Emerging Fashion Brands to know: Adire Biz Hub

I had the opportunity to have an interview with Mabel Sontan, a grand awardee from the British Council Creative Enterprise Fashion Technology Support Program in year 2020, an adire guru and the founder of the Adire Biz Hub. This brand has the primary aim to create and showcase culture to the global world.

There is so much to love about Adire, the vibrant color, the fact that it screams culture makes it so appealing. Let’s get to meet Mabel

Mabel Sontan

Kindly tell us about yourself

Mabel Sontan is the Founder of Adire Biz Hub. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. She is the Teams operations lead at Adire Biz Hub, an e-commerce community for indigenous & sustainable Hand dyed textile, bridging the gap between adire textile producers and the global market, and also offering virtual trainings on the craft and empowerment trainings in the rural communities. She is an Alumni of the prestigious Style Temple Fashion Academy, Abuja, Nigeria. Mabel was a Grant awardee at the British Council Creative Enterprise support program in Year 2020, and also has a certificate from the Creative Class 3.O, a creative enterprise accelerator curated by the Assembly Hub.

Mabel founded Adire Biz hub to create a technology platform showcasing the African culture to the global world.

When did you start your fashion business, how long have you been in business and what inspired your interest?

I started my Fashion designing career generally in Year 2014, and then formally kickstarted my Textile designing brand: ADIRE BIZ HUB in 2019. Interestingly, my first set of adire fabrics were a gift from my mother in law popularly known as ‘iya lola’, who is from Ogun state, Nigeria. She gave them to me as a seed capital towards my existing fashion business. My quest for the Adire textile grew further when I sold out on all of the fabrics even without much publicity and this fueled my passion for it even
more as I went on for professional training in the production and textile designing. My interest has grown increasingly over the years in African indigenous prints, i love the creativity, the uniqueness and it’s a way of me being patriotic to my roots.

Tell us about your brand, how does your brand stand out from other fashion brands in Nigeria?

The Adire Biz Hub Brand is a premium brand that focuses on promoting indigenous and sustainable hand dyed designs/clothings and also an e commerce community for other adire producers to trade, exclusively for all things made of Adire; from fabrics to finished clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, gifts items, corporate outfits, party uniforms(asoebi), souvenirs, furniture pieces. etc
We also offer trainings in Adire hand made craft and empower rural communities thereby eradicating poverty and harnessing decent work and earnings.

What has been a major challenge for you as a fashion entrepreneur in Nigeria?

As a Nigerian Fashion Entrepreneur, my major challenges range from initial inadequate business support & funding, rising cotton and power costs, frequent power cuts and high cost of logistics.
These have impacted greatly on textile production leading to high cost of
production of our handmade pieces.

How have you been able to develop your fashion business in Nigeria despite the challenges which you have faced?

When i started out without adequate finance, i used bootstrapping method to raise capital(fund raising from self & family) and along the way, emerging as one of the top 5 finalists in the CESP by British Council in 2020 gave Adire biz hub a huge boost as we were able to stabilize our business with the Grant and enormous business support from the 12 months program. This has been helping us to network and find areas to minimize costs through strategic partnerships, collaborations and overall business management.

What do you love about being a fashion entrepreneur?

The ability to create opportunities and sell them is simply priceless. I can solve problems and work where i like. I also appreciate the gift of developing and selling products and services which i love. One fantastic thing about being in the textile industry and especially designing adire is the creativity, it keeps running, every design is a story, and rarely are two designs exactly the same. Awesome ,isnt it?

What are your hobbies?

Volunteering, movies, organizing surprise sprees, artistic activities{painting & graphic design}

Has your design ever been copied/ duplicated and how did you feel about it?

Oh yes a couple of times, this is one of the pros of having most of our marketing done online. What we do is to watermark special designs before posting online but we are aiming at protecting and copyrighting our exclusive designs in the nearest future.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs who are interested in running a fashion business and don’t know where to start from.

Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of work, a lot of vision and perseverance. Start from where you are, get superior knowledge/training in the area you are interested in, get close mentors in the industry and kick start with just what you have, while planning to advance gradually. Consistency and patience is needed greatly!

shop with Adire Biz Hub.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *