With no precise data on the size of the Nigerian market, the apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be worth USD 31 billion while the global apparel market is valued at USD 3 trillion. The Nigerian fashion industry is currently booming. The country hosts about half a dozen fashion week events annually, more Nigerian designers have become known figures at international fashion events with their designs gracing fashion events in New York, Johannesburg, Monaco, Milan, and the likes.
This boom has become an attraction, as many Nigerians now aspire to be fashion designers. Social Media platform, Instagram has further made the business more classy and given many an opportunity to show their works.
You too can be part of the teeming fashion designers in Nigeria, and we’re here to help.
Here are key steps to take in order to break into the Nigerian fashion industry:
1. Get experience
Before you take this step, ask yourself if fashion is what you have love and have passion for. Ensure you’re not doing it just because the fashion industry looks attractive. If you’re sure that this is what you want to do, then get the needed experience.
Fashion design training abound in Nigeria. Find yourself one and get adequate training. You can also make yourself available for apprenticeship in any tailoring shop around the county. As you gather experience, begin to create designs for family and friends and showcase for people to begin to notice you.
2. Do your research
Before you choose to begin your own fashion design business, ensure you do a lot of research. Know how much it would cost yo to start your own business, best location. Do you need to acquire a license before you begin? What are kind of designs would work best for you?
If you can, get mentorship training on how to run a business. Appropriate research would ensure that you don’t begin and end up closing shop.
3. Know your target customers
There are countless number of niches in the fashion industry. It’s not advisable to make design for everybody. Choose an audience, be it women, men or kids. When you pick your audience, go on to choose what kind of clothes you’ll be designing for them.
You could focus on men’s suits or women’s casual. This would set you as a go-to-person for a particular design.
4. Do your marketing
Social media is helping us spend less on marketing. A platform like Instagram is particularly helpful. Get models or use your friends to showcase your designs, then post it on social media. Someone who sees this and loves it would definitely give you a call.
When you design for customers, ensure you encourage them to take a picture, post on social media and mention you. The fashion business is not one that needs the billboard or television kind of advertising. Social media works perfectly.
5. Build a network
Building a network is one of the most crucial assets in business. You don’t have to rely on what you know. Get close to industry leaders through fashion events, seminars and conferences. Join a group of like-minds, like the Fashion Design Association of Nigeria. This would give you opportunity to meet and share ideas with best minds in the industry, and would enable you know about latest trends in your industry.
6. Be unique
This is the most important of all. Assume, someone new comes int the fashion industry and with marketing, everyone gets to see a totally different design that no Nigerian has created. What would be the outcome? People would pay attention to him/her, and within few months, his/her story would be all round the media.
This is what happens when you keep innovating, and staying unique.
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