In 2006, Atim Annette Oton, the former Associate Chair of Product Design at Parsons The New School of Design, left to concentrate on her fashion and retail company, Calabar Imports, and to develop clothing and deign products in Nigeria and Ghana. After working with independent designers of fashion and accessories since 2004, she realized they needed more skills, production and resources for consistency and developed the idea of an incubator that is part of The Creative Side.

  • More than ten years experience in retail and small business
  • Expertise in retail innovation, e-commerce fair trade, artisan and women’s opportunities for developing world.
  • Small Business Entrepreneur, business consulting and mentorship of local businesses and start-ups with a focus on retail, fashion and design.
  • Expertise in entrepreneurship, branding, and publishing
  • Expertise in retail consulting, product design, merchandising
  • Strong team-building, leadership, motivation and communication skills.

Atim Annette Oton is a Nigerian-born, American and British educated designer; and founder of The Creative Side. A co-founder of Black Design News Network and a former Huffington Post Black Voices Blogger, she created the series, The Pulse of Africa, and wrote about  Global Africans working in Africa and across the Diaspora, Africa’s progress, issues on arts and culture, technology and opportunities. She spent her formative years in Calabar, Nigeria and studied architecture at the City College of New York and did graduate studies at the Architectural Association Graduate School in London, England. In New York, she worked in architecture, and, by 2000, she was part of the design team that won the African Burial Ground Interpretive Center. She worked as an executive producer on the Underground Railroad Experience, a cultural education website on the Underground Railroad and won an Independent Grant from the NYSCA for her work, the Black Hair Salon. A founder of Blacklines Magazine, a quarterly magazine featuring black designers, she served as its executive vice president before joining Parsons School of Design as the Associate Chair of Product Design for 6 years. In 2004, she created her company, Calabar Imports and expanded in 2006 to launch Calabar Magazine as a brand extension of her store Calabar Imports in Brooklyn.


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