Since the coronavirus pandemic became a global catastrophe, leaving everything spreadeagled in its wake, human lives and all that concerns humankind are never the way they used to be.
Many lives have been lost, businesses have been shut down and there’s seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel as the world continues to grapple with the deadly virus and its devastating effects. Even the world’ biggest economies are on their knees and the meltdown has left nothing unscathed. Every known business to man has all gone under.
Every industry; aviation, oil and gas, manufacturing, science and technology and even the fashion industry have all felt the impact of the pandemic. Every business owner has a story to tell and Nseobong Akpan, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ‘Beunique’ clothing line has her own story to tell.
Speaking with Tribune Online about her ordeal at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, she disclosed that the pandemic almost ruined her business and she incurred high losses.
Hear her: “During the early phase of the virus, I had placed large volume orders that cost several millions of naira from China, so when the factories shut down and government restricted importations, I lost so much that I hate to think about it till date. One of my top suppliers died a week after I had made payments for goods.”
“The setbacks made me travel down to Turkey to shop and ship down in person. That was when the full wave of the pandemic hit. I was in Turkey for several months, shipments were delayed again and I couldn’t come back home either, it was really tough. Our offline store was shut for months and all people thought about then was surviving and not dresses,” she added.
Beyond the pandemic, the brain behind the Beunique fashion brand also highlighted some of the challenges bedevilling the fashion industry, citing the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar as the major clog in the wheel of their business.
“One major problem to me is the value of our Nigerian currency. It’s practically $1 to N500 and that makes trading really expensive. N5 million right now is of no value to business people who ship in large volumes as even the cost of shipping down products are unbelievable. I think the government can start from there if they want the local fashion brands to survive,” she said.
Coming from a small city in Akwa Ibom State, Nseobong Akpan came to Lagos to make her dreams a reality. As a beautiful woman, she had always been in love with fashion and she instinctively knew from an early stage in her life that her future lies in fashion because she loves looking good and making others look good.
“Our growth rate to me is something I am forever grateful for. As a young girl from a really small city that came to this huge city of Lagos with nothing but dreams and determination, I’ll say I’m proud to have achieved all I have as it’s not been easy at all. From a small room in Jakande with less than one thousand followers to a massive store in Oniru Estate in less than four years, she said.
Nseobong Akpan is an entrepreneur as well as a brand influencer. Apart from running her brand wholeheartedly she consults for other fashion brands and individuals. She also does styling privately.
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