Would you rather make a mistake in your brand or learn from the mistakes of a similar brand to avoid them? Well, if we were to take a good guess, the latter option would probably be your choice.
As fashion entrepreneurs, it is very common to encounter challenges when building a brand. However, these mistakes can be avoided if other brand owners share their challenges as well, and how they have been able to overcome them.
Our Fashion Phoenix is designed exactly for that purpose. We speak to a range of fashion entrepreneurs regarding certain challenges and how they have been able to conquer them. This week, we spoke to Usman Adeyemi, the founder of Brand Us shoes regarding challenges around manufacturing and pricing in his brand, and it was very insightful.
Here are the gems he shared with us that would definitely be useful to you as a fashion entrepreneur in the industry.
About Brand Us Shoes
Brand Us Shoes is a bespoke footwear brand located in Lagos, Nigeria that creates specific footwears for customers based on their designs or already made designs. They cater for both men, women, and children, as their product offerings range from mules to loafers, sandals, and so much more.
The brand was founded by Usman Adeyemi, a graduate from the University of Ilorin who now runs both a footwear brand and a consultancy business. Running a brand and a consultancy business may not be a walk in the park for most people, but for Usman Adeyemi, it was quite easy.
“It’s not so difficult because I happened to be an accountant for over 5 years. So, with my experience both in accounting and my footwear brand, it has made the running of both seamless.”
How Brand Us Shoes Was Birthed
Back in 2015, Usman Adeyemi wanted to purchase a pair of shoes to look appropriate for the corporate world, so he approached a local cobbler, who is now the head of production at Brand Us Shoes, to design one for him.
“While I was at work, a colleague of mine asked where I got my shoe and I told him it was made by a local cobbler. After selling over 10 pairs of shoes and discussing with my good friend, he advised me to fine-tune the concept and make it into a business.” – Usman Adeyemi
Also, another reason why the brand was born, just like the brand owner shared with us, is because he discovered a gap in the market and he was opportune to have someone fill it.
One thing, however, that drives Usman Adeyemi daily is the fact that he would like more Nigerians to be known for organic businesses like these to be able to compete in the foreign market someday.
Design And Manufacturing
One unique thing about Brand Us Shoes is their design process. The concept of the brand is that the customers bring their designs, or select a particular design from their social media page, and request for it to be made.
Other times, customers may request a combination of different designs to be made into a particular footwear.
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15•11•20…. We can’t wait!!!! #ANovemberToRemember • • #BrandUs #definitionofbespoke #yourshoevendorsshoevendor #madeinnigeria #nigerianshoemaker #handmadeshoes #bespokeshoes #lagosshoemaker #lagos #surulere
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“Although we have our original designs, most of the products in our brand are based entirely on customer’s designs.”
This has also helped in the general creative process of the brand as some of their best selling footwear are made from mistakes of other designs.
Just like in other footwear brands, the processes involved in creating a typical footwear starts from drawing out the pattern, then cutting and sewing the parts that needs to be sewn. After this, the sole of the footwear is built, the lasting process is carried out and finally finishing.
In the entire design and manufacturing processes, there are certain challenges the brand faces and Usman Adeyemi delightfully shared these challenges with us, and how they have been able to move past them.
For fashion entrepreneurs that deal with quality leather and all other materials, material sourcing is usually an issue. For the Brand Us Shoes brand, most of their materials are either not readily available or they are quite pricey.
And, obviously, without the right quality materials, production cannot take place which leads to disappointed clients.
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#ANovemberToRemember ⏳⏳⏳… 15/11/2020!!!! • • Thanks to everyone who have patronized us so far! We are cleared ALL orders upto orders from 2weeks ago. Please if you haven’t received your order or gotten an update, kindly send a DM 🙏🏽…. Deliveries are currently ongoing and are done in batches. • • #BrandUs #definitionofbespoke #yourshoevendorsshoevendor #madeinnigeria #nigerianbrand #handmadeshoes #bespokeshoes
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However, sourcing quality materials from Mushin in Lagos has helped the brand to an extent.
“We take our challenges one step at a time. Regarding the material sourcing problem, we source what we can locally. Hopefully, we would be buoyant enough to travel out and source other things we need.”
Incorrect Size Specifications.
Occasionally, customers tend to send in the wrong specifications for their feet and this leads to problems, most times, in the brand.
“Talking about the problem of specification, sometimes, it is adjustable so we help adjust it. However when it’s not, there’s really nothing we can do, and this had led to problems.” – Usman Adeyemi
To avoid this now, the brand has put in place a size guide to help customers know how to correctly measure their sizes.
“Over time, we hope to get a bigger location where we can have customers walk in and actually have their feet measured.” – Usman Adeyemi
Pricing is a whole different aspect of a fashion brand and most times brand owners tend to place incorrect prices on their products, and this may eventually affect the brand.
Some of the footwears in Brand Us Shoes have a fixed price, for example, the mules, and the brand owner had this to say regarding that,
“I have been able to work out a model that is suitable for us, that’s why.”
However, one thing, amongst others, that was considered in this model was the cost of production.
“Sometimes, prices of materials fluctuate which makes the cost of production higher. On the other hand, because the prices also get to drop, we balance it out eventually. Sometimes, we even get better deals than expected, so that’s where we cover The excesses.” – Usman Adeyemi
For fashion entrepreneurs just delving into the fashion industry, Usman Adeyemi said,
“My advice would be: breathe, observe and implement. Make sure you find the problem but focus more on the solution.”
There would certainly be challenges, but being able to move past them and find a solution is what makes a fashion brand grow and stand the test of time.