Entrepreneurship is the future of prosperity —CEO, Radiant Couture
Aladejana Opeyemi is a bespoke fashion designer, NYSC accredited trainer, a fashion teacher and a certified public trainer for Technical College in Ibadan. In this interview with FAVOUR BOLUWADE, she speaks about her craft, the fashion industry, among other issues.
I run a fashion school and the name of my company is Radiant Couture. We make dresses and accessories. I have been in the business for over 10 years.
The inspiration behind fashion designing
I love fashion. I have passion for fashion and if I hadn’t ventured into this business, many people won’t forgive me. It is also a family business, in other words, my grandfather and father were designers but I am the only one who ventured into it among all their children.
My unique selling point
First thing to know is we are professionals. We run the business on two levels, we have a fashion school where we train youths and young graduates to become professional fashion designers. We are basically into pattern drafting and illustration. We are also designers of ready-to-wear dresses. For now we are focused on ankara but soon we would be working on lawyers’ ready-to-wear, we want a situation where any lawyer or judge can walk into our office and pick all their colours; black, grey, ash and white.
How I became a certified trainer for NYSC and a technical school in Ibadan
It is all God. I am one of NYSC’s Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development (SAED) trainers. It started when I used to walk into my PPA and Community Development Service (CDS) meetings when I was serving in 2015, and people would appreciate and compliment my dressing. So, I started teaching some of these people how to make clothes on request. I was later accredited by NYSC to keep training corps members in the state. I am a certified public trainer in the first Technical College in Ibadan. Getting this was God’s favour. I didn’t know who recommended me; I was just called to come down for the exam and interview and I was selected afterwards. So, my outfit is now affiliated with these bodies and a certificate is given through NYSC or Technical College to students at the end of their courses.
So far so good, I have been in the business for the past 10 years and to the glory of God, we have trained over 700 students and many of them are doing very well where ever they have found themselves.
How I have encouraged youths to participate in this business
Well, we are different from every fashion school in this state. We run the fashion classes like a real school, with outlines and course outlines; in pattern drafting and other courses. Students take notes, do practicals, write exams and have a certificate at the end of the programme. We also have principal instructors and assistants. We have sections for different stages of learning. We keep our environment neat and welcoming. We also make sure that we focus on each student’s need. Some would complain about how they registered in fashion classes and were not accomplished. But once they are with us, we basically follow them up and in two weeks, there is always a difference with us.
Challenges I faced when I started
It has not been easy; a startup company in Nigeria is not easy to build but with God on our side, our determination, passion, dedication and commitment, we have overcome many issues. We settled the challenge of publicity through social media handles we created. People who see our pictures appreciate our work and we got quite a number of students, not less than 30 outside Ibadan registered with us through this means.
How I combine my roles as CEO, public trainer, wife and mother
I always say it is God’s strength. I always tell people that when you have passion for something, there would not be any obstacle that will discourage you. I have passion for fashion so that made it easy for me to balance all my roles. Fashion and teaching fashion is a lifestyle so I enjoy doing what I do. I do not see it as stressful. And to God’s glory, my husband has been more than 100 per cent supportive.
Where I see myself in five years
I see myself walking on tjhe runway in London and on red carpets. I see myself being interviewed,. I see myself doing great things in the fashion world.
Advice for aspiring youths
Entrepreneurship is life. It is about solving people’s problems. If you want to make it in life, solve problems. Working for someone would not make a person a quick millionaire but being on one’s own and doing it excellently would hasten wealth. And after retirement, an entrepreneur has something to fall back on.