COVID-19: Making brisks business through Ankara facemask

As the world is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Cynthia Obaleye is showcasing her talent in sewing and selling the trending Ankara facemask. The 28-year-old unemployed University graduate is achieving her financial dreams through her skills and experience. Adeola Tukuru, reports.

There are lots of opportunities in the sewing profession begging to be explored. An example is the trending Ankara facemask .

The Ankara facemask is becoming highly competitive in terns of production variation and pricing as producers are focusing on inventing it to enable users with better ventilation, inflitration efficiency as well as smiling to the bank.

The introduction of special respiratory disposable masks is a trend in market, which has enabled the manufacturers to customize the products accordingly to meet customers specifications.

In a chat with Business Starter, Cynthia  who also sows cloths for men and women explained that even if one don’t have advanced tailoring techniques, one cant still make huge profits by tapping into many of these opportunities.

She said unarguably, this is the period when the business seems to be open for only tailors. In other words, tailors were the only ones who can actually venture into the business.

She said the Ankara facemask  business is not only a thriving business at the moment, it is one business that has been generating profit for a very long time now.

On what inspired her into the business .

Cynthia explained that she needed something to keep her occupied after when graduated from the University of Benin in 2016 what we call here “a side-hustle” .

“So, I started selling fabrics and being a creative person – I would sketch designs for my clients who bought my fabrics. However, I got constant complaints from my clients about how hard it was to find a good tailor to interpret my designs, so I took the brave step to start my own design.

On why people should use her design

Cynthia said her Fabric designs has successfully maintained its integrity over 5 years and by integrity “I mean putting our customers first, keeping to deadlines, being dependable and also giving out quality products and services.

 and the admin manager. Between them, they have five years of experience and they are both passionate about what they do.

On how she started the business

“After receiving complaints about the difficulty of finding good and affordable tailors to interpret my designs, I started a search for tailors. The very good tailors I found were expensive and beyond the reach of my target market (which was the young working class).

“Around that time however, the company I was working for sent me to Lagos (Nigeria’s commercial hub) on a project that was going to take 4-6 months.

“When I got to Lagos, I started asking around for tailors and eventually I found one. Interestingly, I was reading a book about business start-ups and how you can raise capital by breaking the amount into bits and getting the required number of people to contribute those bits through the sale of a product or service.

“With that in mind, I decided to make two shirts and I wore one of them to visit my cousin, who was working at the headquarters of a major telecommunications company.

“When I got to her office, people complimented me on the design and I made it a point to tell them I had made it, even though I had not officially started my company.

“There and then, people bought into my idea and placed orders. I collected down payments for those orders and that pool of money became my start-up capital. That was how I transitioned from selling fabrics to actually designing and producing clothes.

On her future plans and aspirations

“We are looking at how we can expand beyond Nigeria to have more people stocking fabrics  products and having more retail stores across West Africa.

On satisfaction being an entrepreneur

She said impacting lives. “That is, positively impacting my staff and creating jobs – that way they can impact their own lives and homes, and also instilling our can-do sprit to change their outlook on life.

“Impacting my clients, knowing that our clothes instill confidence. For me, Fashion is about impact.

On the compulsory use of facemask in the country

Federal Government said yesterday that wearing of face mask in markets across the country would become compulsory.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo who disclosed this in Abuja at the weekly engagement with the Emergency Operation Centre of the Committee On Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19, said:  “I need to stress that, while there is an undeniable need for markets to be opened on some days for people to restock on household supplies, it is most important for the set protocol to be complied with during the process.

’The use of face masks and hand sanitisers on market days are non-negotiable to limit the spread of the virus until the scourge blows over.”

Call on security operatives

Adebayo also used the forum to call on security operatives to allow farmers access their farms for necessary farm activities, such as fertilizing and harvest in order to ensure food sufficiency during COVID-19 and beyond.

‘’The farmers must wear their face masks as well as observe other preventive measures before they are let through.

The synergy between our law enforcement agencies, our essential goods manufacturers and the producers and the Ministry, has allowed us to be able to meet critical demands at this time.’’

How to start a Fashion / Tailoring business

Write a well defined and structured business plan covering the needed capital, the right location for your shop and target market.

A business plan is a strategic tool that helps entrepreneurs have a helicopter view of their businesses; it helps entrepreneurs focus on their business objectives by stating the long and short term objectives and what must be done to attain such objectives.

Every successful business starts with a business plan. For a tailoring business, your plan, inclusive of every other detail, must include your niche, if any, and must include your proposed specialization and position on the value chain.

It should be stated here, however, that a business plan is not cast in old; it is a document that can and in most cases be altered regularly to meet with the true reflections and scenarios as dictated by the realities on the field.

Get Basic Training On Effectively Running A Tailoring Business

Get basic training on how to effectively run a sewing business with specific reference to your chosen niche. It is also important that you learn the tips and tricks of the trade. There are certain techniques that could only be learned from an expert in the business, be it business training or sewing training.

One way to learn is by joining forums of other experts in the tailoring business, join unions, and by all means seek partnerships with other tailors or business owners in the sewing profession.

Even if your business model is to manage the business and have other experienced tailors work for you, it is important that you learn the nitty-gritty of the tailoring trade; a tailoring business owner equipped with the technical aspects of sewing cannot go wrong in effectively running the tailoring business.

Decide On The Niche You Would Love To Take Care Of

A niche is a comfortable position that you chose to master and cater for. In tailoring, it could be your resolve to cater to a certain market or group of people. For example, you could choose to cater to baby girls, plus size women, etc.

Fortunately, Nigerians love to be dressed in their local fabrics.

Creating a niche has a lot of advantages, with the major advantage being that you could choose to create a brand and a following from the expertise of your chosen niche.

Decide On The Right Business Name To Suite The Niche Identified

To run a successful tailoring business, especially when you have decided to focus on a particular niche, it is important to choose a name that resonates with your chosen niche, one that your intending customers could easily identify and relate to – it could be a make or mar process, a following or otherwise of your brand.

Get The Right Funding, Luckily You Do Not Need So Much Capital To Get You Started

Funding a tailoring business can be tricky. Sincerely, you do not need much to get you started; it is actually a good practice to start small. Identify your essentials and only cater to funding the essentials – think of tools, and machines at this point of the business rather than a fancy location.

Always Have Reserves Of It To Remain King

It is extremely important to keep a buffer of cash to ensure stability, needed confidence and the capability to be able to pay for stuff when the need arises. You do not want to start a tailoring business without first having some buffers to pay for staff and buy tools and essential items as and when due.

Though most coaches will tell you that you do not need cash to start a business, that saying is never true .

YOU NEED CASH TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS.

Rent A Place or Better Still, Start From Your Garage

You do not need a fancy place to start a tailoring business, you could, however, choose to decorate your shop rightly and make it fit for purpose.

There are so many decorative tips online on how to decorate a tailoring shop, feel free to browse the Internet for more tips, it sure helps to learn what others are doing. Luckily, you can easily get other tailors in Nigeria willing to share space with you.

Hire The Needed Staff To Help You Effectively Start And Run The Business Hiring is an act, one that must be learned. It is always a good practice to employ the services of an HR (Human Resources) company no matter the cost, eventually, it would pay off.

Hiring through a company will ensure that if you do not get the right person, you could easily fire fast and get a better replacement.

The major thing you need to consider when hiring is that you MUST hire to fill your personal skills deficiency, do not hire with sentiments and do not hire who you would end up having to teach regularly, always hire who you can learn from, someone better than you at what you are hiring them for.

Buy The Basic Equipment Machine

Do not get caught up in the frenzy of impressing anyone, or getting better than your competition by possessing more equipment than what is actually needed. It is good practice to always start small, test the waters before going all in; you may choose to outsource services that would normally require the using the equipment that you do not currently have in your arsenal – start with what you can afford; start with the basics only.

Put The Words Out There Using All Marketing Channels Available To You.

You would need to have the right marketing strategy in place for your tailoring business. Your understanding of product marketing is an essential part of business success; it involves getting your products, to your market and overseeing its overall success; in this case, customers in your chosen niche.

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