Simire Tijesuni, the CEO of Wurafadaka Global concept, a fashion designing company with a digital platform that provides alluring fashionable clothes and shoes across Africa and Europe. In this interview with ADEKUNLE SULAIMON, he speaks on his entrepreneurial voyage and why he is passionate about wealth creation for youths in Nigeria.
When was your business established and how did you come by the brand?
It started in 2014, my mother is a fashion designer, and it was through her I saw the possibility of building a global brand. By the time I was in 300level in University of Ilorin, I decided to nurture the business part of me which I took from my mother knowing full well that my course of study –Religions- might not take me to my desired pinnacle. While, I was growing, she carried me along in the varieties of the business she does. Although, The quest to become a man and take up responsibilities led me into establishing Wurafadaka clothing.
What motivated your interest in fashion?
I was in a very tight corner financially at some point back then as an undergraduate, and I didn’t want to put my financial weight on my family while in school knowing full well that others might have problems they are dealing with. I did many things before the fashion idea came in but they were without future prospects. Then, a sensational motivational speaker spoke at one of JCI’s program that I attended during my university days. He said “Everything you need to move forward is around you, look closer.” It was that word for me; I began to look closer asking myself “What do I really have?” Then God revealed my strength. I remembered that my mum is a designer? And I also have a good fashion sense which I got from managing the few outfits I have as a young man. These were the few things that made me see light in the fashion industry.
How many years of experience do you have and how did you come buy the knowledge?
Wurafadaka clothing will be 6 years in a few months, and the bitter truth is that, I cannot sew, I can only sketch designs, coordinate and sell, I am more of a thinker. When I initiated the Wurafadaka clothing idea, I collaborated with Student designers on campus who sew excellently after a thorough examination. While I do the sketching and bring the clients, they render their services by sewing and get handsomely paid in return. Nobody had the idea that I wasn’t the one making the dresses because I had my brand name on all of the clothes. In all honesty, I have always been a middleman in the deals.
How did you come by the name Wurafadaka?
It first started when I noticed that the sense and taste for caftan, Ankara alike are growing amongst people, especially the students on campus. I took it upon myself to lure them to give me money to buy them clothing materials while I measure and take them to my designers. They were so happy that the outcome were good and the stress, less free. So, this propelled me to create Wuradafaka online fashion store.
Are the designs you make unique to you or are they inspired from what you see somewhere?
Most of my designs are inspired while some were created out of already existing styles by other notable designers. I know that I will make a bad designer if I try to sit on the machine to sew because it is really not my thing.
What do you think are the necessary skills needed to be acquired by a fashion designer?
In this 21st century that people’s fashion has grown beyond common designs and styles, knowledge and excellence are Siamese languages for more sales in the fashion industry, it is not enough to just know how to sew, you must know how to sell too, you must know what resonates with your target audience. The use of social media to push your fashion ideas cannot also be deemphasized. We have an e-catalogue that have varieties of clothes and designs for our customers to make their choices.
As a fashion designer in diasporas, how do you get across to people willing to make dress in Nigeria or elsewhere?
Teamwork, collaboration and excellence are our capital. We have a good management structure. Everyone in our team has individual roles to play towards the growth of the company. We have a very wide range of network in Nigeria and beyond which we leverage on. I control everything from here, we have collaboration with dispatch and courier services across the world and we make sure that we reach out to many people, even intending clients on social media platforms with quality pictures and videos to sell our products.
What roles do fashion play in reshaping societal upheavals?
I have made people in my society realize that they can do many things; I Have trained over 300 people through my fashion university to create wealth. I have made them realize that fashion is one of the basic necessities of life. I am contributing my quota to the economic situation of the country to ensure that job scarcity is curbed to the barest minimum. I am also contributing to the country’s GDP by paying my tax. My brand is a platform that has voice to correct youths in engaging in illicit businesses.
What are your major challenges as a 21st-century stylist?
Due to our goal of perfection, we are trying as much as possible to give a permanent solution to sizing (measurements). Especially for clients who are in places where our offices are not located yet. We also usually have issues with materials and fabrics. Some materials go out of season yet some clients still want them.
You are planning to venture into shoes production too, how do you think you can balance and grow it like your clothing line?
The shoe brand will serve as a complimentary brand for our customers. Having partnered with a shoe company in Italy and Egypt, I am confident that we will get something exquisite. In the past years, most of our clients request for shoes and some of them actually get disappointed with the ones we recommend to them. Interestingly, they have more confidence in us to deliver excellent products despite knowing that we haven’t started. This action helps us to keep loyal to them since we are now responsible for 80 per cent of their clothing. Hence, as the clothing brand is growing, we are confident that the shoes brand will ride on its wing too.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Franchising. I want to sell my name. Go into real estate and some other businesses. I tie my age to set goals. By then, I should be 37 exploring my brands in several nations of the world.
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