According to Eleanor Roosevelt, everyone needs to learn from the mistakes of others because no one can live long enough to make them all. The same analogy applies to businesses, including fashion businesses. By learning from the challenges and ways in which older fashion entrepreneurs have been able to grow their brands into world-class brands, emerging fashion entrepreneurs can then do better.
Previously, we spoke with Atinuke Awobode of DressMyCloset and Temitayo Balogun of May Coutures, on how they were able to turn lack of specialization and low capital around respectively to grow their businesses. In this same light also, we sparked a conversation with Adewunmi Olowokande of the Dew Davies brand, and she had more than a few things to share with us as regards her challenges and breakthroughs in building a successful fashion brand.
Let’s get down to it!
Dew Davies And The Creative Director
Dew Davies is a renowned footwear and accessories brand that has been in existence since 2016, although the full transition to producing leather goods was done 2 years after. The fashion brand is owned by Adewunmi Olowokande, who is a fashion lover and enthusiast.
At Dew Davies, they stylishly design leather goods and accessories, ranging from footwear to bags, specially handcrafted in Nigeria.
How Was The Brand Birthed
Just like many entrepreneurs these days that follow their passion, either due to delay in school activities, or a gap year, Adewunmi Olowokande also had a similar experience. As a student in a Nigerian public university then, she wanted to keep her hands busy due to the strike action that caused the indefinite closure of public universities.
Her love for fashion and fashion-related crafts pushed her to learn how to design Ankara bags and accessories. After graduating from the university, she also discovered a gap in the leather goods industry.
How do we mean?
Adewunmi Olowokande noticed she could not readily get leather shoes and accessories of good quality in Nigeria. Because of her prior knowledge in the production of bags and other accessories, she decided to learn how to make leather products.
One thing that stands out in the Dew Davies story is how the founder was continually learning. She didn’t rely on previous knowledge alone to start her brand but instead sought more.
To be a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, both locally and internationally, you need to keep learning as a fashion entrepreneur.
Challenges Faced In The Dew Davies Journey, And How They Have Dealt With Them
Like all other fashion entrepreneurs in the footwear industry, Adewunmi Olowokande had the problem of sourcing good quality leather materials. Often, she was disappointed by sellers, which often led to a delay in production and delivery.
In dealing with this, however, after trying out several sellers, she discovered a particular seller in Mushin, who more often than not, had what she was looking for. So, sourcing all her premium quality leather materials from there helped her brand a lot.
For other locations where fashion entrepreneurs source for high-quality materials, click here.
Delivery to customer’s locations, especially international locations, posed another problem in the Dew Davies brand. And as she mentioned,
“Shipping our products outside Nigeria is usually a problem, as customers are not always willing to pay for the heightened prices in delivery.”
But, through the use of DHL, which is a shipping, tracking, and courier delivery service company, they have been able to solve that problem.
Apart from these, when Adewunmi Olowokande started her brand, she also had issues with funding. Funding and capital are essential factors before the start of any business as capital is used to purchase machines and resources required for your fashion business.
“I mainly needed capital to get the machines needed for production, such as filing machine, industrial machine for footwear and many more.” – Adewunmi Olowokande.
Through exhibitions and competitions, the brand owner was able to pull funds into the business. Working with social media influencers too has helped increase her target audience, and in turn, boosted sales.
For the Dew Davies brand, consistency, patience, steadily pushing out products, good content, as well as networking has helped them achieve immense recognition.
So, for emerging fashion entrepreneurs, keep learning, and never give up on your dream and passion, as someday it will all be worth it.