Every week, we talk to Nigerians around the world about money and how they make it.
This week features Oyinda, the lawyer and fashion designer behind the dresses that can be styled in multiple ways. She shares how a random decision to create a top out of her mother’s scarf led to the start of her fashion brand, and her plans to take a gap year from law to focus on her brand.
She also talks about how she gets customers, her plans to start budgeting in 2022, and relocating for her service year.
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Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I studied law at Afe Babalola University, attended the Nigerian law school in Lagos, and am now a lawyer.
I design dresses, it’s like my safe space; It is one thing that kept me company when there was nothing going for me, it helped me expand my creativity, and my personal style, it gives me the opportunity to tell people what to wear and show them how to wear it.
Having a brand also gives me the opportunity to see my dress on someone while they’re looking so gorgeous and I can proudly say that “I did that”. What people wear matters a lot because it gives so much confidence and I want to play a part in ensuring people feel their best when they step out every day.
Love it. How did you get into fashion design?
It was more of a random situation. I was at home this very day and was quite bored, then I decided I was going to take some pictures but I wanted something new to wear and since it wasn’t planned I decided to make something with one of my mum’s scarves I found.
I made a top which turned out pretty great based on the fact that I had never done anything like that before and the next day I tried out another design and kept going and now I’m here, still going.
Seeing that I could do that was inspiring even for me and I took extra efforts to learn more and do more and also expand and turn it into an actual brand.
Wow. That’s really inspiring.
Are you currently practicing law as well? How do you balance doing both your job and managing your brand?
I just became a lawyer this year and I’m currently serving at a real estate company for my NYSC placement. It’s not exactly easy because I was doing this even while I was still a student and the lockdown was actually when I had time to focus majorly on the brand which led to all of these.
I personally believe doing the two together limits my productivity because I have less time but soon I’m hoping to have a gap period to focus only on design.
A gap year. Sounds like a plan. Your brand received so much love on social media during the lockdown, did that help you gain a lot of customers? And how else do you get customers?
Yes it really did . Also get customers from my contacts on WhatsApp, friends, family, referrals as well and I’ve started exploring the use of ads on Instagram.
What was the inspiration behind creating pieces that can be worn in multiple ways?
I don’t actually remember exactly how it started but I remember feeling like a design wasn’t perfect and I had an extra piece of fabric so I added it and it looked like a different dress then I realized maybe I could keep both styles then two styles turned into four because I kept trying it and somehow it just became a thing.
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How do you determine prices for your pieces?
Well the material cost, production cost, profit, and production value. So I have to put all these into consideration before setting a price
What challenges have you faced so far running a fashion brand in Nigeria, if any?
Mostly deliveries/ dispatch rider issues and also getting materials directly so I can always have enough quantity I need for a particular material. But I doubt there are any factories in Nigeria that do this (from what I’ve learned, not entirely sure).
Oh, I get that. It must be really frustrating.
What are you currently working on?
Preparing for the new year, actually. Just rounding up for the year at the moment and we will be closing soon.
We’ll take the period to work on creating a better and more exciting brand and designs and general outlook of the brand.
Sounds exciting. What’s your money habit like?
I’m trying to save more and spend less.
I don’t keep a budget but will hopefully start doing that by the new year. That’s my resolution.
What’s something you spent money on recently that has improved the quality of your life?
A tv, I think. lol. I recently relocated due to the NYSC placement, so I got a new place to live which is why it’s a tv.
Days are usually stressful so I’m glad I can just go home and watch a show or something while just trying to regain the energy I lost during the day in my own apartment.
That’s a big win. Love it. What advice do you have for anyone just starting out a fashion brand but still figuring it out?
It’s not going to be an easy ride and they should always trust in themselves no matter what. Trust your ideas and believe in yourself so hard that even when you’re at your lowest, you still have something going on for you.
What’s an annoying expense you wish you never had to spend money on?
😂 Relatable. What’s your dream financial superpower?
To be able to save more.
You can also reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your story too.