Although business owners make certain mistakes while building or running their brands, some of these mistakes would have been easily avoided if only they knew better. Likewise, in the fashion industry, where there are many fashion brands and businesses with similar goals and missions, emerging and upcoming fashion entrepreneurs can learn from the experience and mistakes of older entrepreneurs, to avoid them.
Our Fashion Phoenix column is designed to acknowledge and learn from the mistakes of some of these entrepreneurs, to help upcoming fashionpreneurs in industry. Just like Atinuke Awobode of DressMyCloset shared on how lack of specialisation affected her brand, Simisola Sogbesan also shared on how bad delivery services affected her brand in the beginning.
Stay with us as we take you on this Phoenix journey of the Hafsat Signatures brand.
Hafsat Signatures And Its Founder
Hafsat Signatures is a fashion brand that produces durable and highly functional bags for young, ambitious professionals to help keep their work life organised by keeping their gadgets safe and tidy. Some of their products include laptop bags, backpacks, and handbags, all made with African fabrics such as ankara, adire, aso-oke and many more.
“Our mission is to keep the Nigerian culture alive by creating durable and functional products that are made with locally sourced materials.” – Simisola Sogbesan.
The fashion brand is owned by Simisola Sogbesan, an Architect and Fashion Creative who is passionate about celebrating the culture of Africa through her impeccable designs and products. She has gained recognition since she started as she was nominated for Nigeria’s 25 under 25 Awards, and was the winner of the Seed Invest Project Grant.
How The Brand Was Birthed
Working a 9-5 job Simisola noticed from, personal experience, a gap in the market for functional and highly durable work bags. She once had a terrible experience where her laptop crashed due to the lack of water resistance that her bag had at the time.
“I birthed Hafsat Signatures after this experience for people like me, who had to move their valuables and gadgets from different points regardless of the weather constraints. So, I did a lot of market research and found out there was actually a gap for it in the market.” – Simisola Sogbesan.
Also, her love for colours inspired the role in which African fabrics play in the brand. She realised that many fashion accessory brands don’t work with African print fabrics, so in a bid to make Hafsat Signatures unique, she incorporated that idea.
Challenges And Breakthroughs In The Hafsat Signatures Story
1. Sourcing For Quality Materials
In the fashion industry, one of the major problems entrepreneurs have is sourcing for good quality materials. When a fashion brand delivers products with low quality or low durability, customers lose trust in them and stop patronising.
However, they have been able to correct this challenge as they have a seller in Lagos that delivers good quality African prints as well as the denim and other contemporary materials used to make the products.
As a fashion entrepreneur, finding a good vendor to purchase high-quality materials from is very key.
The importance of delegation in a fashion brand cannot be overstated. Asides from the fact that it helps the founder to divide the work and allocate to subordinates, it also helps to reduce their workload so they can focus on more important aspects of the business.
“It took me a very long time to delegate tasks, as I thought I could do everything on my own, but I know better now.” – Simisola Sogbesan.
Now, she allocates tasks to different members of a team, and outsource other ones if need be.
3. Delivery Services
Having a reliable delivery service or system is important in running a fashion brand. Delivery services that can be trusted to deliver when due should be factored when building a brand.
“As at last year, I had numerous issues with delivery companies. But now, I’ve been able to partner with someone I can trust to properly and efficiently handle our deliveries from now onwards.” – Simisola Sogbesan.
Things That Have Helped The Hafsat Signatures Brand Blossom
Asides from the design and creativity needed to start a fashion brand, other skills are needed to make the brand flourish. Just like Simisola shared with us, she had to attend numerous events and training on skills surrounding marketing, video editing, content creation, product photography, and many more.
“Before I started Hafsat Signatures, I decided to take a lot of training. From how to take perfect pictures, to running Instagram ads, even writing good content. As a result I spent a lot of money to learn what was needed, because when it comes to learning new and beneficial things, I’m always very interested.” – Simisola Sogbesan.
As a fashion brand owner, it is always good to invest in training, seminars and events that would help scale the growth of your brand and aid personal growth.
On a final note, Simisola Sogbesan had this to say,
“Entrepreneurship is not easy but at the end of the day, it is always satisfying. Basically, whatever you do, do not quit. There would be challenges definitely but there will always be a way to solve them.”
To see how non-paying customers affected Temitayo Balogun of May Coutures at the beginning of her successful fashion brand, click here.