The 43-year-old spotted a gap in the market and, with little competition from foreign firms such as Mattel Inc, the maker of Barbie, he set up his own business. He outsourced manufacturing of doll parts to low-cost China, assembled them onshore and added a twist – traditional Nigerian costumes.
The dolls represent Nigeria’s three largest Ethnic Groups; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba so far.
Seven years on, Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his Queens of Africa and Naija Princesses a month, and reckons he has 10-15% of a small but fast-growing market.
"I like it," says Ifunanya Odiah, five, struggling to contain her excitement as she inspects one of Okoya’s dolls in a Lagos shopping mall. "It’s black, like me.”
Capturing the first moments of their careers, Piczo shoots new faces, at home.
What makes one face a model and another not? Is it symmetry or feature proportion or electric eyes or far apart eyes or turned down lips – and do all of those things equal a model? Or none of them. Photographer Piczo has been finding and shooting new faces for i-D for a few years now, and recently compiled this collection, taken at his house. With zero styling and zero make up, you get the person before they’ve become the model, and it’s a beautiful phase, that won’t last long.