Building a successful fashion business requires a lot of commitment, determination and hard work.
This week, we spoke with Mrs. Henrietta Olubunmi Agboola of House of Henri Ltd. and Ms. Peace Nwafor of NVP Fashion World on work ethics and how it has helped their business growth.
Mrs. Henrietta Olubunmi Agboola, who has been in business for over 20 years and has also been featured on the cover of Allure Vanguard magazine, is the CEO and Creative Director of House of Henri Ltd. House of Henri Ltd. is a fashion and tech company that aims to help, empower, educate and give people the tools they need to live their very best lives.
House of Henri has a string of businesses under it, which include; a Fashion and Art academy, which has trained over 4,000 people in various fashion related skills, an online school called Easylearncollege, which has trained over 600 people from various parts of the world on fashion and business skills, and 4 fashion lines, which are: TooshmeHenri (a ready to wear line that makes clothes for men, women and children), Garmentechnico (a bulk production line), 2gedaforever by House of Henri (a bridal line) and Nativepassion Shirts (a retail line).
Work ethic “is your perspective towards work and doing work diligently.” She said, “It means hard work, diligence, commitment, saying no to procrastination and putting 300% heart into what you are doing. It is putting in your very best.”
Ms. Peace Nwafor, a graduate of Yaba College of Technology, is the Creative Director at NVP Fashion World. The fashion brand which focuses on representing creativity and handmade skills, produces bags, dresses, footwear, accessories and many more.
For her, “Work ethic is the value you place on hardwork and discipline.” She believes that “such values can increase the productivity of your job/business.”
Work Ethics Every Fashion Entrepreneur Needs to Have
As a business owner, being a person of integrity is so important. When you promise a customer something, you have to deliver on that thing. You cannot afford to be lazy. It is better for you to under promise and over deliver i.e. give yourself more time than it’ll take for you to finish it then deliver long before the time you promised.
Let your word be your bond – Henrietta Agboola.
When you get a job, it is very important to start on it immediately and not wait till later because you might end up wasting time and not be able to deliver on time.
Every entrepreneur must learn to say NO to procrastination – Henrietta Agboola.
3. Great Packaging:
Both you and your items have to be very well packaged to attract the right customers. When you are excellent at what you do and your packaging is top notch, there is no way you won’t make sales. If you don’t know something, go and learn it even if it means paying for it.
For a fashion designer to be able to convince a client to patronised the brand, he/she must be well dressed to convince the client of the product. – Peace Nwafor.
4. Knowledge of Your Numbers:
Many fashion designers don’t know their numbers and this has led to misappropriating how much it’ll cost to finish an outfit. When the outfit is ready and they have spent much more than they told their client they will, a problem arises. As an entrepreneur you need to know your numbers.
As a business owner, there are times when you have to work with others who might have good ideas which are beneficial for your business. At times of collaboration like this, knowing how to work with others will take your business to higher heights.
It is so important to learn to be polite when addressing current or potential clients. A lot of fashion designers have lost great opportunities because they lack the right communication skills. Always learn to be polite.
I have won a contract worth N500,000 just from being polite and respectful to a client I met online who kept asking questions about the brand for over a month – Peace Nwafor.
Infusing the Right Work Ethics in Your Brand
To be able to successfully infuse the right work ethics into your brand, you have to:
1. Have a Positive Mindset. Having the right mindset towards things is important to get them done. In this current COVID-19 situation, you can either decide to see the negativity of things or look on the bright side of things – now you have time to reflect over your life and business.
When I start off the day confident, it is certain that I’ll end up making good sales or a good network – Peace Nwafor.
2. Always Expect a Good Result. When you do a job and you put in your time, effort and your best, you should expect it to turn out great. It might not always turn out right or be easy, but when you put your best in and you begin to see failure, keep being persistent and work towards seeing great results. Don’t give up.
The direction your life will move in is the direction of your most predominant thoughts – Henrietta Agboola.
How Having the Right Work Ethics can Help Build a Brand
When you are hardworking and diligent, it will bring you before people of eminence, important people and people who appreciate your work.
Because I put in my best, I have been able to attract royalty and the crème de la crème of the society – premium clients – Henrietta Agboola.
Difficulties that may Arise in Enforcing the Right Work Ethics
You know your business but your staff are not really concerned about it, their main concern is what they can get from you. Sometimes, your staff do not have the right attitude to work and don’t share the mindset you have, at times like this problems may arise.
When looking for staff members, let there be an intersection of sets, in the sense that, you have to look for those people that have the same mindset as you, then pitch your brand and what you have to offer them. Show and model to them that you are going the extra mile, when they see that you don’t take less than 100% they will sit up.
Consequences of Having Poor Work Ethics in a Fashion Business
There’s this thing called structure and having the right work ethics helps a brand to maintain structure. If your work ethic is poor, you will end up losing customers and referrals and ultimately being booted out of the industry.
Decide to be the very best version of yourself and you will begin to raise leaders and people willing to take their profession forward. Be a leader, raise leaders. Reproduce yourself – Henrietta Agboola.
Always remember that hard work pays and you need to believe in yourself to build a strong brand. Be willing to always go the extra mile. As you evaluate yourself and your business, look for what is not working and either cut it off or rearrange and readjust it, then increase on what is working.