Temitope Idowu, a trained agricultural engineer, after years of searching for a job, decided to start a TIE Clothing business. In this interview with RUTH OLUROUNBI, she says being an entrepreneur is a learning curve, but glad she’s on the journey.
Can you tell me about your business?
The name of my company is Tie Clothing and Accessories. We deal in Adire fabrics popularly known as Tie and Dye. Adire is a well-known fabric in this part of the world and most commonly found in Abeokuta Ogun State. Our aim is to make it culturally attractive and trendy to the younger generation.
We make them and currently design them into tee-shirts, shirts, gowns and other wears. We make for individuals at present and hope to expand to organisations soon. We are also looking to expand into other areas such as accessories, foot wears, bags, etc. in the not too distant future.
Currently, all our works are been done from home and we have a reasonable size of the client base for a start-up business. The business currently has no staff base and I get support from my family in meeting up with deadlines on jobs.
What prompted you to start the business?
As a young child I loved working with my hands and excelled at the subject “fine arts” in junior secondary school which was where my first encounter with “Adire” happened but my test into senior secondary school passed me fit to go to the sciences.
Long story short did well in science class had a long bit of a delay but eventually got admission into the University, graduated with good grades but while in the University I knew age wasn’t in my favour and there were so many young graduates out there seeking employment so I honed my skills in sports analysis by working freelance in my then University radio station and also continued this while serving but I always secretly wanted to improve on my “Adire” skills.
Meanwhile, I kept summiting my CV in the hope of getting something before the end of service year but all to no fruition so as soon as I returned to Lagos I sought out a place to improve my “Adire” skills which I learnt for three months and here we are today working with my passions.
In what specific areas do you require support as an entrepreneur?
Mentoring and finance.
How exactly and what do you require for mentorship?
I’m not business savvy, yes I know little about balancing a book and the likes, but business these days has gone beyond that. So I need someone who is experienced who can put me through the new trends of doing things.
You’re currently combining journalism with your business, how do you manage your time and commitment?
It has not been easy but what I do for now is do my tying (clothing material) during the days when I’m at home and at night while I do the dying on my off days. It can be stressful but the joy of seeing beautiful designs makes it all worth it.
Tell me about your experience starting and growing a business.
It’s been a rough journey but I’m getting to understand the terrain. Also been a new business, people are often sceptical about you and the business. They are waiting for the first person to give you a try to be sure they want to patronise and even then they still want you to prove yourself.
What are the challenges of starting a business in Nigeria?
Personally, I would say it’s creating awareness for the brand and then funding to actually carry out the plans I have for the business.
You studied agricultural engineering in the university. Why did you choose entrepreneurship over that?
I was never really passionate about what I studied in school and in reality, if I had gotten a job in my field of study it would be to save up for my business.