BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Meet Udeme Mojisola, the quintessential fashion designer

Udeme Mojisola is the founder of The Victoria King – TVK, a fashion clothing brand that operates in Lagos metropolitan.

Mojisola was inspired by her love for artistry and design in her early years. She has always loved looking good and making others look better, an attribute that drew her to the fashion industry.

“I drew, sculpted, and painted. I was doing everything art so it was not a shock to most people when I ended up pushing my art finesse into the line of fashion,” she says.

Before kick-starting her business in 2020 before the Covid-19 outbreak, she has been rendering tailoring services to family and friends.

“Before the official launch, I had been rendering tailoring services over the previous years to my close-knit network. I attended a fashion school during my internship year which gave me further knowledge in cloth making.”

Also, Mojisola says before she ventured into TVK, she was a full-time hyperrealistic artist. “I had some exhibitions I got to attend; one of which was – Into the Rabbit hole.”

“Exhibitions like this opened my work to a different clientele that eagerly patronised my work. Asides from the fine art which I practiced, I was also making hair for people and I got money from there too.”

“Asides from the fine art which I practiced, I was also making hair for people and I got money from there too,” she adds.

The young entrepreneur says that living with her parents helped in savings for the business initially, however, she still fell short of funds when she was about to launch.

She ran into a deficit because the money she had saved (N80,000), could only cover her first photo shoot, an industrial straight sewing machine, some fabrics, and packaging for her very first 100 customers.

“I had to borrow an extra N80,000 in November 2019 from Judith Omonua, the one person I can never forget in my life, my closest friend, now deceased,” Mojisola says.

The young entrepreneur notes that based on her over two years of business experience, starting a business is the easy part, however, growing and maintaining the brand is where the work comes in.

Since starting the business has continued to grow steadily and consistently.

Mojisola says that she went from making three dresses in two weeks to mass-producing 50 or more dresses in just seven days.

She explains that her mum has been a strong pillar supporting her brand. “My mom is one of the strong pillars supporting this brand as its growth would not have been possible without her constant push.”

Backed up with prayers and constant support from my immediate family and friends, she has been able to grow a clientele base of prominent people like Tope Alabi, Afro Dija and Anto Lecky.

“Before TVK officially employed four full-time staff and three part-time staff of which 95 percent were females, I was the one getting all the work done: from the sourcing to the cutting, to the sewing, to the packaging and even the delivery,” she explains.

Mojisola says she gets 100 percent of her raw materials locally because TVK has the agenda of pushing forward locally-made products to the world on a global scale.

Responding to questions on challenges limiting the business, she says intellectual property theft and logistics issues are major hurdles that confronted the business.

“From bigger brands trying to steal your ideas/designs to logistics trying to shatter your delivery deadlines is not easy at all.”

Speaking on the impact of inflation on her business, she says the constant surge in prices has doubled her production cost.

On the business’s short-term goals, she says the business plans to have its workspace.

“Our goal is to either buy a space for sale or buy about 2-4 plots of land and develop it into a sweet design home for both TVK staff and clients.”

Concerning TVK’s long-term goals, she says the business plans to become one of Nigeria’s leading clothing manufacturing lines for other micro-fashion businesses to work with.

On her advice for other entrepreneurs, she says, “Start now! Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is uncertain, but today is! Forget about the – what-ifs. You can only keep the ball rolling after you push it.”

“Make sure you have got the right set of people around you because you cannot be strong 100 percent of the time,” she says.

“Most times, they see what you cannot see and are always there to guide you through tasking situations.”