The movie and fashion industries have no doubt made Nigeria an international icon everywhere in the world by the popularity of artistes dragged to our movies; via African Magic televisions and generating of funds for both the youths and the country at large.
In this interview with a fashion designer, a movie producer, a wife and mother, Joy Chico Ejiro; she tells her story on how she has been able to juggle all these four without breaking a sweat.
It started way back in the University days when l needed to make more money to make ends meet. I am from a family of ten. I lost my daddy early in life and my mother couldn’t take care of us. So, I was into hawking of food stuffs, selling of soft drinks among others.
After leaving Secondary School; l joined my elder sister in Lagos state who wanted me to attend University of Lagos, Unilag, for my University programme. On campus, l would carry my wares from one door step to another. I helped my classmates sell wears they wanted to dispose of and l also discovered my love for fashion and l explored it full time. I was still in the fashion business when l met my husband, l discussed it with him after the marriage and the rest is history.
While building my fashion business, l added costumes which is also an aspect of fashion. It was easy to develop the costume part of the business because l am married to an artiste because the market was readily available. And that was another avenue to showcase my fashion skills. So l started producing costumes for his movies and some other movies.
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As a costumer, it would have been easy embarking and producing all the costumes needed in movies but l thought that there should be division and diversity. So l stuck to producing only English costumes and leaving the epic costumes to its experts.
My journey in the business
I started with fabrics. I was getting a lot of fabrics for my business until President Obasanjo banned importation of foreign fabrics. He said that we should look inward. Then l traveled abroad, l changed the settings of the shop. I started buying Silk fashion. I would travel to Istanbul, America to get Silk for my fashion business.
At some point, the ban was lifted and the whole place opened. I came back again to Fabrics. I was just designing; l would give the fabrics to Tailors to bring my designs to life and l was always getting disappointed because they never kept to their promises of timely delivery. I was advised by a friend to get sewing machines and sit in my shop and employ tailors who would work solely for me. I took the advice and that birthed this fashion home. We have been in the fashion business for 15 years; we added the sewing arm, only four years ago.
What has kept me in spite of all…
Like l said, l discovered l had passion for fashion and l went in depth, but it was not always rosy and it is not so rosy still. I have always said that what keeps a man going even through challenging times is the passion for what he is doing. So in my case, in spite of all the huddles l saw and l am still holding on because there is this beautiful feeling that comes into me when a customer goes home satisfied.
to customer loyalty
Where l see my fashion business in 10 years
Honestly speaking, l do not know where my fashion business would be in 10 years time because l am not God, but l believe with God on my side it would still thrive in 10 years time.
Advice to business women
My advice to women or to people considering a trade is to stick what comes easily to you. Stick to your passion. It is one thing to do business; another thing to do what you enjoy doing. It is so because when the chips are down; it is what you are passionate about that would keep you going. Not what someone advised you on.