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Thursday, 22 June 2017

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: FASHION DESIGN ARBITRATING -PART 1


On a Friday evening in April 2014, I was sitting in front of a tailor’s shop at Ikeja, Lagos, waiting for a house agent. The agent was to take me for inspection because I had wanted to change my apartment.

While waiting for the Agent, someone tapped me on my shoulders; I turned and saw an old acquaintance. We exchanged pleasantries and got into a conversation.

I inquired to know the secret behind his looks; he was looking so clean – much better than the last time I set my eyes on him. It was very obvious he was doing well.

Few minutes into our conversation, I came to realize he was into the designing of native wears for men. He wasn’t making the cloths himself; he only got orders from customers and gave to some tailors to make for him. At the time, he had 4 tailors he was partnering with. 

Hear what he told me:
“I went into this business when someone asked me to help him tell my tailor to make something similar to what I wore to a wedding. After making that for him, he brought 2 of his friends to me.

In course of my dealing with them, I realized they were very busy people. No time to chase after a tailor, and I had the time. What I made off them in less than a month was more than my 3 months’ salary.

That was how I decided to go into this business. Initially I wanted to combine it with my job, but the stress of my job and the remuneration was nothing compared to this business. So, it was like I was punishing myself.  I had to resign to do the business full time.

You know how busy most Lagosians can be? Such that they don’t even have the time to think about designs, let alone chasing after a tailor. I saw that gap and took advantage of it.

I get the concept for them, get the materials for the tailor, monitor the tailors closely, and deliver as promised – both time and work quality. This has given me much more customers than I can even handle. I’m contemplating on getting someone to join me – may be as an employee or as a Partner.

At the early stage, I was doing marketing. I go to banks, shopping malls, public functions and other offices to get customers. I market mostly to strangers. When I satisfy them, they introduce me to their world. I also have customers in church that have introduced me to their world as well.  

I make at least #7,000 from each job, in a week I get up to 10 orders or more. I make as much as 15- #20,000 on some orders. I’ve made ‘asuebi’ for some groups and made over #200,000 within a space of 2 weeks. Meanwhile, my other customers were served as well.

The beauty of this business is that I don’t burn my energy making the cloths. I only do the running around. I can now meet my needs and even assist some people around me financially.

Ladies are forcing me to make for them as well, but I don’t want to do ladies…. Please join me so you can be doing Ladies”, he persuaded me.

When I asked him if he would prefer a job to this business, he said, “That job has to give me a mega pay, before I could join them”.

I knew him 2 years back when he was a teacher in a secondary school. It was in a canteen near my church. He came to eat and met me eating there. We got talking about the job market, business, Overseas Travel, money and many others.


I came to understand he was not happy with his job and there were times he transferred his frustration on his students. As a physics teacher, his salary then was #17,000 (Seventeen thousand Naira), and this could barely take care of his basic needs. He took advantage of an opportunity that came knocking. And his life changed for good.

We must have come across opportunities and never took advantage of them. Maybe because we were too relaxed, and funny enough, we need the money so bad.

I could also remember a younger friend of mine who went to a fashion school while waiting to secure a job. She eventually got a job few months after she left the fashion school. She never left the trade she learnt, as she still maintained her customers and added new customers by making cloths for ladies in her new office.

I once visited her on a Sunday afternoon after service, and she was very busy with someone, making cloths. She had more jobs she could handle, so she invited a friend she met at the fashion school to partner with her, so she could deliver on time.

I couldn’t help but wondered why she would not take a break. When I tried teasing her, her response was, “this is just the beginning. I even have some jobs with the tailor at the other side of my street.

He’s been handling majority of the jobs I get ever since I resumed this office job. I take the orders I get to him, pay him something lower and keep the rest for myself. I’m making cool cash from this business and you want me to leave it, No way.”

MY SUBMISSION TO YOU:
You can do fashion designing arbitrating even when you don’t know how to make cloths. All you need is creativity and integrity. Give your customers good concepts and keep to your word at all times. Your word must be your bond, if you must keep customers in this business.

Don’t let them suffer what they suffer in the hands of most designers, that’s making them run away from the so-called designers. Give them good Customer service and you’ll see them coming to you in droves.

Some are ready to pay you up to 2 or 3 times of what they should be giving directly to the designer, just for you to take every hassle off them.

Better still, you can create little time to learn a bit about cloth making, so you can serve your customers better. Having a good knowledge of a trade puts you in an advantage position when dealing with Customers and your workmen. You mustn’t make the clothes yourself, but have a good knowledge of the doing aspect.

Are you seeking for a job? You can go into this business in the meantime. Do you want extra income? Consider this business and see how it goes.

Even outside of Lagos, we still have people that will prefer someone else dealing with a Tailor/designer on their behalf. They are everywhere, just do a little search and you’ll find them.

Please, do not underestimate or overestimate any business with the mind of, “I can’t do it because it’s too small for me or I can’t do it because it’s more than my mind can carry. All you need is a WILL. “When there is a Will, there is a way.”







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