Hello good people!!!!! I’m sure you all had a GREAT holiday! I know I did! I am already looking forward to the next one… (who knows when the next one is coming up?!) Anywayz! I had a pretty restful one – totally thankful!
Haha…. I thought this was hilarious! I just could not resist!
Image from: http://trulteskogen.com/onewebstatic/04cb45fd25-24.gif
Ok! So here is my BN post! I have actually had this question thrown at me so many times, I knew writing about it was only a matter of time. Seeing I managed not to lift a finger over the holiday, here is the article which was actually posted on Bella Naija on Thursday. I made minimal changes to it since I realised it was edited and some portions of my thought process (re: punctuations and brackets) were lost in the editing AND I also added more pictures…
Tope Williams-Adewunmi: How Exactly Do I Start My Fashion Business?
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Great! Glad you’ve taken the first step and decided to take your love for fashion more seriously. But you have no clue how to go about it. So, we’ll start from the very beginning… hopefully these steps will help shape that vision and move you from concept to reality.
Oh…P.S… It will not happen in one day, or a week, or even a month! If you want to do it properly, it will take a while. So remember these words… baby steps.
First Step? Making the decision!
Image from: http://davidduke.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Decision-Making.jpg
You need to decide what exactly what you want to do in the industry and stick to it! This really is the hardest part because you might not even have a clue. And even if you do, people will advise you to go down a different route. So please make that decision before you start off or else you will be miserable – or worse, act on that advice and end up wasting a lot of money in the process.
But the money isn’t really the issue here. The issue is you waking up one morning 10 years from now wondering how exactly you got there.
So if, for example, all you always wanted to do was design wedding gowns, find a way to make this work even if there is a lot of money to be made from sewing uniforms – EXCEPT you are doing it just to gather enough funds to start off. In which case, give yourself a time limit and stick to it as best as you can.
Writing a life plan for your fashion idea!
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No no… don’t roll your eyes yet… I am not talking about a business plan here. Yes many of us tune off when we hear the term “business plan” (including me). Don’t worry, the business plan will come later and you can always outsource that. For now, get a notepad and a pen and begin to write – in clear terms what you want to do. If 5 years you have deviated from this plan, you can find your way back.
For example, you can start off with… (let’s pretend you’re in italics and I’m the voice in your head [in brackets] guiding you along OR you can do this with a friend):
• I know I like fashion: [Ok… yes we have established that. What aspect of fashion do you
• Ladies wear: [Oh nice! Why ladies wear?]
• I don’t know… I just love clothes and dressing ladies up: [Ok… so why do you need to
become a fashion designer to do this? You don’t have to be fashion designer to dress
people up. Perhaps all you really want to be is a stylist. Or do you want to do this because
being a fashion designer sounds cool?]
Well… At this point, you need to know who a fashion designer really is. So conduct some research and be sure this is what you really want to do. Convince yourself of why you want to be the person designing the clothes the ladies will wear… while I move on from this point…
[Ok great! So ladieswear! What aspect of ladies wear?]
• Everything! I would like to design everything a woman can wear! [Errrr… Seriously? How is that even possible? Even if you can, let’s take one idea at a time.]
[Let’s get down to specifics. What do you want to start off with?]
• I think I’d like to design ladies casual wear: [You think? You’re not sure?! Let’s try
again. What is the first thing you sketch when you put pencil to paper?]
Now would be a good time to quickly sketch something. Even if you are not great at sketching. You can also explain your design in words. That will determine who exactly you are as a fashion designer. You might think you want to design casual wear but find yourself designing evening wear.
• Okay…. Done! I know I want to design casual wear: [Oh-kay! Nice! What type of casual
• Maybe t-shirts: [Maybe? Or certainly?! Try your hand at another sketch]
• Actually I’ve always wanted to have my own T-Shirt line: [Ok great! T-Shirts then!
What type of T-Shirts?]
• Printed Tees with an interesting twist: [Ok… now I’m rolling my eyes. Please narrow it
• Okay, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to draw faces on t-shirts with safety pins and sea shells for example: [This is the point where I tell you it does sound bizarre but hey… stranger things have happened in fashion. So who knows… it can work.]
And that’s it! You go on and on until you begin to narrow it down or till you hit a road block. If you do hit a block… take a breather and start over from where you left off.
When you are done with soul-searching…
It’s time for Research! Research!! Research!!!
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Oh this part is vital! Many of us hate doing research but it is key! Obviously, the Internet Institute is your first point of call! Many consume themselves with just the production aspect of design but I believe it is important to start from scratch.
Find out everything you need to know about making T-Shirts, right down to the history of t-shirts, how they evolved over time, who buys t-shirts, who wears the most t-shirts, how much do T-shirts costs, where are t-shirts produced e.t.c. Why? You might think ladies wear t-shirts but find out during your research that the type of t-shirts you want to design might actually appeal to teenagers. The question is, do you want to design for teenagers? It’s all up to you. Talk to people, ask questions, meet with t-shirt designers, etc. The research never ends – even when you start off. And whatever decision you make based on that research goes into that notepad as well.
After research (which is on-going by the way), the next step is to:
Get the Relevant Knowledge to Excel in That Field .
Love both pictures so decided to use both 😀
Image 1 (left) from: http://www.cliparthut.com/clip-arts/269/study-girl-smiley-emoticon-clipart-royalty-free-public-domain-269958.png
Image 2 (right) from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uAZ-NIHKUVI/USO3tx45tZI/AAAAAAAADDM/XI1FfKf84rQ/s1600/Smiley+Book.jpg
Now is the time to get the skills – either through some form of formal education or through work experience. If you cannot sketch, learn how to sketch. If you feel you want to learn how to sew, then learn how to sew – though it is not mandatory for fashion designers to know how to sew. However, with the horror stories I have heard from fashion designers about their tailors and machinists, you might be better off learning – no matter how little if you want to live longer.
SO! You can choose to go to a fashion school, be self taught (there are enough resources online if you do the research) or get some form of work experience – either paid or unpaid. That knowledge is necessary to guide your production team – regardless of whether you are producing the T-shirts in-house or outsourcing production. I tell you, it will save you a lot of headache in the long run!
Testing the Market!
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You need to know if people will buy your designs before you take off! Ask people what they don’t like about your work – that way they give you proper constructive criticism. It helps you improve your product and also builds you a thick skin.
Image from: http://www.netsolutionsindia.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Test-Market.jpg
Testing the market also helps you know if what you believe was the greatest invention since… errr… cellphones is really that fab. You just might find out that the “oh-so-brilliant” idea you had of designing t-shirts with seashells and safety pins was a pretty dumb idea after all. Should you dump that idea?! Nope. You might choose to go ahead and take the chance or go back to the drawing board and restrategize by replacing the safety pins with bugle beads.
And just when you are about to launch out:
Pray! Pray!! And PRAY!!!
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You really need that divine intervention. Only that inner peace can trump the fear that you are bound to feel deep down. And you will feel that initial fear but just go ahead and launch – no matter how small.
Launching does not necessarily mean having a fashion show. It could mean uploading your items or sketches on your site or online platforms, selling to your friends and colleagues, or just simply showing people your designs and taking their orders whilst working with your tailor. In my opinion, as long as you are ready to start accepting cash for your creative ideas, you have launched out.
Truth be told, it really is not that hard to become a fashion designer. The difficulty lies in being a successful one and I doubt anyone has the perfect recipe for success. But what I always say is what’s the worst that could happen right? You fall flat on your face or get some mean comments from people who hate your work. What do you do? You pick yourself up after crying for days and try again! Someone out there is bound to like your work and you will eventually carve out your own niche market! ?
Great! Those are my tips. I do have more but I’ll stop here. I’m sure there are a whole lot more out there as well so if you also have tips and pointers for us, do share them as well so we can learn from you!
This Article originally appeared on www.bellanaija.com…
…(with only the first picture and the italics and the missing brackets here and there. I honestly cannot do without pictures. Makes for a more pleasant read methinks… :-D)
Anywayz… hope this helped.
Don’t forget to share your tips in the comments section so we can all learn from you and your experiences as well. I hear some people have had issues with posting comments. Apologies…hopefully it will become easier.
Have a great and productive week ahead! And watch out for my next BN post! 😀
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. 😀
- 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…)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Great! Enjoy the article and see you on these dates!
Right: Dear Daddy & I
Haha! I just could not resist! 😀 But YES, in the Spirit of the Season, I have decided to wish all dads and “dads-to-be” a “Happy Father’s Day”!
I spent a better part of today reading all sorts of tributes from friends and Facebook contacts to their dads. Wish many of them (including me) said as much to their dads often enough on a normal day and not just on the 3rd Sunday in June.
BUT one particular Facebook post from a friend, Sola Kuti, to his dad was just so awesome I just had to post it here! I tell you, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from his post. I wish I could highlight my favourite parts in the post but then again I’ll probably end up highlighting the whole post! But there is ONE particular part trumps the rest as my favourite part. You read it yourself and see if you can guess which one it is…
“I know everyone is going to talk about how wonderful their dad is…and how their dad is the best dad in the world bladdy blah…lol
This fathers day…I just want to say a few words about my dad.
There is no doubt that I have a really great father. He nurtured me and allowed me to flourish…he was never overbearing nor authoritative.
If you knew where I lived on campus when I was a teenager and where school (ISL) was, you would wonder why my dad would drop me off in school…it was all of half a km or less…a 10 min walk… (maybe that was his way of making sure I actually went to school at all…God knows….lol).
My dad is really cool…growing up he was quite calm and easy to please…he would come home late and instead of waking mum up, he would make his own Eba (the man loves eba) if he was hungry…he would heat up stew, eat and go to bed jejelie.
…If he needed to do anything he usually did it himself…the man would wash his own plates and take care of himself…no matter how much you offered to help him…he would always try and do stuff on his own… Today he lives alone and in his late 70’s is able to still organise his meals and laundry etc.
My dad bought us loads of records in our teens…in fact as a new album came out, we had it…he let us go and watch all the Shalamar and Lakeside concerts…he was never pushy academically but just insisted you did your best and spent your time wisely…
But most of all, he showed (not told) me, how to value those people that everyone else has written off because they do not measure up to some materialistic standard.
Through some of my toughest, most depressing times, my father stood like a rock when everyone fell apart…when it got to a point where it all seemed hopeless..everyone looked away…my dad stood firm…and did everything he could to support me…I can never pay him back or express just how much it meant to me.
My father is not perfect but I would not consider changing him for the world. A good way to pay him back is hope work hard to ensure that my kids will feel the same way about me or better.
Happy Fathers day to my father and to all those men out there who try. Especially those who don’t have so much but do all they can to ensure that their families have at least the basics. Sometimes it seems like you are not doing enough…but if you do your best, you have done everything. Don’t ever give up.” – Sola Kuti
Yes! The feminist in me OBVIOUSLY loves loves the part about his dad not disturbing his mum when he came home late and doing things himself! It clearly did not make his dad any less of a man… if anything, it earned a lot more respect from his son! So all you men out there treating your wives as cooks and slaves, please take note and learn from this! I have heard enough horror stories from ladies that have made my jaw drop!
But lest I digress, let me wrap this up with an extract from from Eketi Aime Ette’s tribute to her dad! Note to self to spend more time with my dad!
“Dad and I had a wonderful father-daughter outing today. It was a beautiful time spent together. I tell you, fathers don’t get enough credit and accolades in this world.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you ata umiang. Happy Father’s Day to all my friends who are true fathers, not just baby daddies or biological donors. May your children be blessings to you, always.” – Eketi Aime Ette
And I say a HUGE AMEN to that! Happy Father’s Day Everyone! Enjoy what’s left of it and have a great and successful week ahead!