As a fervent fashion lover, the idea of setting up a clothing line presented me with the opportunity to express my vision. My desire is to always stand out by way of clothing combinations that reflect my cultural background (African). That ignited the spark in me to personally begin the designing and production of my own bespoke outfits. The compliments and enquiries about my “dapper looks” led me to consider harnessing my skills even further to innovatively produce stylish and uniquely tailored traditional African inspired outfit for interested clients. That is how my label - Gold Label was born.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
As expected, building the business presented a few challenges. As a start-up in its initial stages, my biggest challenge had to do with meeting my clients’ demand timelines. In a very short while after commencing operations, the rate of demand for my products grew at an overwhelming rate. This meant it became more difficult to deliver on time which would begin to have an adverse effect on the goodwill of the business if not solved swiftly and effectively. This required that I engaged more personnel (experienced tailors) to help ease off the pressure. The business, being at its introductory stage however meant that profit margins were not as high as needed to bring in some extra hands to ease off some of the pressures in production albeit without compromising with quality. There was an obvious need for cash injection as fixed costs were high. I therefore ploughed some profits back into the business as well as some personal savings to cater for the extra costs that arose. Production quantities then increased hence, an increase in sales to help cater for our costs.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
48 laws of power by Robert Greene
I will recommend any books that will help broaden entrepreneurs’ scope of business thinking and those that teach about the ways of other successful business proprietors. An example is 48 laws of power as I stated above
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I have been fortunate enough to have a very supportive family who readily available themselves always to me whenever I need any form of support. In fact, it was my father who gifted me with a structure to be used as a workshop which the business currently occupies. My siblings and other relatives also help in one way or the other to ensure growth of my business and I am very appreciative of that.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
As a clothing line, most of our products/services are bespoke tailored to the clients’ specifications and therefore our attention paid to the tiniest of details while serving our clients is what leaves them pleased with our work and always gets them coming back for more as well as confidently recommending GOLD LABEL APPARELS to the world. This keeps the business running and counts as one of the major reasons for our success story.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Starting up a clothing line from the very first day has been a huge learning process for myself to date and even continues to be so on a daily basis while on the job. It has been a massive learning curve as experience is the best teacher. I know a lot more today than I did when I first started and the list goes on and on. To pick one out of the lot, I will say “customer/clientele relations”. It would have been extremely helpful as it is the customers that make the business stay running. And in that stead the customers’ satisfaction is, and has always been top of our list of my priorities.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
My advice will be to always seek positive improvements in all aspects of the business, to never stop learning and to critically consider all options available and pick the best when faced with the task of decision making.