Seju: Yes Kelechi! Give onto Caesar what belongs to Caesar…let the product pass down the supply chain in the appropriate manner. And let each man focus on strengthening his piece of the value chain so that it indeed becomes that – a value chain where each link adds a bit more value to the product – from creative forward thinking design to high quality production down to efficient marketing and finally sales channels that can handle delivering with high customer service levels directly to the individual consumer.
The Octagon: How do we encourage this level collaboration in the fashion industry to help it achieve the level of success expected of it?
Seju: I think conversations like this are exactly the perfect starting point. Everytime I get into a room with other industry professionals you hear the same stories and folks get a chance to share their woes. When you know what one person lacks and have a proper grasp of what your deficiencies are as well, it makes it easier to identify how you can help and support each other.
The Octagon: What do you suggest will be great solutions with regards to the following ; mass production, mass distribution within Nigeria and sales outside Nigeria.
Kelo: If you are a designer, focus on making the best quality clothes you can, everything else will fall into place in due time.
Ifeoma: Media very important. In the last few years There’s only been a handful of media supporting the fashion industry. And it has produced a considerable level of interest from average nigerians and served as a source of information and education about the industry and the opportunities available.
Garment production companies. Management consultants may also need to look at fashion design businesses because to be quite Frank for some managing the business side of things has been quite daunting. Also someone mentioned earlier that people need to approach fashion as a business not just the creative side of it. People need to come together more and float small fashion companies just like with corporate startups. The people at Eve and Tribe did just that.
Tinuade: I totally agree with division of Labour. You can’t excel at everything but you need to understand and be able to run the business properly. If I use banking as an example, for you to be considered for the MD position you have to have worked in and understand the core money making roles. You can’t have spent your entire career in the bank governor hall as customer service and expect to run the bank successfully. To make informed decisions, you need the understanding of the business. There is no short cut and this is where a lot of people get it wrong. If all you want todo is design, then work for an established fashion brand as its designer.
Tolu: To succeed in the fashion industry, be knowledgeable in every aspect from the creative creation to the nitty gritty REAL BUSINESS of it especially in the context of Nigeria and expanding to the world.
Kelechi: The truth in all of this is that, the fashion industry has the potential of being bigger than the entertainment industry – you can go without entertainment but you can’t go without clothing.
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