The coronavirus pandemic took the world, and the fashion industry, by surprise. Businesses all around the globe struggled to survive and fashion entrepreneurs looked for ways to keep their brands afloat. In that period, many fashion brands had to shut down, but many remained strong and came out better, including the Jenie Noah brand.
We are excited about bringing you our new series: Covid Chronicles. Here, we focus on the journey of fashion entrepreneurs in different sectors and the different challenges and lessons they learned through the pandemic.
We are kicking off the new series with Jennifer Onuoha of the Jenie Noah fashion brand.
The Beginning of the Jenie Noah Journey
An Imo State University alumni and lover of fashion, Onuoha started her bespoke and bridal brand in 2018. The thought of being a fashion designer first came to her in secondary school when she couldn’t find any outfit that suited her style perfectly. She’d find loads of lovely outfits in the market but would always have to adjust them to her taste.
“I’d go to the market, see lots of lovely outfits, buy them, and find that I needed to make adjustments to them because they were either too short or exposing in other ways. I’d give them to the tailor to make certain minor changes and my sister would laugh at me because I was changing the style of the outfits.”Jennifer Onuoha
At this point, she decided to start making her own clothes the way she wanted them to be. Rather than settle for a lovely outfit that showed off too much, she decided to go for lovely outfits that are decent. After her university studies and NYSC, she worked for a year before quitting and launching out as a full-time fashion designer. Thus, being old enough to make her own decisions, she named her brand, Jenie Noah after herself.
The Inspiration Behind the Jenie Noah Brand
Jenie Noah is a bespoke, custom and bridal fashion brand. Its main target audience is young women, between the ages of 25 to 35 years old, who really love to slay.
Its creative director, Jennifer Onuoha, draws inspiration from anything and everything to make the brand’s product offerings. From colours to fabrics, anything could spur on the creative juices that make the brand what it is. The goal for the next 5 to 10 years is to make the Jenie Noah brand a global one. One that people will see and recognise immediately.
The Lockdown Period was an Eye-Opening one for the Brand
As many fashion brands struggled to get clients during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Jenie Noah was one of those brands that still saw an influx of customers. Since most of her clients were in church, Onuoha was able to stay in business at that time.
“Because of the nature of the pandemic, many physical gatherings stopped and there were hardly any weddings to attend. Since I make aso-ebi wears, I got concerned about sales dropping at that point so I decided to focus on making church clothes.”Jennifer Onuoha
However, it wasn’t until the lockdown began to ease that she saw the opportunities she had missed in that period. As one who wasn’t active online before and during the pandemic, she began to see how that affected the brand. Many other brands that had an active online presence had made lots of sales during the pandemic.
“The pandemic favoured many people and I would say it’s because they had an online presence. I’ve learnt that if you can get someone to trust your brand and the person behind it, you’ll always have customers.”Jennifer Onuoha
She realised how important having an online presence was. Unlike before, nowadays, customers trust online vendors a lot more. Since most people don’t want to leave their houses, ordering fashion items online has become the order of the day in fashion sales. She began to learn to get her customers to trust the brand without having met her physically.
Changes the Jenie Noah Brand is Making Going Forward
Now, due to the lessons she learnt from the covid period, she is putting her brand online more. This means posting photos and videos of its clothing items and customer reviews online.
“My main focus has been upping my online presence. Inasmuch as it is a struggle, I am trying my best to stay consistent with uploading content online.”Jennifer Onuoha
Another change she has made to her brand is keeping a very good contact list and staying in touch with her customers. This way, each customer knows that it can work regardless of anything that might come its way. So, in the event of another lockdown, it is ready to show its customers that they don’t have to give up on fashion.
Also, as the lockdown lifted, she decided to transform the brand from a business to a brand. This meant putting in a deliberate effort to grow the brand and funding it properly. As the brand progresses, she hopes to show off more beautiful and trending styles and to satisfy her clients always.
The pandemic taught lots of us lots of lessons. For Jennifer Onuoha, the biggest lesson she learnt was putting her brand online. Have you also upped your fashion brand’s online presence after the lockdown? Do let us know in the comments below.