27 February 2018

How to Start an Online Fashion Business in Nigeria: Top Tips From Adetoke Oluwo CEO SGTCCLOTHING

In this blog post culled from her Instagram page Adetoke Oluwo shares her journey on how she builds, launch and grow a profitable online African print store called Style Goes to Church Clothing.

How Did You Start Your Business?

I started without planning on starting a business. I was to travel out and someone in yankee asked me to sew an Ankara style I had on so she'd buy when I got to America. I decided to make like 15 samples (so I’d have dollars to shop not because I wanted to start a business). But because I love pictures a lot, I decided to have a photo shoot with the clothes, I opened an IG page for the business (because I wanted to look serious when I quoted the dollars) not because I wanted a business but once I posted the pictures, it sold out before I traveled. I took it seriously when my dear @ankaready saw one of the pictures and decided to buy pieces in forex.... omo business started sharp sharp.

I started with 50k. I didn't pump money into my business even though I had the means to. I was smart enough to start small and test waters. I buy Ankara of over 500k monthly now, I am an advocate of starting small and filling the shoes. Also, I pay tailors per piece. Don't have my dedicated tailors yet.... I pay my trusted tailors per one piece they sew. I try to make them comfortable so I wouldn't hear stories that touch.

What Challenges You Faced at First and How You Over Came Them?

My first major challenge was handling tailors. My first loss was 300k just 1 month after starting. All my gain turned to losses when they made rubbish. Second challenge was my finishing, I will send clothes to my partner in UK, zips will break, tailors will forget to close pocket, plenty errors. But thank God for @ankaready she would critique me with love and ensured excellence (it's good to have good people around you). She is still my No 1 critique and I can never be too big to listen.

Is It Necessary to Register a Business Name Before Starting the Business?

You don't need to register a business before you start the business. Focus on structure. First before you start adding all effizis even though its important. But, it can actually wait till you find your feet. See, don't tell anyone oh but I didn't have a branded nylon till October abi November!!!Yes!!Zero packaging! I focused on my product first and grew.

How Do You Get Celebrities To Buy From You Or Help Promote Your Brand?

First thing I do is pray to God to see those I should send stuff to. Secondly, I have worked on my mindset that I never see a celeb as my meal ticket meaning I have to really like you before I reach out to you. So, it's more like a gift when I give you my piece not "a marketing strategy". Reason why once I give you my piece, I never look back. The first person I reached out to ever was @simplypalesa, she was someone I really loved. I particularly love sending pieces to "stylish" bloggers or people who take good pictures because it excites me to know how they will style my piece. That is my motivation always not just because blogs will repost even though it always has ripple effect.

I have never begged or asked anyone to help me promote my brand. Once you do that, you will never get your respect. I simply reach out to those I like or who openly like my pieces or comment under my post. Hello my name is Adetoke, I own @sgtcclothing, a ready to wear blah blah, you really inspire me or I saw your comment blah blah, I would like to send you some pieces. What they do is to first go to your page and check you out before they respond. Some respond and say they collect money and I thank them and waka.... it’s their hustle. I don't pay because it's not in my policy. I feel once I pay A I have to pay B because everyone is equal so I don't bother with it. Most people buzz now to wear my brand because of the hard work we've put in....so it's no magic.

Learn to be confident in your brand. Be your no 1 supporter. Be open to critics but be weary of those who bring you down. There is a thin line. Some never have anything good to say. Shut them off!!Focus on your brand first before you start looking for supporter etc. Let your work speak for itself, people will begin to associate with you.

Culled from her Instagram Page. You can follow her on Instagram HERE

Edited by Blessing Eremionkhale