OP Chic Boutique

From just £80 of savings to a thriving clothing business

Patricia Otoa Ayo has taken her passion for vibrant clothing all the way from her mother’s veranda in Uganda to a thriving eBay store in the UK, lifting other women up with her along the way. The last nine years have certainly been a rollercoaster for her and her store OP Chic Boutique, culminating in her nabbing this year’s Be Your Own Boss Award at the eBay for Business Awards 2020.

Originally from Uganda and with a degree in Information Technology, Patricia started her career as an IT instructor for a Canadian not-for-profit organisation, but it wasn’t long before entrepreneurial life came calling. With just £80 in savings, bags of enthusiasm and confidence in her business model, she created OP Clothing from her mother’s home in 2011.

Patricia had a vision: combine quality, traditional fabrics with modern western designs to attract a new generation of clients to the vibrancy of African clothing. Keen to give something back to her community, Patricia also supported rural women by selling their crafts and paper beads as accessories to OP Clothing, at no additional cost.

By 2015, Patricia had grown the business in Uganda to four outlets, employing 12 local women and with an annual turnover of over £25,000.

Patricia then made the decision to leave Uganda to join her husband in Bedford and they soon welcomed a beautiful son, James, who was later found to have a rare disorder which has slowed his development. Looking to return to running her own business while looking after James, Patricia got online to re-create her store virtually on eBay. Op Chic Boutique soon took off in the UK while Patricia benefited from the encouragement of FACES, an organisation that offers practical and emotional support to mothers and families.

Her new venture has made it possible for Patricia and her family to move from a one-bedroom flat to a three-bedroom house and has given her the freedom and flexibility to care for James and invest time and energy into Op Chic Boutique.

Patricia says eBay has given her the chance to turn her dreams and ideas into reality and she now plans to scale up her operations, increasing volumes and continuing to spread joy with her clothes.


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