Haven’t heard of fashion designer Autumn Adeigbo? You will soon. The Nigerian-American designer who draws on her African roots for her designs recently pulled in millions in venture capital funding. Obviously, Adeigbo is more than a stylish creative; she’s also a savvy businesswoman.
Adeigbo recently raised almost $3 million by partnering with venture capital firm Offline Ventures. This funding reportedly brings Adeigbo’s investments to more than $4 million. In 2020, Adeigbo secured $1.3 million in venture capital funding. She is the first Black woman designer to raise this level of funding, WWD reported.
Shortly after raising the initial $1.3 million, she set up shop in Los Angeles and increased revenues by 400 percent.
For Adeigbo, fashion and business go hand in hand. “I love fashion,” Adeigbo recently told WWD. “But if we were talking 50-50, I’m like 51 percent more interested in the business side of things. I’m more of an entrepreneur, humbly pursuing this lifelong dream of mine, which was to become a fashion designer, which morphed into understanding entrepreneurship at the same time.”
A Fashion Entrepreneur
The designer launched her business in 2016 while working several jobs, including working with stylist and designer Andrea Lieberman and as a fashion assistant at fashion magazine W. Three years later, she presented her first collection. Since then, she’s been wowing the fashion — and business — world with her designs. She has been selected as a Tory Burch fellow and has won several business plan competitions.
It was a feature in Essence magazine that made the fashion media take notice. After being named “Fashion’s Next” by the publication, Adeigbo was featured in Marie Claire’s “One to Watch,” “All Eyes On” by Uptown Magazine, as well as Vogue, Glamour, Ebony and Nylon.
Next came celebrity attention. Actresses such as Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Selma Blair have worn Adeigbo’s designs; and celebrated poet Amanda Gorman is a huge fan.
Looking Forward, Expanding Reach
Today, Adeigbo is becoming increasingly popular for her classic, chic dresses and headbands. Women can find her collections at Intermix, ShopBop, Elyse Walker, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Free People and Rent the Runway. And soon Adeigbo’s dresses will be available in Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.
“There’s so much that goes into building a business that the design is just a by-product,” she added. “And that’s why so many fashion brands come and go, I think. Because it is more of a business than it is an art form. The art has to meet the commerce.”
Adeigbo, who was recently asked to join the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America, consistently proves that her fashion brand is here to stay. As a result of the venture capital funds she has received, Adeigbo wants to continue to expand her brand to include other products and open a retail store.