you?
I like Matilda Djerf, creator of Djerf Avenue; Jeanne Damas of Rouje and Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God. Oh Rosie Huntington-Whiteley of Rose Inc too. Yup!