BN Article 3: 5 Myths About Starting a Fashion Business

BN Article 3: 5 Myths About Starting a Fashion Business

Screenshot from http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/07/24/tope-williams-adewunmi-5-myths-about-starting-a-fashion-business/
Good morning good people!!!!!  I am sure you had a GREAT weekend!  I did…even attended a wedding yesterday despite being a bit under the weather.  Y’all know how we Lagos people like to par-ty!!! Will share some pictures at the end of the post 😀
 
Anywayz, I am starting this week on a good note!  Realised I had not posted my last BN Article up here so I decided to do this first thing this morning before my day gets all hectic on me!  

A few years ago, I wrote about certain myths people had about starting a fashion business.  That was more targeted towards people who felt running a fashion business was more about the glitz and glamour.  Here is the link to that post:
 
 
But lately, I had started hearing about certain mindsets people had based on their fears which was preventing them from starting off and I felt the need to address those.  Please note that these myths I have written below by no means suggests that starting a fashion business is a joke.  The knowledge is still key if you want to succeed.  That is what I always preach – you need a thorough knowledge to guide your production team!  
 
I have, however, stated these so you understand that you should not be limited by these fears and should make a move no matter how little and then get the knowledge or partner with people in the areas where you are lacking.
 
Here is the Bella Naija article:
 
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5 Myths About Starting a Fashion Business
 
Or perhaps I should call them “myths” or misconceptions.  I have heard all sorts of reasons from people on why they are a bit hesitant about starting their fashion business.  Some even feel they will crash even before their businesses take off, based on assumptions they have made or discussions they have had with people.  The following are just a few examples of real concerns people have expressed to me in the past and here I am debunking some of these myths and allaying these fears.
1.  You Must Be Able to Sew to be a Successful Fashion Designer
 
This is always top of the list. The general idea around here is that to be taken seriously as a fashion designer you must be able to sew, you must run a production unit, you must sew for people, you must sew the clothes yourself, you must feature in fashion show… and the list goes on and on! NO YOU DO NOT!
 
Fashion Designers develop the concept and put a team together to bring their creative ideas to reality! They do not have to physically sew or even have a production unit! I remember Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber disclosing at a seminar a while back that she cannot sew. But does she have a successful label?! Yes she sure does!
 
So please don’t listen to anyone who tells you this. It is just the mindset around here. Being able to sew does not guarantee that you will run a successful fashion business. Same way being able to sketch fabulous designs does not guarantee that as well. There are soooo many other things involved in running a fashion business and sewing is just an aspect of it. If you choose to learn, that’s great! The knowledge is useful to understand the process and guide your production team.
 
2.  You Must Be a “Fashionista” To Be A Good Designer
 
I heard this recently from a lady who had concerns about starting off. She did not think she would be a good designer since she did not consider herself to be a “fashionista” …whatever that means. Apparently a good designer must be dressed to the hilt all the time in the latest trends and fashions OR must dress a certain way with some crazy hair and the most outrageous clothes. If anyone told you that, that’s bull!
Designing great clothes doesn’t mean you have to wear them. Ever noticed what fashion designers wear when taking a bow on the runway?! Many are dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans…obviously because many of them are too busy even to think! Yes, you have to dress well to gain the confidence of your customer but you don’t have to be in the latest clothes or dress all crazy to prove a point. Your product will speak for you.
That said, if you choose to be a fashionista, that’s great! But if you are a simple person by nature, that should not deter you from becoming a fashion designer. After all, Alexander Mcqueen looked like a simple person and dressed in a simple manner but we all know how amazing he was as a designer.
 
3.  You Must Be “Creative” to Run a Fashion Business
 
HA! Someone who was about to take the plunge a while back spoke to me about this particular fear. She was worried she might not do well because she did not consider herself a creative person… neither could she draw very well… and her designs were very simple. I told her not to even give it a second thought.
 
To me, creativity is relative and everyone has their own design philosophy.  As far as I am concerned everyone has some form of creative ability. As long as you can put pencil to paper or explain what you want to your tailor and she churns it out, then you have what it takes.  I know people only tend to consider those who design “never before seen, over-the-top” high fashion clothing as fashion designers. But guess what?  Everyone has at least one pair of jeans in their wardrobe and a t-shirt and those were created by designers! And they are making a lot of money from it as well!
 
Besides, if you feel you are not creative, you can either learn how to be creative or hire someone to be creative for you. There are illustrators out there who can work with you to build on your seemingly “simple” ideas.  That is why fashion companies have design teams. The burden should not only be on the owner to churn out the designs, market the designs, search for customers, buy the fabric, deliver to the customer…and all the other tasks we take up over here. There is a whole lot more to a successful fashion business that being creative and being able to draw. You are now an entrepreneur so you need to step into those shoes. Don’t consume yourself with only the creative sides of running a fashion business.
 
4.  You Must Mingle with the “Right” People
 
I know for many people, the typical definitions of the “right” people are the celebrities and socialites. I have heard that a lot! Well… if that is your target market, then by all means, please go for it! But it is not mandatory you mix with them if you do not plan to design for them. If your target market is the average Joe, then please those are the “right” people for you. Concern yourself with trying to find these people.
 
PLUS! I notice many also focus on just making the money and often neglect to watch their costs. The “right people” must include the fabric suppliers, those who supply and fix our machines, those who provide our zips, etc. These are the people who can make or break our businesses. Why pay N10,000 for a yard of fabric when you can pay N4,500 for the exact same fabric? And no matter how good you are as a designer, if the zips you use keep breaking, then your reputation can go down the drain at the snap of your fingers. So please, concern yourself with not only increasing sales but also reducing your costs!
 
5.  You Need a Lot of Money to Start Your Fashion Business!
 
NOT TRUE! It all depends on the type of fashion business you want to run.  Besides, when you ask those dishing out advice why they feel you need a lot of money, they often focus on stuff like PR, getting a fab website, coming up with fancy logos and business cards….and all what not. If you do not have a lot of money to start off, then start small!  
 
A fashion business is, in fact, one of the easiest to start off with zero naira!   All you have to do is be the middleman between your customer and your tailor. Sketch your designs, take a deposit from the customer (which should be way more than your costs of production), get a tailor to churn out the clothes, deliver it to the customer and get your balance. It is as simple as that!
 
Well to be honest, we know it’s not thaaaat simple… but it’s not that difficult when you have a process in place.  I bet many are already doing this.  All you need to do is continue and save up till you have the funds to start your own production unit.  So really, lack of funds should not be a deterrent.  I can safely tell you that as long as there are weddings…and there always will be weddings…, or birthdays and even funerals, you will be in business!
 
Great!  These are just some of the ones I have heard. What else have they told you that is giving you cold feet about starting off?! Share these myths with us and let’s discuss them.  Or better still… tell us which advice or myth you ignored and how ignoring it was the best decision you ever made!
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That’s it!  Hope this helped!  Have a great week everyone!
 
And remember to appreciate your fashion designer today! That’s my theme for this week!  I think we are not appreciated enough for the work we do and I thought to make it my first Instagram post for the day.  Handle is @martwayne.
Cheers!
Why Haven’t You Pursued Your Dream of Becoming a Fashion Designer? Bella Naija Article 1

Why Haven’t You Pursued Your Dream of Becoming a Fashion Designer? Bella Naija Article 1

http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/07/02/temitope-williams-adewunmi-why-havent-you-pursued-your-dream-of-becoming-a-fashion-designer/

Haha!  I told you I was on a role this July! 😀  I had been putting this off FOR AGES!  Yes I know… I really am bad at procrastinating!  But lately the nudging got so bad that I just decided one night to just go for it!  And I did! 😀

And I already have comments :-D… which are always the best part of writing an article! Just check them out! 😀




Amazing right?!  This is the BEST feeling right?!  The best part about people leaving comments on your article is the fact that the feedback you get makes you know that what you are doing is actually making an impact on people.  Nothing better than knowing you are speaking to people and they are responding to you!  

I hardly ever get comments on my articles on this blog so sometimes I’m never really inspired to write because I don’t even know if people are reading what I am writing about.  So when I even feel like writing, I’m just like “argh… what’s the point… I’m not even sure if people are reading this”.

So please people!  Encourage a sister by actually posting your responses on the blog not buzzing me up privately on Blackberry or WhatsApp.  Let people out there also know that they are not the only ones out there with the issue and let me feel encouraged so I can write more!  I always have lots to share and would love to share them with you! 😀  I tell you, this is what I love most about what I do – helping people out and adding value!

Great!  So here is the article below.  I copied and pasted it from the original post!  Looking forward to reading your comments too. 😀  

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http://i3.cpcache.com/product/267072913/when_i_grow_up_i_want_to_be_a_fashion_designer_pos.jpg?height=630&width=630&qv=90
Ok… so you have always wanted to become a fashion designer…for any of the following reasons:
  • You have always loved sketching clothes as soon as you were able to hold a pencil;
  • You used to make clothes for your dolls;
  • You know you have the talent and everyone knows that – they even come to you when they need styles for their aso-ebi; … or the one I get often…
  • You were just tired of your tailor and you knew you could do better. It’s the classic tale of ‘I tell her one thing and she churns out something else and we keep going back and forth!’ (This was my story…)

You know it. Everyone knows it. You just have to become a fashion designer! You have the gift, you have the talent and you know you will make a lot of money from it. And you keep promising yourself that next year you will definitely take this up!
December comes and you write your goals for the coming year, and top of of the list?! “Finally pursue this dream of mine!” The new year hits and you are all fired up! Google becomes your best friend. You start your research “How to Become a Fashion Designer”, you start making calls and you even visit some fashion schools because you want to learn how to sew.
And then the holidays are over and reality hits. Work or school begins and the momentum you built over the holidays starts slowing down. Before you know it, the excuses start pouring in. You begin to convince yourself that “now is not the right time”. Why? You tell yourself…
• I have an extremely busy schedule and simply cannot create the time!
• Won’t people think I’m crazy?! Leaving a good job for fashion?!
• I have a family to feed, how much money can I possibly make from fashion;
• I think I am too old and don’t even know how or where to start from;
• I don’t have the money so let me work some more to gather more funds;
• The good fashion schools are too far and I cannot give up my weekends;
• I cannot get distracted now, I am at a crucial point in my life;
• I’m about to get that promotion so now is not a good time to leave.
• I cannot do this, what if I fail?!
And the excuses keep piling up. And yes, these are good and valid points which make all the sense in the world… or are they?! Maybe… just maybe these excuses are just a cover for the real reason you have refused to make that move – FEAR! And worse, you have refused to admit it to yourself!
Yes we all face these fears.
• Fear of failure;
• Fear of the unknown;
• Fear that people will laugh at you;
• Fear that people won’t like your work;
• Fear that you are too old;… I can go on and on…
I can, however, assure you that there is one thing wayyyyyy worse than fear and that is the regret you feel years down the line when the world has moved on and you are still stuck in the same space. You think you have missed that opportunity (emphasis on the word “think”) and bitterness sets in. You blame everything and everyone around you, including yourself (if you have the guts to blame yourself), for missing that opportunity.
But guess what? It is never too late to make the move. So what if you fail? Big deal. You try again or worse, you backtrack and go back to your job or get another job – you will not be the first to do so. But at least there is that satisfaction you get knowing that you scratched that itch and bled in the process; knowing that you discovered after trying it out that it was not for you. At least, now you know.
But then again, you really do not need to dive into the ocean and give everything up in a flash! Baby steps they call it. Test the waters first. Use your spare time (and yes everyone has some spare time no matter how busy they are) and start something on the side no matter how little. Could be selling your sketches to designers or even your colleagues who need fabulous styles for Asoebi Bella, working with your tailor to bring your sketches to life and selling them to colleagues or even learning how to sew. The best thing is your market is all around you! Everyone loves a fashion designer because everyone must wear clothes! Do that until you build that confidence to take the full plunge!
Oh… and one more thing… try not to give in to procrastination! Yes it is difficult and I, for one, am extremely guilty of it! Take this article for example. I have been meaning to write about this for ages and this is what?! July already! I just kept postponing until I said to myself just now “Argh! You know what?! Just do this now!” And it is exactly 2.18am!
And that is literally all it takes! For you to say to yourself “Argh! I’m doing this now!” Not tomorrow, not when I get home, NOW!
So there you have it! I’ve made my move! How about you?! Tell us why you have not yet made that move into the fashion industry!
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OH!  P.S!!!

Don’t forget our fashion courses coming up soon!  I will keep hammering on these till the start dates!  Just click on the home page to see more and I am working on the other posts for the other Courses but here is a list of the Courses 😀

–  Beginners Course (a sewing course) – registration on-going

–  Bodices & Dressmaking Course (a sewing course for those who can already sew) – registration on-going

–  Short Course in Corsetry – 17 June

–  Pattern-Making & Grading with Computer-Aided Design – 27 June

–  Design, Fashion Illustration with Computer-Aided Design – 15th & 18th July – both weekend and weekday options available

– Basic Fashion Course for Juniors (ages 9-16) – 1st – 25th August

–  Short Course in Childrenswear – 22nd August

Yes we have great courses coming up.  Watch out for the posts or contact us on 0818 395 8856, WhatsApp: 0809 787 6075 or on Blackberry D8E9802C or email updates@martwayne.com for more details.
Great!  Enjoy the article and see you on these dates!

Cheers!
The NYSC SAED (Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Development) Competition

The NYSC SAED (Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Development) Competition

Hello Everyone!!!  Welcome to undoubtedly the BEST month in the year… for obvious reasons! 😀

And thank you to all the feedback I received from potential students.  Based on your feedback, I have included tabs on the right side of the page (just below the Martwayne logo) with more detailed information on the Training Center and the Courses we run.  Actually I just pretty much copied and pasted from previous posts but nonetheless, it  should be easier to retrieve the information you require now.

Great!  Since it has been a while since I have updated the blog on work-related activities, I thought it would be great to share details of the NYSC-SAED Competition I was invited to as a judge about 2 weeks ago!  😀

So as I mentioned in previous posts, I am a SAED trainer and I focus on the Entrepreneurship part of fashion.  So I got a call and a letter inviting me to be a judge on a competition between 4 zones in the Lagos SAED Chapter.

Spearheaded by SAED and sponsored by Unilever, Corps Members in each of the zones had to come up with a look put together using 4 different skills – An Outfit, Matching Jewellery, A Bag & A Pair of Shoes – which had to be presented on a model.

They had 4 hours to complete the project and they started right there and then.

It was pretty interesting watching them work… I was particularly captivated by a lady who was on her knees spreading glue on cardboard.  I had no clue what she was doing until I saw the finished work – the bag!  And her counterpart, the cobbler, made the matching shoes.  I thought it was pretty cool!


So anywayz, here are the pictures…  Not sure I can post too many before I start having problems with Blogger again…

Hard at work:


The prizes for the winners and their teachers… (including a cash prize of N25,000)


The finished work.  Sadly, only 3 of the 4 zones completed the tasks:

Zone A:

Zone B:

 
Here’s a close-up of the necklace…
Zone D:

They were scored based on their originality, neatness and cohesiveness of the pieces…

  

  

and the Chief Judge, our very own Prince Oyefusi of Nobel Afrique, had the honour of announcing the winner (which by the way was a unanimous decision…) – ZONE D from Ikeja.  
 

The audience was not pleased at all… They all expected Zone C (Surulere) to win but we looked out for more things other than the visual appeal of the finished look.

So to calm tempers, he gave the designer from Zone C a one-month scholarship in his Fashion School worth N150,000 and the guy who made the bag a retail space in his store.

I must say the day went pretty well (well clearly since we were fed with some DE-LISH catfish pepper soup from the NYSC fish pond and small chops [which I really should not have eaten but which I pounced on anyway :-D].

But most of all, I was really tripped that the Corps Members could complete their work in such a short time.  It was a great day.  🙂

Here is more work from other Corps Members:


…and the Assistant Director of SAED, Mrs Rachael Idaewor, the Coordinator of the Competition:

I must confess that the NYSC & SAED are doing a whole lot to encourage entrepreneurship amongst the graduates in this economy where unemployment is through the roof.  Nothing better than working with your hands and making money from it.  So people, do encourage a SAED Corper by purchasing their items when you come across them.  I know I bought a few cakes at the event from a young lady who approached me.

Great!  So that’s just one of the many things I did this month…. well at least one of the activities I took pictures of.  Will remember to take pictures of other events and the Courses like I used to.

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Debut Collection from Colour-Me-Design, An Ex-Martwayne Student :-D

Debut Collection from Colour-Me-Design, An Ex-Martwayne Student :-D


I was about to wind down for the night when I received a link in a broadcast from one of my ex-Level 1a students, Priscilla, who is currently serving in Anambra.  She registered for the Foundation Course just before she left for service.

To be honest, I had actually forgotten she was serving when I called her my “runaway student”.  I asked her what she had been up to since she absconded from the Course and she goes “Please see what I’ve been up to and share your views“.  So I went to my system, opened the link and my jaw hit the ground at what I saw…


The chic had been busy working on her collection!


I did recall her on her last day furiously churning away at the machine on some ankara peplum belt as she called it but I just assumed she was wearing it to a party.  Little did I know…

Just check out some of her ankara garments and accessories from her debut collection titled “My Generation, Beauty in Diversity”.




 
Stunning peplum belts…


Tee-Shirts…



She has more stuff on her site so you can view them by clicking on the link:

http://kikisbluebook.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/the-wait-is-overcolour_me_designs-debut-collection-is-here-check-it-out-below/
Now Priscilla claims she could not sew before she joined the Course.  I am not too sure I can remember actually since these designs are clouding my judgement but I will reconfirm this from my assistant.  But I know she only completed Level 1a.  She did, however, confirm that she did a lot of research on her own and continued practising what she had learnt when she left for service.

I have told her she should drop a comment in the relevant section, repeating all she said to me via Blackberry.  Hopefully she will not abscond.

Now this is someone to watch out for.  She had a goal and she went all out to achieve it, regardless of location or her skill.  She continued to improve on what she had learnt and churned out her pieces and accessories all by herself!  I am too impressed.  

People if you like her work, which I am sure you will do, please contact her to place an order.  According to her, the pieces are between N3,500 and N5,000.  I’m not too sure which of these garments are hers but I suspect all the ankara work.  Furthermore, her pictures clearly show you how you can combine her pieces with regular garments for that chic look.

Wow!  Garments!  Photoshoot!  Website!  Like uber-wow!  This girl is on a roll!  I am so  inspired now!  And I hope you are as well!  Now none of us has an excuse anymore!  No not 1.  If she can do it, so can we!

More than 1,000 Thumbs Up for Priscilla!
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