HOW I WENT FROM REALTOR TO GLOBAL FASHION DESIGNER – CEO HOUSE OF KIZZY
Miss Bukola Olawore is the CEO of the leading fashion brand “House of Kizzy”. Her brand experienced massive growth in 2016 and she keeps improving it and raising the standards higher.
She shares her journey to greatness with us and encourages young fashion designers to keep their dream alive and add a touch of creativity to stay ahead of the competition.
Her brand doesn’t stop her from playing one of her favorite sports – Squash. She started out as a Realtor and a blogger, before venturing into the fashion business.
DA: What inspired you to start up “House of Kizzy”?
Miss Bukola: Well all that magic story had to come from somewhere right? my mum is a huge inspiration to me today as a fashion designer, in the area of buying quality over quantity. At a young age my curiosity for fabrics and turning them into patterns came into play because i had a doll, and i had to make dresses for her with just needle, thread and materials. however i had to come up with a name.
House of Kizzy Fashion brand was birthed as a result of my love for fabrics. I had this friend that owned a boutique, and then I realized that most of her dresses were ready made dresses she bought from turkey, she then makes a replica of the clothes, so that inspired me, and then I started out by making clothes for myself.
DA: At what point did you decide to expand your business?
Miss Bukola: When I started, I was not making clothes for people, I was making them for myself, and when I put them on, people usually ask me where I got my dresses from, and when I told them that I made them myself, they start placing orders, some even buy the dress I am wearing at that point. So I realised that it was working and I continued and I never looked back.
DA: What was the first step you took to expand, and what effect did it have on your business?
Miss Bukola: the first step I took was the interest I had in fashion. Then to expand my business, I became a retailer, and I was able to advertise most of the things I had because I wore them to work and people could see and even order more.
DA: How were you able to raise funds for your business?
Miss Bukola: working as a realtor and knowing your way around the business, helped a long way in raising funds, I had a 9-5 job, which helped me to a great extent in raising funds, I also consolidated some extra funds, because when you love something, you are ready to go the extra mile. I still love my 9-5, but I just needed something that would define me differently that what people knew me to do.
DA: What major challenges have you faced in the fashion industry and how were you able to overcome them?
Miss Bukola: I have not really faced any great challenge because I choose to work at a pace, and not choose to be intimidated by other fashion designers out there. Basically, your challenges are your competitors and once you can solve that, you’ve solved half of your problems.
DA: What major business strategies did you implore and how have you refined them over the years?
Miss Bukola: The strategy I had was to make my price friendly and acceptable to women in every class, my strategy was for women to see the dresses, love it, approach it and be able to afford it.
There are so many fashion designers out there that tend to put prices that scare people away, I try not to be like that, these are made in Nigeria Clothes and should be worn by Nigerians, young people should be able to afford your designs, even before you take it outside the country, and it has been working for me.
DA: We all know that managing staffs, especially tailors, is not easy, how have you been able to cope with that?
Miss Bukola: At first it was difficult trying to communicate with them, but I had to come down to their level, which I choose to, I try to be patient and calm.
I realise that these are people that work for you and they have their own personal issues, so once you listen to their own personal side, you would be able to get them to work with you in a very good manner, supervising is fun when you come down to the level of your workers and understand them.
I would say I am still learning, because you tend to meet different people every day, but it’s a business and there are ways around it, so it basically about understanding.
DA: What major mistakes do young fashion designers make that keep them from having global impact?
Miss Bukola: the major mistakes young fashion designers make is that they limit themselves and they are ignorant i.e unaware. The fashion design market in Nigeria now is huge and the market is there for everybody, it just about you rebranding yourself, being consistent and always put yourself out there
DA: What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
Miss Bukola: My advice to young entrepreneurs basically is don’t give up, as long as there is something you love and there is passion for it, if you give up, the drive within you dies, therefore consistency is key, you don’t need to limit yourself you just have to believe in whatever you are doing
DA: How can we reach you?
Miss Bukola: On instagram @houseofKizzy