APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Nasozi Kakembo: I am a Ugandan-American living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and I am responsible for everything at OSxN, short for Origins Style by Nasozi. OSxN is a fun and evolving company that specializes in wax print interior decor.The business was inspired by a trip to Senegal two years ago. I had long-since detoured from my pursuit of becoming an architect, but my love of home design never left me. OSxN is about much more than aesthetics. It is about a legacy and beauty that is often left out of recounts of Africa. It is about normalizing the “ethnic” (I abhor the word) and celebrating its influence on worldwide culture.
APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Nasozi: A fearless person. One who is not afraid to live and design outside of the box. One who is bold, much like the patterns that I use, and stands up for what they believe in and love. One who has a story and a historical perspective.
APiF: How does your heritage inspire you?
Nasozi: My heritage is 75% the inspiration behind my business. I am half Ugandan and grew up in America, but my home remained a constant reminder of my roots. African artifacts were and are still a key element in the decor of my parents’ home, and to an extent, mine too. Wax prints were a regular part of my wardrobe even as a child. So when I wanted to get back into my creative skin again, I called upon my heritage for inspiration!
APiF: What is your favorite or bestselling item in your collection?
Nasozi: The Bogolan bench is by far the favorite item among Etsy shoppers and fans. The best selling item overall are the pillows: Currently the top three prints are SUNSET Flower, NILE Lotus, and LAVA Waves. The Fair Trade aprons from Uganda are also a big hit.
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Nasozi: I market my designs mostly on Facebook and Etsy. A much more labor-intense but effective form of marketing is simply vending at street festivals and artists markets. This is how I started my mailing list. You must establish a presence in your communities, and word will spread quickly from there. I find that I make the most connections here and generate the most buzz. Also, all items (except for the furniture for now) ship overseas, and my shop appears in standard internet searches. So with that, my product is available worldwide and has already been shipped as far away as Australia!
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the industry?
Nasozi: Make sure that it is something you’re absolutely passionate about. There will be times when you’ll second guess your decision to forge out on your own, or to take on yet another job, but if your intentions behind it are pure and genuine, then you’ll get over any doubt.
And don’t sell yourself short! If you’ve created a superior product, that will show in your work and it should be priced accordingly. Anyone who appreciates the detail and craftsmanship of handmade goods especially will pay the price for it.