APiF: Please introduce who you are.
Besida: I’m Sophia O. I am the Founder and Creative Director of Besida.
APiF: What motivated you to start your brand?
Besida: Mainly because I wanted to manufacture and increase exports from Nigeria. We are a nation full of resources, but we lack opportunity. I’m confident that it won’t be that way forever. Soon we’ll start seeing “Made in Nigeria” on more merchandise.
APiF: What is your cultural heritage and how does your heritage inspire you?
Besida: I am a proud Nigerian. I’ve lived in the US most of my life though. My Nigerian heritage pushes me to seek excellence in all I do. It inspires me to want to create the same standard of living I have in the United States for people back home.
APiF: A lot of clothing and fabrics on the market are now Made in China – how do you deal with that and how do you educate your customers?
Besida: Yes it’s quite unfortunate that most textile factories are out of business in Africa. However, we ensure that all of our fabrics are sourced from local markets or textile distributors in Nigeria. We do inform our customers about our process, and assure them that the tailoring is in fact done in Nigeria.
APiF: Last year we had off-shoulder everything – what will be a hot trend this summer in your opinion?
Besida: Asymmetrical everything! It’s a hot trend right now and will be amplified when the heat turns up.
APiF: Any tips for young / emerging entrepreneurs?
Besida: Be passionate about your brand. Be patient with the process. Celebrate your small victories and build on that momentum. Analyze your brand’s growth in other ways than sales or revenue. Don’t give up.
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