Meet Doreen Caven, one of three of the fantastic trio behind the budding brand, Caven Etomi. This beauty took time out to speak with us about the brand's inner workings, humble beginnings, and the part she plays in making the garments and visuals come to life!
What role do you play in the CavenEtomi trio?
I am a co-creative director of Caven Etomi. Our company is so small that we, the co-founders wear multiple hats. Alongside my partners, I oversee production, brand management and social media management.
You have spent time both stateside and abroad in Africa, describe the difference of feels both places give you.
I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the U.S at age 16. I have lived in America now, almost as long as I did in Nigeria, I would say that both places feel very much like home right now. Nigeria has such a strong sense of family. I would say that being home you interact so much more with people around you that are not your immediate family. There is that strong connection between people- even while out here you have that same kinship when you run into fellow Nigerians. That feeling of comradery is something that you don't find as much here in the states.
What were you doing before you decided to develop your line of clothing?
I was in grad school, getting a Master's degree in Epidemiology. I also was a Fashion & Lifestyle blogger for The4acesdate.com.
What is one misconception people have of you?
I am an introverted extrovert. I am a social person among my group of friends and social media captures that aspect of my personality. Most people meet me and expect me to be more outgoing and outspoken, and I am mostly just shy, quiet and reserved. I get "You are not what I thought you would be" ALL the time.
Which collection has been your favorite up until now? Why?
Our IDIA collection has been my favorite and it's because it was our first introduction to creating the brand, Caven Etomi. We spoke about creating a product all the time, but had no idea when we would have the time to do it since we really all had very different lives and lived in different cities (D.C, NY & Lagos). We wanted a desirable trendy product that had African influences and something that would be appreciated by both Africans & International fashion lovers alike. Creating our first samples of the IDIA collection was a very awesome moment for us. We had no idea if people would love it, understand our concept, or if they would be moved to actually purchase it. We had no solid ideas on how to promote it, we at the time only had our own personal social media accounts. We uploaded a selfie wearing the T-shirt to all our accounts and we had multiple orders that day. We didn't even have a website or a way to purchase it. It galvanized us to realize that we had a shot. We went back to the drawing board and constructed a business plan and decided on how we wanted to produce, distribute & brand our company using this first collection, and the rest is history.
If you guys could collaborate with anyone on a particular product, what would that product be, and who would it be with?
I would like to collaborate on a line of African inspired Apparel for a huge brand like H&M or Target. I think it would be amazing for an African designer to have that opportunity to be the storytellers of contemporary African Fashion in a global market.
What is your favorite part of creating a visual from a simple thought?
My favorite part is seeing it come to life. From a mockup design to holding a finished sample or a campaign concept to seeing it in print, I just love seeing an idea come alive.
What is your definition of a composer? Do you feel as if you exhibit those characteristics?
My definition of a composer aligns with my definition of a creative. I am a creative so yes, I feel like I exhibit those characteristics. Making desirable ideas come to life is a huge part of working for Caven Etomi.
You can find out more about Caven Etomi here: cavenetomi.com
Follow Doreen in IG: @doreencaven