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“It’s time to democratise luxury”, says Cashmere founder

PICTURED: Founder of Cashmere Urenna Okonkwo

FINANCIAL ADVISOR Urenna Okonkwo is the mastermind behind Cashmere, the revolutionary social savings platform. She created the idea back in 2016 in a bid to help stylish millennial women buy guilt-free luxury fashion.

The innovative site, which was officially launched in February this year, lets women indulge in all things fashion without having to dip into their personal savings.

Okonkwo said: “It’s bridging the gap between FinTech and e-commerce to help them enjoy luxury fashion responsibly.”

She explained: “FinTech is any piece of technology that enables and empowers individuals and businesses to make better financial decisions seamlessly.”

As an avid shopper, Okonkwo noticed a gap in the market to consciously buy luxury labels. “It all started a couple of years ago when I was in Harrods with my friends. We went into Shoe Heaven and I saw a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes that I instantly fell in love with,” she said.

“When I saw the price, I felt a bit guilty spending that sort of money on shoes. Especially for someone who is living in London trying to save for a house.
“I ended up not buying the shoes but I thought that evening if I had a stash of cash for luxury and impulsive purchases, I wouldn’t have to feel that way.”

By adding this fresh new way of money management to the market, Okonkwo is actively changing the way in which we save. She said: “When you’re saving for something, the point is that you are saving to spend at some point.

CASH SAVINGS: Okonkwo's platform aims to help shoppers save for luxury items

“I’m a huge advocate for micro saving, where you can put small amounts of money away that you won’t necessarily miss. I think a lot of times, especially for our generation, when we thinking of saving we just see big numbers, but we don’t understand that you can start small and eventually reach a larger goal.”

As the brains behind the business, Urenna entered into the historically white world of tech. “There are not that many black female tech founders; there are few that are visible.

“It makes me feel like there’s not that many, so I have to be the one to do it and inspire others coming after to me so they know that you can be a black woman in tech and people will take you seriously.”

She added: It can be very intimidating, especially at events and conferences when no one is there that looks like you. But if you know what you want to achieve you learn to navigate around those barriers as strategically as possible.

Three months on from the launch, Okonkwo has received praise all round. “For me, it’s positive to know that I’ve created something that people actually want.

“At my last pop up event, it was great speaking to people. I even had guys there that were interested! The community aspect of connecting with people has definitely been a highlight,” she said.

With a bright future ahead, Okonkwo wants to “expand in other geographical areas like Africa the US, Europe and Asia and also move on to other industries”.

While the mobile version is set to launch later in the year, head to the online site and save for your luxury fashion feels here.

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