“Gone are the days of waiting after graduation and getting a job. Gone are the days of ‘business is for uneducated people,’” says Lateefah Omoyosola Yusuf, an entrepreneur in the clothing and fashion arena.
The 23-year-old student of Agricultural Economics at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomosho, Oyo State is the CEO of ILLA Fashion House and Accessories.
Starting up wasn’t easy
Stepping into fashion business after her secondary school, Lateefah in interview with Daily Trust said it is not easy starting a business especially for a student. She however shared some tips that keep her grounded on the hustle.
She said, “When I finished secondary school, I didn’t take the UTME immediately, so my mum decided it would be better to go learn something pending the time I would gain admission into a tertiary institution.
“I have always had interest in tailoring, so it was very easy to make a choice. I spent two years plus learning it before I gained admission,” said Lateefah as she relived her early days in the business.
She formally registered ‘ILLA’ as a venture over a year ago because she said she wanted to be independent and relieve her parents of some burden.
“I wanted to be responsible for myself to an extent,” the lady from Kishi, Oyo state said.
She started with about N150,000 fund she raised through crowd funding after she put up a post sourcing for capital on Twitter.
Narrating this experience, she said: ”My close friends motivated me to start it as the business. At first, I just wanted to sew and make people look good, but later I felt I could make money from it because I saw that people with less experience were already making waves and I felt I can do more.”
The fashion mogul noted that the business is quite lucrative but below her expectation as she makes between N25,000 and N40,000 monthly.
She targets customers that want to be modest and classy between ages of 17 and 60. “I attract customers mostly through tagging social media influencers on my social media post and by putting my discounts once in a while,” Lateefah noted.
Hustling and studying is big hurdle
Her key challenge in expanding her business is that combining her studies and the business; she could hibernate the business when work schedules become much and then return again.
“Most times, the outfits are made on request and are not available immediately for delivery when people enquire,” she said about another of her business challenge.
Not relenting, Lateefah said the best life is an independent one and so she advised other young people seeking jobs to learn a skill. “Jobs are not easy to come by, and most pays are ridiculous. Having a talent and being expendable, being able to take freelance jobs helps one.”
In the fashion industry, she said prospective CEOs must know what their target audience wants before starting and moreover, knowing what people need helps the business achieve its goals, said Lateefah.
She also encouraged them to be professionals in any field they choose noting that to be a professional in the fashion business hone would have to be able to evolve and be open to learn new things and trends.
“The fashion industry is growing and evolving ever