‘Nigerian fashion industry is rising, we can get better’
Joy Chico Ejiro, wife of renowned Nollywood movie director, is the brain behind Real Colours Fabrics and Real Colours Clothing, a fashion brand in Lagos. The Delta State native and graduate of English from the University of Lagos says she has always loved fashion and loves to see people look good. She is also a Movie Producer and trying her hands on event management. The lady who has been into clothing business for 14 years tells GERALDINE AKUTU about her business, family life and fashion industry.
What made you go into fashion?
Personally, I love looking different and unique and most of the fashion houses that existed then, though good, didn’t really give me what I wanted. So I decided to delve into it first to satisfy my taste, but persistent calls from my friends and even strangers requesting for similar outfits and designs encouraged me to go into it as a business while in the university. I met my husband and worked as a costumier on countless movies.
Who are your role models in the fashion world?
None in particular because I must confess that all the players in the industry presently can be compared with our counterparts in Europe and the states. So I will say all the household names in the fashion industry are my role models because they have influenced me in one way or the other
What do you consider before you dress up a client?
First and foremost, I consider their fashion style. Some people like it simple but classy, while others like it loud and daring. I also take into consideration the budget of the client, complexion and size.
What were your initial challenges and how were you able to overcome them?
My initial challenge was first of all getting the kind of fabrics to meet the needs of my clients. This I was able to overcome by traveling to the manufacturers and giving them my personal designs, I also had challenge in getting the right personnel to work with and those who could truly understand the vision and run with it. So, I had to keep searching. When I found those capable, I now inculcate them my vision through constant training and encouragement. Like most entrepreneurs in Nigeria will tell you, constant power was also and still a great challenge.Set featured image
What makes your fashion brand stand out?
My brand was built by satisfied clients. My brand thrives on perfect finishing, quality and unique designs on exquisite and customized fabrics. Our creativity is beyond our client’s satisfaction. We don’t follow the trend. We are in fact the trend.
Who are your clients?
My clients cut across boundaries, sex and class and geographical locations. What my clients enjoy is that we deliver on time and on point irrespective of your occasion and geographical location.
How do you cope with work and family life?
It hasn’t been easy at all and I must first of all thank God for giving me the best husband in the world, Mr. Chico Ejiro, my friend Azuka Ogujiuba and my cousin Helen Inegbeniki. They helped in expanding my brand, they have been a source of encouragement. Sometimes I work till late in the night in order to meet scheduled deliveries. It is so bad that I barely sleep for three hours most times.
What is your take on the Nigerian fashion industry?
The Nigerian fashion industry, I must confess, is on the rise. Most people now tend to prefer our designs to foreign labels but with more encouragement on the part of the government, it can be a lot better.
Advice to upcoming entrepreneurs
My advice to upcoming entrepreneur is that they should first all have a plan for whatever business they are investing on. They shouldn’t do things on impulse but rather think it through. They should have the passion and desire to stand out in whatever field they find themselves and above all, put their faith and trust in God because there will be obstacles and discouragement along the way but with God, dedication and perseverance, they will surely overcome.
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