Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria Double Major: International Comparative Studies, French Minor and any certificates: Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate Clubs/Organizations: LAJA / DukeAFRICA Any other activities you participated in: Kickboxing Post-graduation plans: I'll be working at Belk HQ in Charlotte and will continue building my brand, LAJA.
What Duke has meant to you: “Through my academic and social experiences, I came to learn and understand that genuine fulfillment came from practicing wellness and conscious, intentional living/decision making - from the classes I took down to the opportunities I pursued. That's my biggest lesson and I'll forever love Duke for it.”
With the launch of her own clothing line – LAJA – in 2014, Ashan-wa Aliogo will already be a successful entrepreneur when she graduates this Sunday. A native of Nigeria, Ashan-wa wanted to pay homage to the versatility, beauty and diversity of African prints and textiles. What began as a way to promote the positive aspects of Nigerian culture evolved into the development of an e-commerce platform to sell her designs made with Ankara, a specific colorful type of African print. Since its inception in 2014, LAJA has tripled its production based on online orders.
Ashan-wa, who began her Duke career as a pre-med major, explained that she gets some of her business acumen from her father, a Nigerian businessman, and her mother, who designs jewelry. She spent this past summer launching her second line, working with dealers in Nigeria, sourcing the fabric, coming up with designs, and developing marketing concepts. She believes that her work not only promotes Nigerian culture, but economic development there as well.
One of the pieces of clothing popular in the LAJA line is the gele, or African head scarf. Noting that that her gele (pronounced gee-lee) tying skills are “on fire”, Ashan-wa demonstrates how here: https://misslaja.com/category/gele-chronicles/.