Business Ideas

Making a Fortune From Fashion Designing 

Making a Fortune From Fashion Designing 

Making a Fortune From Fashion Designing

Fashion, no doubt has become a big business with new craze for looking good. Most Nigerian fashion freaks now prefer locally made fabrics, which are usually made to their instructions than the imported ones.

This has expanded the fashion industry tremendously.

What then does it take to venture into this kind of business, given the present economic situation in the country?

Experts say one can start the business in a small way right from ones house. According to Mrs. Joy Darlington of Jodal Fashion, Port Harcourt, with N25,000 to N30, 000, one can start a profitable fashion business.

She says the average cost of a sewing machine ranges between N12,000 and N15,000. 

According to her, the cost of other accessories such as scissors, measuring tapes, sewing threads, machine oil, needles, are meagre. 

Any complex design can be taken to another designer who has a designing machine. 

However, the fact that one will need the services of a designing machine elsewhere at the outset should not discourage the starter since the charges on the designing machines are often small, Joy says.

Also, an Ikeja-based designer and Managing Director, Christamin Fashions, Amina Odeje, who has over 10 years of experience in the trade, says the business is a lot more briskly if one combines the sales and the design of the fabrics.

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She adds that the profits from the sales can be ploughed back into the business to take care of the costs of some fixed assets in the long-run. 

Amina also notes that it is always better for starters to define their lines of businesses by focusing on either male or female designs. 

A male designer, George Nwachukwu, who plies his trade on the Lagos Island and specialises in male designs, says he makes an average profit of between N15,000 and N20,000 per week between the months of February and October. 

But as the year winds up, towards the Christmas season, George says he nets at least N10,000 as profit in a day.

The Managing Director, Gwando designs, Gloria Durotoye, also based in Lagos, recalls how she started:

I started out by selling fabrics just in bits. People would buy them from me, after which I would spend time drafting and helping them to create styles. They would then take them to their tailors. Then, I was only making clothes for a few friends and myself because there was little capacity to do so on a large scale. I had to make do with what I had “ my machine and a few fabrics. With time, the demand for my work became high such that I had to open a workshop. I was excited and motivated by my pool of clients who had already fallen in love with my work.

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A lesson to learn from this, she says, is that one should focus on making customers happy.

According to her, I was not bothered by the immediate gains at that time but concentrated more on making my customers happy and it paid off at the end.

Durotoye, who has received several national and international awards for fashion excellence, says passion for the job will naturally attract profit.

I was very passionate with the little I had and to God’s glory today, I am amazed at the level of achievements I have attained. What started very small in my bedroom eventually received attention in Paris where I represented Nigeria at the UNESCO fashion show. I also came second at the 2005 Nigerian Fashion Show, as well as the 2005 Best Fashion Designer in Port Harcourt, she says.

According to her, a fresher in the business must also know that tailoring has gone beyond just knowing how to sew if he or she must excel and remain in the business. She highlights the following key points for starters:

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> You must know how to handle your customers by way of understanding then and being patient with them.
> You must understand the stature of your customers before interpreting and recommending styles for them. A customer may see a good style and impulsively want to have it not minding whether it fit him or not.
> You must avoid the popular ˜African time syndrome. Learn to keep to time given to customers.
> You must be creative and be willing to learn new things.
> You must have an eye for fashion if you must dress others properly.

Experts say some of the few challenges often encountered in the business include inconsistency in power supply and government tax force on revenue collection. These, they say, often discourage starters with little profit. Others also say that there is the tendency to hire the wrong people (that is, people not capable of understanding and interpreting designs effectively). They, however, argue that the latter challenge only shows up when the business becomes larger.

By Daniel Ochefu

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