Business Ideas

Product Branding as a Money-Spinning Business

Product Branding as a Money-Spinning Business

Mr. Sina Ogunrinde is the Chief Executive of Trustmark Communications Limited, a product branding company, located in Lagos. He was formerly into advertising, but the desire to provide all marketing and communication services under one roof brought him into product branding.He says that the essence of branding is to add value to the product.

Ogunrinde says that product can be branded with computerised monogramming machine and heat transfer processes. The capital required to start the business of product branding, according to him, varies according to the scale. For instance, N700,000 may just be enough to start on a small-scale; while between N10m and N30m will be required for medium-scale operation.

Where embroidery and monogramming are added to the line of production, the cost may shoot up to N100m. The capital outlay covers cost of machinery, staff salary and other operational expenses.

Ogunrinde says that not much space is required, but that the business can be started in a two-bedroom flat on a small scale, while a full plot of land with factory or a whole building will be needed for medium-scale operation. The large-scale production facility will require a whole hectare of land.

The machines that are used in the business include heat transfer machine, printers and computerised embroidery and monogramming machines of different heads depending on the financial capacity of the company.

Heads in this case means the number of product that the machine can work on at a time.

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On the number of staffs required to operate get the business going, he says 10 or more may be needed, while the number of machine operators increases as more machines are acquired leaving the number of administrative staff the same.

He says that the entrepreneur must have production experience as well as ability to handle minor machine repairs and be able to operate the software used in digitalising and preparing works for the machine, adding that a minimum of Ordinary National Diploma is required for a person to operate and manage the business well.

Ogunrinde says that after embossing the required images of the product on the fabric, the staff will then repackage it back as if nothing has happened to it and deliver it to the customer in perfect condition.

The products mostly used for branding include T-shirts, faze-caps, mugs, towels, pillow cases and bed sheets among others.

Coloured heat transfer on a shirt costs N780 to N800, while white printing costs about N300. Monogramming costs N250 to N300 depending on the complexity of the service required.

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He says there is intense competition in the industry despite the fact that the entry point is expensive, adding that there is no regulatory body or association for the product branding business in the country for now.

A major threat to the business, according to him, is electricity, noting that his firm spends a minimum of N300,000 on fuel to power generators every month, which adds up to the cost of production.
He urges the government to provide uninterrupted power supply for industrial activities to blossom.

Ogunrinde said that the product branding business is a very profitable one.

The Managing Director, Leather Craft Ventures Limited, Mr. Ichu Chukwuma, who started the business of product branding four years ago, says that monogramming involves the branding of T-shirts, faze-caps and towels among others.

He adds that the demand for product branding and the level of awareness are increasing, noting that Nigeria has a lot of potential and the citizens are beginning to appreciate monogramming over screen printing and heat transfer because it is more durable and less expensive compared to some years back, as a lot of people have gone into it.

Chukwuma says that computerised monogramming machines and the parts are expensive because they are not produced locally; adding that acquisition of machines depends on affordability as one single head machine costs almost N2m.

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He says that the major problem facing the players in the industry is power, since the business cannot be done without electricity.

The only aspect of the business that is manually done is clearing and cleaning, while the rest must be done using electric power.

As regards his experience with customers, he says most customers are always in a hurry, as they want their jobs done on time, but always bring the jobs late.

Chukwuma urges the government to look into the problems of power supply and high interest rates on bank loans, noting that most entrepreneurs who bought their machines with loans are paying back interests of up to 50 per cent of the sums borrowed, saying this is unhealthy for the growth of the business.

He says government should create an industrial opportunity centre in form of an industrial layout similar to that of Turkey where people can rent manufacturing machines for weeks or months for a token, while the machines remain the property of the government, which also provides essential facilities like power, water and factory premises among others.

By Sulaiman Adenekan

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