Mr. Ituen Anietie Ayomikun is the CEO of E2N Clothiers, a brand he started while in school and has diligently grown it into a household brand.
He speaks to us about what inspired his creativity, and most especially about how you can build your own brand from the scratch.
DA: What inspired you to start up E2N clothing line?
Anietie: Well, I would say my environment inspired me, talking about my family, church environment and also the university I attended where we had a very fashion conscious community. These had a great influence on me as regards fashion and dressing generally.
The whole idea is to look good and comfortable in whatever you wear especially within the range of your budget, which we at E2N Clothiers ltd have covered.
There’s the common assumption that you need to have ‘plenty’ money to look good but that’s not entirely true.
DA: When you finally decided to startup, what was the first step you took?
Anietie: First off, the key to starting anything/business is learning. I didn’t just jump into the whole idea of being a CEO or owning a clothing line. I had months of working under/with people who had their own businesses standing/working. Learning from them, learning how to source for fabrics, where you consider fabric color, texture, and purpose.
I had to learn about time management, dealing with different types of clients, how to get clients, how to get materials even down to button selection.
All these were done even before I decided to unveil my logo and name of business and eventually started registration of the company under the corporate affairs commission.
DA: How were you able to gather team members?
Anietie: Gathering team members was not exactly easy because I began in school so I had to be extremely careful with whom I shared information with about the brand. At the initial stage of start up, I worked solo. I did virtually everything myself, from getting clients and going to market etc. I did this not because I couldn’t work with people but because at this point I was more concerned about building not eating.
I’d explain. You see, whenever I saw a ‘like minded’ person and I pitched my idea/vision to them suggesting we work together, their usual reply or concern is often directed towards ‘whats my cut’, ‘so how much is my own’ etc. So, at the beginning I just decided, you know what: do what you can do, and it will grow!
DA: How much did you startup with and how were you able to raise funds?
Anietie: How much??? Started with basically nothing! The thing is at the beginning, I decided to start making wears for myself. So I was my Model, my bill board, my advert and my marketer.
I will usually let the client know the cost of production, add cost of transportation and that’s it. Initially I wasn’t adding anything for profit. I just wanted to create a client base and awareness.
Raising funds were from my pocket money which was barely enough to feed me and buy my materials for projects (I was an Architecture student so you may have an idea of how often we had to buy instruments and print for projects).
DA: How do you market your wares generally?
Anietie: Like I said earlier, I like to wear what I make so people get to see it and recently there’s the use of social media. I get to post pictures on our Facebook/instagram account. Also, there’s the one on one contact where I introduce myself and let people know about E2N Clothiers ltd.
DA: What is your vision for E2N?
Anietie: To be among the top notable fashion brands in the country with the likes of yomi casual and Mai atafo. These are brands I admire. Also the vision is to maintain excellence in delivery of services.
The E2N brand is more than a clothing brand. E2N Clothiers ltd is just a branch of the brand. This is indeed just the beginning.
DA: What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
Anietie: I naturally will say “who am I to give advice Biko”
But well all I can say is there’s something you have that someone needs. It doesn’t have to be money, there’s a skill you have that can be transformed into a channel for creating wealth.
Also, there’s no business that is easy or without risk, but you need to start from somewhere and keep pushing.
DA: How can we reach you?
Anietie: You can reach me on the following platforms.