‘We design fabrics for men and women of style’
Kemi Lumous and Bisola Olukoya are sisters whose flair for fashion knows no bounds. They are the owners of KB Fabrics located at Tajudeen Olarenwaju Estate, Yaba, Lagos. One might wonder why Kemi, a graduate of Law from Ogun State University (Now Olabisi Onabanjo University) and Bisola, a University of Lagos Chemical Engineering graduate left there nine-to-five jobs for fabric designing.
Bisola was quick to inform that it was borne out of passion because their mum was into buying and selling of fabrics and also designs fabrics. “We saw her thrive in the business. Whenever we are on holidays from the University, we help her deliver fabrics to clients in different parts of the country and some African countries like Ghana, Togo and so on. This has exposed us to the way things are done.”
She continued: “After graduation, we worked for a while and decided to go into fabric designing in 2014 when our mum was very ill and I lost my husband the same year. My elder sister, Kemi, suggested the idea and I bought into it because we thought of advancing the business. We did a lot of research together with the contacts our mum gave us before she passed away in the same year, and we started KB Fabrics. We didn’t want to do the regular kind of fabrics and we thought of how to build our brand and add unique touch to fabrics to make them stand out. People always come to us to advise them on what to wear and how to combine colours.”
Kemi added: “We’ve always had a flair for fashion. We thought of something we love and make money from as well. Someone said follow your passion, be focused and the money will come. Though we faced some challenges, but we managed to pull through. We don’t make outfits for people but design fabrics, buy and sell for people to sew. Getting our brand out there was quite tough for us. We used social media platforms to push it out and it helped greatly.”
Bisola informs that the name of the outfit was coined from the initials of their names (Kemi and Bisola). “Our mum fondly called us K and B. So, we added fabric to it because we trade in fabrics. As fabric designers, we are generally in tune with the arts and use our talents to create designs on fabrics and sell to those who need them. A fabric designer must have a proper understanding of the fashion world, colours and be creative. Our siblings have been very supportive because they understand our vision and run along with it.
“When we go to manufacturers to pick colours and patterns, we are always excited because that is what we love to do. Whenever we see the outcome of the fabric, it gives us so much joy and satisfaction. KB Fabrics is unique because we design fabrics for men and women of style. We do tulle, brocade, laces, 100 per cent cottons for men, polished cottons and so on. Anyone who loves quality fabrics can contact us. Our clients are in and outside the country,” Kemi says.
Bisola said that creativity, focus, hard work and consistency had made them to excel in their line of business. “We get referrals because of the creativity of our designs and quality of our fabrics. Our uncle, Mr. Folajomi Sarumi, who has been very supportive of what we do, advised us to always pride ourselves in our referrals because if we satisfy them, we can get more clients through them. I think we have been able to carve a niche for ourselves.
“Our fabrics are sourced from Switzerland, Paris and Korea because we get good fabrics there. Our fabrics are quite affordable depending on the client’s budget. There is a fabric for everyone. We hope to start our ready- to-wear collection in the first quarter of next year and a wig line to be unveiled before this year runs out. We are also partnering with someone to open a jewellery line. We hope to be a bigger brand and give our clients utmost satisfaction. We want to have a one-stop shop for anything authentic,” says Bisola.
The sisters who look up to Nigerian designers like Lisa Folawiyo and James Branden in the fashion industry, believe the industry is growing and expanding with our designers making unique pieces. “On this job, we have learnt to follow our passion, never give up and be the best we can be. We advise anyone who want to be a fabric designer to be passionate, focused, study the market, creative, know their customer, walk their way to the top and most importantly put God first.”
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