Jumoke Azeez: Entrepreneur building successful fashion business
Jumoke Azeez is the creative director of Zeez Designs – a Nigerian-based fashion business that produces and sells luxury wear in Ibadan, Oyo state.
She was inspired to establish Zeez Designs in 2014 owing to her love for fashion & lifestyle. She has always loved looking good and making others look better, an attribute that drew her to the fashion industry.
Jumoke, an alumnus of Lead City University Ibadan, kick-started her entrepreneurship journey on campus while undertaking fashion and design as a vocational course. This, according to her, ignited her entrepreneurial spirit.
She was also inspired by Ibukun Awosika, Duro Olowu – Nigerian-British-born fashion designer, Ben Carson, and Folorunsho Alakija.
“I started from my small room. I had a small corner in my room where I place my machine. I started my business with N12,000 and it was used to purchase the head of my sewing machine. Other accessories were purchased from proceeds of the jobs I was getting then,” the young entrepreneur said.
The young entrepreneur got her start-up capital from the Microfinance Bank of Lead City University at a single-digit interest rate as an alumnus of the institution.
A lesson for upcoming entrepreneurs is that you can get funding to start your business from your school as most institutions across the country are driving entrepreneurship.
“When I was ready to start the fashion and designing business officially, I approached my school – Lead City University’s Microfinance Bank as an alumnus of the school. It wasn’t so challenging getting the loan,” she said.
Jumoke took up training classes to broaden her creative and designing skills after the launch of her business. To support others like her looking for an affordable fashion training center, she established the Zeez Designs Fashion School.
“I acquired the necessary skills and knowledge needed to start a business like mine. I outsourced necessary materials through mentors, videos on Youtube, and worked in the footsteps of experienced people in my field,” Jumoke explained.
Since starting the business, it has grown steadily and now has its own fashion office space. “The growth of the business has been amazing. Sometimes, I look back at how it started, and I am amazed at how far I have gone in this business.”
“I started from my small room then moved to a small shop. When I got the loan from the University’s Microfinance Bank, I moved to a bigger office space which is sectioned into different departments, with a lot of machines that do all kinds of sewing, stitches,” she explained.
Responding to questions on the business’s plans, she says Zeez Designs plans to own a garment factory for manufacturing designs and export globally in the long run. Also, the business plans to have showroom outlets across major cities in the country.
On major challenges limiting the business, she said the huge infrastructure gap has remained a major hurdle confronting the business. According to her, poor power supply in the country and surge in diesel and fuel prices have continued to drive up her production cost.
“One of the challenges I faced and am still facing is poor power supply. My sewing machine can’t run without the help of electricity to power it and the recent surge in diesel price has increased my production cost drastically¸” she said.
“The extra money you are spending on running your business using generators is eating up on profit margins¸” she noted.