‘Ease of doing business has to be evident, not just on paper’

Ruthie Bloom, CEO Of Bloomkids

Bloomkids, currently run as a trademark under Ruthie Bloom, is a unique brand of Afrocentric Kids clothing registered under the laws of Nigeria. The Managing Director/CEO of Bloomkids Ruth Ogbeide is passionate about expanding the African identity to wholesomeness and not just for special days or events.

In this interview, she explained how the organisation creates a learning space for kids and parents to understand that our culture and fabrics cannot be exotic to us as they have a robust array of designs for boys and girls in their blooming days up till 10 years of age.

What informed your choice of business?

Although I have been in the fashion business (ready-to- wear) for a while, but with the birth of my daughter, I wanted to style her in African design. The only available designs were the copy of adults’ and not entirely suitable or comfortable for kids. So, as a 21st century mom, I started by creating classy and cute designs for my 6 months old daughter. Before long I started gaining acceptance and getting demands from family and friends. And that is why at Bloomkids we say – We are inspired by moms and Loved by kids. With more structure and series of training on the business side of it and further training in designing kids clothing for style, comfort, and safety, Bloomkids was born!

In setting up your business, did you entertain any phobia?

I am quite shy … since kids clothing is fairly uncharted waters in Nigerian fashion world, a lot of effort was put into speaking and convincing people to gain people’s confidence in our outfits. It took a lot to learn and I am still learning. With the help of social media and our website (www.bloomkids.ng) the business has gone farther than me. Bloomkids is proudly Nigerian as all of our products are currently sourced from within the country, including the hands that convert them into masterpieces. We play our part in the #buynaija campaign, and offer you the chance to do the same by buying from us.

What has been the biggest challenge of running a business as a woman?

It is a privilege and a burden to run a business. The fact that you have some value to share with your community and staff is a very big opportunity; bearing in mind that the responsibility to set good examples while being responsible for the welfare of your staff is huge. Today, being a woman does not make running business any different. I personally think that being a woman opens doors to greater heights.

What are the unique factors that set Bloomkids apart?

At Bloomkids, we pride ourselves in the quality of thinking, care and due diligence that goes into every single product. We aim to be an international brand and we hold ourselves to international standards. As the world shrinks into a global marketplace, and the boundaries of culture grow thinner, we aim to be champions of the African dream, showcasing African beauty to children and parents globally. Our out of the box collection are top-notch and trendy. At Bloomkids, we take great caution in selecting our fabrics such that they do not fade or shrink. For this reason, we buy majority of our fabrics directly from the stores of recognized brands.

What are the key elements to building a sustainable business?

Clarity in Vision and Purpose:  the dream has to be clear. It is the guiding light to your destination. Teamwork: you cannot walk alone and building a formidable team is crucial for executing the vision. Persistency: Once the vision is clear do not be discouraged by the storms that will come. Learn from it and Keep at it. Frugality: Managing the economies of business is tough. It is important money is spent efficiently and sustainably

The narrative is really changing, as there seems to be more women in the boardroom and business than in the kitchen; what is your take on that? 
In the Battle of the Sexes II (1973) the events showed clearly that there is absolutely no superiority in gender in terms of physical and mental strength. The moment you can devote the time, skill and sacrifice, you become unstoppable as long as you believe in yourself regardless of your gender! I’ll sincerely advise Nigerian women to stay true to who they are. Believe and walk in your own truth.

What can government do differently to help enterprise development?

The Ease of Doing Business has to be evident and not just on paper. The ripple effect of importing raw material or even the scarcity of genuine products is crippling. The moment this factor of production is no longer scarce, entrepreneurs can achieve their aim efficiently with less friction.

Projections for Bloomkids in the next five years:
In the next couple of years, we intend to foster formidable partnerships across Africa. Expand the range of our design collections to become more suitable for all seasons. Create home-grown prints that are kid-centric and increase the value and standards of essential team players in the business.

What is the driving force in view of the charity event you organized last year?

Oh… that is part of what Bloomkids is all about. If each outfit has love in every stitch, it only shows how much love we must share. Like I said earlier, the company has the responsibility to give value, it is not until you make huge profits before that is done. So, we BLOOM and SHARE a smile.

With an attendance of about 400 children under the age of 15, the feeling was surreal, and it was an outstanding success. That outreach inadvertently gave birth to Bloomkids Foundation, where a percentage of profit from each outfit goes to.

In this article:
BloomkidsRuthie Bloom
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