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Chinemerem Nduka: Building successful clothing brand

Chinemerem Nduka: Building successful clothing brand

Chinemerem Ogbuokiri-Nduka is the founder of the Top-Notch Fit (TNF) collection – a small medium clothing brand that manufactures and sells Durags across Nigeria.

TNF, which kick-started its operations at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic have launched its first set of clothing lines in May 2020.

The young entrepreneur says his brand has been supplied to 11 states in Nigeria.

The young entrepreneur was inspired to launch TNF, due to his love for Durags and positive feedback from his family and friends, as well as the mindset to create quality unique products.

The young entrepreneur says the inspiration boosted his morale as he acquired the necessary materials and started production with his sewing machine at home.

“I started making Durags for personal use because it took time to order from overseas. People eventually started to like my Durags and I decided to produce them for sale,” he says.

Chinemerem says he got N8,000 from his mum to launch the business. However, his parents supported him with other initial funds required.

He says, “My parents have always been a backbone for any of their kids who want to venture into any interest of theirs.

“And, they always encourage us to inform them and pursue our interests. It is just like they want to be the first investors in their kids’ businesses.”

Since its inception, the growth in my business has progressed with the help of family and friends and from the continuous and conscious improvement in products, he notes.

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He adds that customers’ feedback has also accelerated the growth of the business.

Speaking on how he has been able to merge entrepreneurship with schooling, Chinemerem says that being a student made it difficult to achieve maximum focus on the business.

According to him, despite that, TNF has grown from just having friends who like and purchase its products to getting orders from clients across the country.

He says, “Profits have so far, been on a progressively good raise. And, I believe that after my schooling, more focus will be given to satisfying the need for more product diversity.”

Chinemerem tells BusinessDay that he sourced his raw materials locally from Lagos state. Regarding FX, Chinemerem says it is a major effect that cut across all lines of business.

“For my brand, I always have an open and constant line of communication with vendors and in the production process,” he notes.
“I buy all materials needed for an estimated lengthy period and from a trusted vendor.”

On the challenges the business faces, he says it was difficult to get the right set of skilled people for his business.

Also, he states that it was difficult for the business to drive its sales owing to the pandemic, noting that he leveraged social media to sell his products.

“I have also tried to be more present during the production process as it is becoming more of a mentality to be Nigerian (being negatively smart),” he says.

Concerning how he is coping with the fresh cost of doing business crisis, Chinemerem says it has been a rough period.

“Despite the challenges in Nigeria, we try to maintain all the qualities our customers enjoy and try to keep the experience better despite all odds,” he says.

“We have maintained our prices for a long period and we will ensure to never have a better yesterday with our customers.”

Responding to the questions on his business’s short-term goal, he says TNF aims to increase product diversity, explore new marketplaces and introduce new products.

On the long-term goals, he says the business plans to build a self-sustainable system for the brand, open doors for Nigerian creatives and have a competitive presence globally.

Meanwhile, Chinemerem says that his business has employed nine people since its inception.

He says, “We have been able to hack the factor of quality into our products and services by conducting direct in-house access.”

On his advice for other entrepreneurs, he says “the belief system must begin in you, with you and from you.”

“Belief stays as thought until it is put into action, and ideas fade. Put all your beliefs into action,” he advises.