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YEDaily: Hadija Gabunga

Hadija Gabunga is the inspirational entrepreneur behind Hipband, the fashion accessory that lets ladies layer without the extra bulk. This 30-year-old Uganda native has seen notable success since starting her business in 2005, and with a new site launching next week, her rise to household recognition is sure to keep steamrolling. Find out more in today's feature

Hadija Gabunga is the inspirational entrepreneur behind Hipband, the fashion accessory that lets ladies layer without the extra bulk. This 30-year-old YP hails from Uganda, and started Hipband in 2005. In the six years since its inception, this fashion item has become a staple in many women’s wardrobes. Find out more about Hadija in today’s YEDaily.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Hipband plays with the idea of layering, with a twist: the concept is to layer without the bulk. So I designed a simple band, made of knit/stretch fabric, threw in some funky patterns and colours, and created a versatile accessory that is a must for any girl’s closet.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I basically hated my butt hanging out of low-rise jeans and boom, the hipband was born! When low-rise jeans came into the market, I loved them, but I could never find shirts that were long enough to cover my back. Being able to play with layers, I wanted to add to my outfits without the excess. I’m still always looking for different ways to add layers to my outfits.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
To me fashion is all a put on. You create an image of yourself and then play dress up. Being able to having the liberty to constantly create and to be able to find inspiration in the everyday is incredible.

The most challenging part?

Knowing when to make time and balance out the rest of my life!

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
My focus is to continue to establish the brand. With a new Hipband apparel collection now in the works and an online Hipband boutique to be launched in mid November [Notable is told the new site could be up as early as next week!], I want Hipband to be a recognizable label across Canada and North America.

What does success look like to you?
A couple of years ago I was at a restaurant and had quite the conversation with this young woman in the restroom. I had noticed her very unique sense of style and needless to say complimented her on her outfit. She suddenly breaks out in excitement, tells me that the key thing to her style is layering and that she bought a Hipband and it’s completely changed her life! It was a 15-minute play-by-play of all the different ways she’d worn her Hipband (she even went into detail about the young lady that had created the Hipband and her story). I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that it was me, but instead I kept thinking “I came from Kampala, Uganda, and now I sell this product that people love and it’s all me!”

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The day I decided that Hipband was going to be my full time career and I haven’t stopped creating since!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
It’s so important to be able to have a solid sense of direction in anything you do. When you have that, all the obstacles along the way become much easier to overcome.

What is Notable to you?
People seeing what the universe has to offer and saying, “Yes!”

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or other?
iPhone addict.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
Aerial yoga, dancing…and hot sauce.

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