One of my childhood decision was to have a business that would produce something my family needed – Angela Okon
Few weeks ago, top comedian Alibaba shared the story of a young woman who made bespoke shirts for men, the post not only went viral but inspired several people , most especially youths who were still finding it hard as start-ups. 23 years old Angela Okon is the young woman he was talking about, a graduate of Accounting from Lagos State University who carved a niche for herself in the men’s fashion industry, as the creative director of Ikadi Shirts . According to Jane, being the only girl among three kids and the inability of her brothers to get ready made shirts inspired her to start her brand. She shares her story and aspiration with me in this inspiring interview
My mom was a business woman. So I grew up looking up to her. As a child, I had always known that I would be an entrepreneur and that made me pay close attention to my mom’s business. It was from there I got firsthand knowledge on how to run a business.
I’m 23 years old. I come from a family of three children of which I’m the only daughter. I love being different and doing things differently. Many people think I’m weird and sometimes I agree with them.
Inspiration behind Ikadi Shirts
Well it all started with a family problem. My mom found it impossible to get ready made shirts for my brothers. Apparently, we have very long hands and slim body in my family. So it was either the shirt was too big or the sleeve was too short. Then she decided to get a tailor to make shirts for them but the quality of the shirt was poor. As a result, I decided that shirt making will be my means to penetrate the fashion industry since this problem is faced by many. It’s not that there were no bespoke shirts brand before we started but we strive to meet a high standard while making it affordable for the customers. In this way, men no longer have to manage ready-made shirt that doesn’t fit all in the name of getting a quality shirt but now they can get a premium quality shirt that is made specifically for them.
Motivation to pitch my tent in the fashion world of men
One of my childhood decision was to have a business that would produce something my family needed so that they would never have to buy it elsewhere. Since I was passionate about fashion, I decided to go into men fashion so that my brothers and my dad would never have to buy clothes elsewhere. Another reason is that 98% of my friends are guys, I find it very easy dealing with men than with women which is probably as a result of my upbringing. So the men fashion industry was the perfect choice.
Power supply as a business Challenge
Closing deal with prospect outside Lagos is one challenge. We have to get the customer’s measurement before production but when they are outside Lagos, they would have to get a tailor to measure them then send to us. Some of them do this, while some don’t. As a result, we might lose that prospect. However we are working on resolving this issue. Another challenge is power supply but we all know that’s not new so I won’t discuss it.
Aside making bespoke shirts, we also run a blog that provides information on men style tips. You can check it out on www.ikaidiclothingblogspot.com
Customer satisfaction is my reward
The joy I see in the eyes of a satisfied customer. When a satisfied customer tells me how much he has spent on shirts that were of no good and how glad and relieved he is to have patronize the brand, this is the greatest reward. There’s no other joy that can be compared to knowing that you are making an impact.
In five years
In 5 years, we would cover the whole of Nigeria and Ghana.
Ever thought of giving up
No. Although, there were times I needed a break, but my mindset has always been “I die here no matter what “.
My mom is my inspiration. Though she’s is late, I have never met any woman as driven as my mom. She taught me a lot about hard work and the benefits of always being hungry, never settling for less.
Reception since I started
It has been positive all the way. No dulling moment. This gives me the conviction that I’m on the right path.
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