I had the great privilege to be among the panelist at the Fashion Finest Africa Conference this weekend which was on “how brands can take their brands from the catwalk to the high street store. In the long panel discussion, it was made clear that even with the great development in the fashion industry, there is still massive room for improvement and progression.
The industry has moved from the “so you want to be a tailor” point to the “what fashion school do want to attend” even with the general acceptance of the Nigerian Fashion industry by the “African Parent” who would prefer a safe profession like medicine or I don’t know, medicine and the general reception by the citizens of the world. the industry is still lagging behind in achieving its full capacity. I really don’t like dwelling on the problems of situations, so I will randomly mention” the problems” and state what I consider to be suitable solutions. My fashion enthusiasts gather here, if you have a better solution, do well to drop a comment, let’s take the industry to the next level. The industry like the movie and music industry is very glamorous but with all the glam and high-tech spotlights. There is the need for the behind the scene work and even in the creation of the ‘behind the scene’, there is the need for strategic planning.
With the constant growth in the industry, fashion houses, companies, schools have been created. In the city of Lagos, the very best fashion shows in Nigeria are held, The Heineken Lagos Fashion Show, The Arise Fashion show which had one of the worlds best model on the runway, Naomi Campbell, The Fashion Finest Africa Show, the Africa Fashion Week and so many. The industry is constantly improving, with all these improvements, there are areas which need immediate attention in order for the industry to have a better structure, these areas include the fashion business, legal, managerial, educational system which was all discussed at the just concluded Fashion Finest Africa Epic Show at the Conference.
The fashion business system.
In as much as the industry might seem all glitzy, there is a valuable business aspect, which will determine the growth of brands in the industry. in determining what your brand would amount to, it is essential to have a short- and long-term business plan which will serve as a guide for your brand and as times goes by, updates can be made based on the new goals which you have. The business area like the areas aforementioned are too vital to be ignored. In managing your brand, you need to implement the following a marketing, sales, branding strategy, in working on this aspect, you will understand the need of having an accountant, if you don’t an accountant, you need to work with one to make sure the figures look good.
The fashion legal system.
It might seem easier to run your business without protecting it but note this everything that has value requires protection including your start up company or the soon to be multi-national fashion company you intend to own, so make sure you secure the bags(Money) by doing the needful required by the law. You can protect your brand through contracts, intellectual property law and the protection through the registration of your business as a legal entity.
The Managerial System
As a fashion entrepreneur, it is a fact that you would work with a number of professionals, tailors, designers, editors, marketers, lawyers, distributors, stylists, models. Create a suitable management structure for your business which would contain how you would maintain relationships with people that work with you and those that work for you. Also, it is primary to be clear on how your brand would treat clients and build customer relations. A lot of start up brands ignore this and just go with the flow but in relating with people and managing your employees, it is primary to be deliberate about the steps you take.
The Educational system.
The Nigerian fashion Industry has great potentials and for it to reach its maximum potentials, it is primary that provisions are made for adequate training, trainings on production, on the business management and so on. As humans we learn every day, as a fashion entrepreneur, it is primary to take up trainings that would improve your skills, give you a better understanding about how to take your brand to the next level.
In order to make the Nigerian fashion Industry even better than it is, it is imperative that all these systems aforementioned are taking into consideration in running fashion brands. You have your part to play in building your brand and it is also important that you know when to bring professionals in, it is okay to work with people, working with others have a way of making things better. There is a room for massive improvement and we need to take these steps in order to get to where we need to be.