From an early age, Ayo Aigbe had an interest in entrepreneurship. Growing up in a Nigerian household, education, and hustle was all her parents spoke about. “I would sell hair bows to girls at school at 7 a.m., and I would flip it for twice the price of what I bought it,” Aigbe recalls to Home & Texture. It was the problem-solving aspect of entrepreneurship that intrigued her. This led her to pursue a degree in engineering. “Being an immigrant’s child, there’s only a few paths that you can follow. So I pursued electrical engineering.”
During her freshman year of college, Aigbe found a problem that she was determined to create a solution for—shoulder bumps in her clothes from plastic hangers. “I remember this sweater so vividly because I had spent my money on it. It was beautiful. I wore it many times, and just seeing it damaged was stressful,” the Dallas-based entrepreneur shared. After brainstorming possible solutions, she was inspired by flexi rods, bendable foam rollers used for your hair, to create a bendable hanger. It was then that Hangio was born.
Aigbe started Hangio in 2017 with the dream of having a hanger that would preserve and prolong the life of clothing. In 2018, Aigbe raised capital for her new company, and in 2020, Hangio was officially launched.
In an interview with Home & Texture, Aigbe shares her journey from idea to product, tips for preserving your clothes, and closet hacks she can’t live without.
Home & Texture: You can bend Hangio hangers in over six ways—was this intentional?
Ayo Aigbe: My primary mission and goal was to figure out how to fix these annoying, frustrating shoulder bumps that come on sweaters. And so I started there, and then I was like, okay, the bendable design is the best solution—it actually solves it. I did beta testing with some people in my dorm. I left the Hangio hangers with them for a week. I saw the transformation that Hangio created for them on their clothing.
But then when I started talking to my beta testers, they were like, oh, like I also used your hanger for my camisole, and I used it for a turtleneck, and I used it for a scarf, and I even tried to put a bag on it. So then it was like, oh, okay, there’s more, so much more potential than just sweaters. And so I was just listening to the feedback from people trying out the product.
H&T: What is your favorite way to fold your Hangio hanger?
AA: My answer might be a little bit vanilla, but the top configuration I use is the shoulder protector. I use Hangio mostly for my turtlenecks because they’re a pain in the butt to get a regular hanger through or out of.
H&T: How did engineering influence your design process?
AA: I looked at this problem of bumps in my sweater from an engineer’s point of view. I thought about how I solve this pain point. So, if it was going to be a bendable hanger, amazing; if it was going to be a fairy hanger, amazing; if it was going to be a metallic hanger, amazing. The main thing is that it needed to solve this pain point. I used principles I learned in engineering classes to help me design the solution. I also leveraged working with other engineers, like mechanical engineers, to help me get this product ready for a customer to make sure that this was a really, really high-quality product that would last a long time and that people would fall in love with too.
H&T: Do you use any closet-organizing hacks with your hanger?
AA: With the wave of home organization, there’s this move to want to have the same of everything, which is fine, but when it comes to your clothes and clothing and your closet, spaces don’t always have to be the same because your clothing is unique. There are different materials, and there are different cuts. And so, my hack is to use the pros of each hanger on specific clothing pieces. For example, like silk tops, I recommend you use a felt hanger. Turtlenecks, sweaters, and knitwear use Hangio. Put blazers, heavy jackets, and trench coats on a wooden hanger.
H&T: Any tips for retaining clothing life?
AA: Yes, I recommend that people wear pieces more than once. Especially if it’s not stained or smelly or anything. I think it’s okay to wear that piece more than once because the more that you wash clothes, and it goes through that process of detergents and a washer and a dryer, which can be just very taxing on clothes, the more that it the life of it just continues to wear down. Wash clothes on the right setting. And then fold the appropriate clothes. So, if you have a really heavy sweater, I recommend that you fold it because gravity will do its thing no matter what.
H&T: How would you describe your personal design style?
AA: I start with blacks when it comes to all of my furniture. And then I like to layer it on with the whites in the beige, the pinks. I am a big plant person, so I like having my succulents or a wall plant lying around somewhere to add more life to the room. Then, my accent colors are often pink. I usually go for simple as far as the aesthetic.
Learn more about Hangio on their Instagram.
This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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