Jessica James | Nigeria | Passion & Effort!

https://www.instagram.com/illustrationsbyjessicajames/ I am a Nigerian based freelance illustrator, designer and 3D artist. I specialize in transforming 2D digital illustrations into 3D virtual garments and also create realistic characters and environments to simulate an eye-catching virtual experience. I've always believed there's so much more fashion can be and with the growing acceptance of virtual/augmented realities, this is only the beginning and super great because I believe it's a more sustainable approach to fashion the use of technology in this way. My artistic style is centered around photorealism, futuristic and Afrocentrism using both traditional and digital mediums to achieve this.

My journey like most creatives hasn't been an easy one to say the least. Coming from a background that did not support my career choice from the beginning, it was difficult starting out but that didn't stop me from dreaming. I started out as an intern in a Lagos based Bridal Fashion House, all I wanted to do was learn and be immersed in the world of fashion, I stayed on for 4 years also working for other fashion houses here in Lagos. It has been 3 years plus as a freelancer. Couple of years ago I was a recipient of the Vlisco Fashion Fund Prize here in Nigeria and that really boosted my confidence and inspired me to work harder. Come 2020, the pandemic hit hard but I used the lockdown period to slow down, re-strategize and learn new skills. What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them? One of the biggest hurdles was funds, it was such a struggle at some point but I decided to take it slow as Rome wasn't built in a day, I started to earn little by little and slowly but surely most things I was worried about were becoming a thing of the past. Winning the fashion fund from Vlisco also helped. Another hurdle was lack of skilled labour or also not being able to afford skilled labour, I had to learn how to do most things myself in the beginning, I had to experiment alot and that only just increased my creativity and opened my eyes to alternative ways of doing things. What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read? The hard thing about hard things by BEN HOROWTZ 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? Yes I did, I didn't get the support I needed initially. I had to chase my dreams regardless by showing them there's promise in my pursuits. What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success? Hard work and consistency. What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? I am allowed to fail, it's about what I learn in the process and how to use my experience moving forward. What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally? Put in the work, especially if it's a passion, a dream, it doesn't just take talent but also effort.