The Canadian brand spreads encouragement with special messages inside its bags.
When she launched her accessories-centric label in 2017, De Lovét founder Loveth Ezeifeka had one mission in mind. The former bank manager “wanted to do more with myself,” she says. “I wanted to start a line that is remarkable; one that focuses on empowering women and inspiring them.”
Ezeifeka, who moved to Canada from Nigeria as a teenager, began working on bag designs and showing them to her banking customers for feedback. The reception was extremely positive, and it motivated her to add another detail to her line’s offerings — an element conceived with the intention of uplifting her community, and one reflective of her own exploration of independence and creative expression.
“When you open the bag[s], there’s an inspirational quote inside,” Ezeifeka says of the sentiments embossed inside her wares which range from boxy top-handle totes to cross-bodies with an artful zig-zagged flap detail, done in a mix of faux and natural leather fabrications. “For example, one says, ‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.’” After making it through 2020, these inclusions feel especially relevant.
Ezeifeka herself has taken such words to heart, thoughtfully assessing and addressing what her customers are buying — and wishing for — throughout the pandemic. In addition to now offering a selection of lounge-y basics like a long-sleeved dress and bodysuit, she says that fans of the brand have asked how it could further give back to those in need of encouragement. The question has inspired her to work on an affordable tote bag design which will launch in coming months, with proceeds going to women’s initiatives in Africa.
“I’ve been listening to the opinions of others in terms of how we can grow our brand,” Ezeifeka notes. She adds that while she misses the close interaction she was able to have with her customers via in-person pop-ups, she’s appreciative of her connection to outlets like Black-owned business-focused e-comm site, Yard + Parish, which carries a selection of pieces by De Lovét.
While for the past year she’s been unable to stay in touch with her customers physically, Ezeifeka strives to maintain their relationship in every way possible — particularly when it comes to stirring up their own ambitions for personal growth. She makes space to post encouraging content on her social media platforms, nodding to her own unexpected journey with the hopes of highlighting, just as her bags do, that no matter what one is facing, tenacity is key.
“What’s keeping me inspired as a Black woman is that when I came to this country, I didn’t come with any expectations,” Ezeifeka says when she reflects on her arrival in Canada with the aim of pursuing higher education. “I didn’t come from luxury; I came here to survive.” But, she acknowledges, she has come so far — building a career first in finance, and now enjoying an entrepreneurial path crafted around caring and creativity. “I know the journey is going to take time, but I know I’m doing [it] right,” she adds. “I’m inspiring people and making the change, and the impossible became possible for me.”