Fashion designer and creative, Moji Alade, show us that pulling off a great work ethic and attention to detail is an art on its own, the amount of time put into the details to produce jaw-dropping designs make her designs stand unique across all areas in fashion.
We recently had a brief interview with her, asked some questions and here is what she had to say…
Question 1: What informed your decision to be a Fashion Designer/ Creative?
I saw things. I saw the African culture being looked down on. I saw that Africans were embracing western designs and style so much that they failed to pay attention to African prints or what could be produced out of African prints. I saw that the few who paid attention weren’t doing enough with it. I used to wonder how someone would look at a beautiful African fabric and think that ‘iro and buba’ was the best they could do with it. At that moment I saw the need to show that we could do more and give reasons why the Ankara fabric should rather be embraced gracefully. This was what informed my decision to do this Art.
Question 2: How did you start the business? What was your Eureka moment?
I started this business with just the capital I needed. I didn’t need much because the aim was to start small and scale up with time. As we all know, change is a function of time. At the initiation of the business, i got the capital from my dad after I pitched my idea to him. When I secured the capital, I didn’t take too much time to start publicizing. My eureka moment was when I figured this out- “your creativity can speak for you, but you can also speak for yourself by putting yourself out there”. This was realized after my first fashion showcase which I had been skeptical about doing, considering the time and the money. But well, I did it and I can say that it’s the best thing that has ever happened to my brand.
Question 3: Many entrepreneurs complain about finance, how have you been able to overcome this challenge?
Finance is one major problem entrepreneurs have to deal with. I think one thing most entrepreneurs don’t know is that there’s a solution to every problem as long as you continually seek ways to grow your business and serve people. That’s how I have been coping with the issue of finance. It might take a while, it will take you out of your comfort zone and can require making sacrifices, but it’s worth it in the end.
Question 4: what is it like doing business in Nigeria and what advice would you like to give to wannabe entrepreneurs?
It’s tough doing business in Nigeria if you don’t set and maintain your standards. By standards, I mean price, rules, etc. if you don’t, people will owe you money and you can also end up owing. Customers will think that your brand is flexible if you settle for their own price. They will feel you’re doing it just for the money and that can significantly affect your business. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is this: “if your idea is not good enough, don’t put your money to it”. Find other ways to solve problems and don’t be the ‘everybody’ in the sentence, ‘entrepreneurship is not for everybody’.
Question 5: A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora have mentioned that Made-in-Nigeria products lack the requisite quality to compete in international markets? How have you ensured the high quality that your brand is known for?
That’s just a generalized assumption made by a lot of Nigerians in the diaspora. Well, for me, research is very necessary before anything. I do my research on whoever I have to deal with in this business before working with them because I can’t ensure high quality without them. Starting from the people I get my fabrics from to my seamstresses to the photographer, fashion illustrator and others, i have researched on them and educated them in the areas where necessary so I trust them to help me deliver the high quality that my brand is known for.
Question 6: What does good and success look like to you?
Success is a process. It has to be continuous so you don’t get referred to as ‘once successful’. Good success for me is being able to inspire people with what you do because you are doing what you love passionately. It’s simply showing people that success is not a one-time thing but a lifetime story.