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Interview With Young Entrepreneur, Mr. Obafemi Olayinka

Mr. Obafemi Olayinka, 26, is the Managing Director of Bally Tylor, a fashion designing outfit. In this interview with IFE ADEDAPO, he speaks of his desire to succeed against all odds What kind of business do you do? I am a young fashion designer. Basically, I sketch design, select fabrics and patterns and sew clothes I have ... Continue Reading

Mr. Obafemi Olayinka, 26, is the Managing Director of Bally Tylor, a fashion designing outfit. In this interview with IFE ADEDAPO, he speaks of his desire to succeed against all odds

What kind of business do you do?

I am a young fashion designer. Basically, I sketch design, select fabrics and patterns and sew clothes I have designed.
It started officially about a year and two months ago, although it was long overdue. I realised that the best way to handle difficult things was to start. Another thing that spurred me was Emil Moryika who said, “The earlier you start the more time you have to mess up before you get perfection.”
Tailoring has always been in our blood. My parents are seasoned tailors and I have a sister who sews too. When I finally made up my mind about it, I knew I was only doing myself well than harm because I will always have able hands to run to whenever I am having challenges.

What inspire your designs?

I draw my inspiration from a lot of things. My environment – the smallest leaf as it drops to the tallest building on a stormy day. I also draw my inspiration from successful business icons. When I read about their humble beginning, I marvel at how far they have gone and how much they have achieved.
The pressure to excel also inspires me because sometimes, I think ‘what if I fail?’ I also draw my inspiration from my family and friends. They have supported me immensely and believe in me. They are my primary inspiration.
Moreover, the whole process of garment making from the start to finish keeps me going. From the initial creative design to the making and the finishing inspire me.

Tell us about your educational background?

I attended Federal Government College Ikirun, in Osun State and graduated in 2004. Afterwards, I proceeded to Babcock University where I studied political science. I graduated in 2010.

How did you get trained?

It really started a long time ago. I remember how my dad would put me in the care of tailors during holidays because he is into fashion designing too. But when I finally made up my mind, I travelled to Aba in Abia State to perfect my skill. I still learn every day; fashion designing is dynamic so I have to keep learning to remain relevant.

What makes your business unique?

Originality of my designs makes it unique. At present, the fashion industry is very competitive and crowded. Improving on the existing designs does not help most times. Therefore, I try to stand out from the competition by being unique. I pay attention and respond to my customers by involving them in the decision process. I discovered that regardless of my customers’ career and lifestyle, they want quality product for a great price. So I make sure I set an appropriate price for attires I make.

If you could go back to when you started; what will you do differently?

To be honest, I am enjoying every moment. I don’t think I have any regrets. It is not like I don’t have challenges but I try not to get distracted or discouraged. Instead, I let the challenges motivate me to do better. If there’s anything I want to do differently, I will say more effort in order to get better and be the best.

How do you develop yourself?

I practice a lot; I spend more time perfecting my art, just like a footballer. I acquire training whenever I have the opportunity. I read a lot of journals, articles, and columns that are directly or indirectly related to fashion designing.
Sometimes I search the Internet for trending wears, just to stay abreast of recent trends. I gain a lot by doing this. And as they say, no man is an island. Therefore, I consult my colleagues who have been in the industry for several years; I share ideas with them. I do everything possible to improve my skills daily.

How do you get your customers?

I get them mostly through referrals. Most times I receive random calls and I hear things like ‘this person said you made his/ her top, I would like you to make something similar or better.’ That is how I get most of my customers. I dress smart too. People don’t just appreciate it, they demand for it too. Friends and family are there too. If you produce quality designs, getting customers will not be a problem. Meeting their demands is the issue.

What are your present challenges and what keeps you going despite these challenges?

The number one challenge is electricity. The non-availability of constant supply of light causes increases in the cost of production. Access to capital is another interesting issue. Most people advise entrepreneurs to start small but at some point, you just have to take it to the next level.
There is no access to loans and to make matters worse, we don’t have enabling environment to make business thrive. This affects our optimal performance. If most of these things are in place, business output will be better than what it is now.
Passion for designing clothes keeps me going. Based on the experiences I had, I discovered that crisis has a way of bringing out the best in people. There is a quote which says “Every dream will be challenged.” This quote and others have burned in me a fire to excel in life against all odds.
No goal ever comes effortlessly, without delays hurdles or problems. I had to go through some pains before achieving any meaningful result. Then, the pace or change for entrepreneurs is rapidly accelerating. I want to be part of it.

Where do you see your business in 10 years?

I am taking the business one step at a time. Hopefully, it’s going to be big; probably bigger than what I have always imagined but I don’t want to be carried away. Right now, I suffer from the illusion that every product of my imagination is not only possible but on the course of becoming real.
To be modest, I will say in ten years; I want to have more employees and increased number of quality clothing to satisfy the growing demand and have my product in every store and household.

What are the things an intending entrepreneur should know before starting a business?

If they have an idea, they should start today. There is no better time than now to get going because everything started as nothing. They should ensure that they are engaged in a business they love and do it better than everyone else.
They have to do a self-search by asking a few honest questions. Am I passionate about what I want to start? Do I have an in-depth knowledge about the business? If yes, take the risk. They need to be humble, patient and always believe in God. (PUNCH NG)

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