start a fashion business in Nigeria
start a fashion business in Nigeria

The fashion business in Nigeria or anywhere involves producing, importing, exporting and general sale of fashion items. It is gaining widespread popularity in Nigeria as fashion designers face increased demand from people who want designer clothes, customized traditional wears and those who want imported fashion items. Everyone in Nigeria wears clothes and so people who have the ability to make people appear nice are gaining increased recognition. This surge in demand has led to the creation of new fashion businesses at every nook and cranny in Nigeria. If you are looking to start your own fashion business, this post will serve as a guide.

You will need the following skills to start a fashion business in Nigeria

  1. Creative skills
  2. Marketing skills
  3. Managerial skills
  4. Negotiation skills
  5. Time management skills

If you possess these skills, the following steps will help you start up your fashion business successfully in Nigeria.

How To Start A Fashion Business In Nigeria Step-by-Step

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

This plan should reflect the type of fashion business you want to do. There are three main types of fashion business:

#1. Fashion Design: This involves bringing creative ideas to life through designs. It is very popular among professional fashion designers and roadside tailors

#2. Fashion Retail: This involves running fashion boutiques or cloth stores. Retailers buy from designers or producers and sell to the widespread population of clothing customers.

#3. Fashion Import/Export: This involves producing clothes for export or importing clothes from other Countries on a large scale to distribute to retailers. This involves huge capital and sometimes bank loans. Here are some ways you can get funding to start your own fashion business in Nigeria.

Whichever type of fashion business you prefer, you should make a business plan. The plan should also reflect and put into consideration your target market, their preferences and purchasing ability. Here’s why you need a business plan for your fashion business

Step 2: Get A Good Business Name and Register it with CAC

It is advisable you choose a perfect business name and register your business with cooperate affairs commission. You should choose a simple business name that is easy for your customers to memorize. And get it registered with the corporate affairs commission. You don’t want to build a business and when you become a household name, your competitor goes to register it and asks you to stop using it.

Step 3: Get a Suitable Location

This may seem easy but is very crucial for the success of your fashion business. Search for a good location and rent a shop where your customers can easily access you. Also, make sure you have little or no competition in your location since you are just starting. Get a space you can afford and furnish it to taste. We are in the era of digital marketing so you might not be able to afford a physical store. I recommend you get an ecommerce shop. I have an ecommerce store for my fashion business, Desire 1709 fashion even when I have a physical location. It costs less to get an ecommerce shop. Some people’s only online/offline store is Instagram. Although that’s a risky thing to do when you can get hacked or loose your account since it’s a borrowed platform, it’s just an idea that nothing should stop you if you really want to start. Start with what you have an grow from there.

Step 4: Get The Materials and Equipment You Need

The capital requirement for your business should also be contained in the plan. Anywhere from three hundred thousand naira and above should be enough for rent, and equipment for a start. Equipment needed for a fashion business depends on the type of fashion business you want to start. The things you need to start a bespoke fashion business are not the same if you want to start a thrifted clothes business. If your fashion business in Nigeria is going to have a physical location, don’t forget to add a generator because NEPA is unreliable.

  1. Create Designs

Creating designs requires a creative mind and ideas for trendy, marketable products. If you are not creative enough, attending a fashion school or patronizing an experienced trainer can bring out the best in you. You can even work as an apprentice for few months to perfect your skills. You have to know your target market and have them in mind while creating your designs or choosing a trainer. Do you want to design clothes for male or female? Adult or children? Casual or formal? etc. Do a research on trending colours, styles and other preferences of your consumers from big designers and modify it to make yours unique. Good quality and unique products are always preferred by customers but they should also be affordable to your target customers. Your designs should not be what you want but what your customers want and what you can proudly advertise. You also have to make designs that are cost-effective. You can sketch it out on paper and trim out to avoid wasting fabric.

Step 5: Make a Sample of your Product

This is the experimental phase where you make samples of the product you intend to manufacture. The sample will help you validate your business idea. It is an important phase of business. if your design meets your specifications before producing on a large scale.

Step 6: Employ Staff and/or Outsource

Depending on how much capital you have or how big you want to start, you might need help. Although a lot of fashionpreneurs are solo when they start, most of them need help. That’s why I always encourage them to outsource. You don’t need to employ permanent staff. Some of your staff could work from home only when you need their services e.g. social media manager, tailors etc. Employ competent staff like designers, cleaners, etc. You may decide to employ few staff and scale up later. You can also outsource some of your tasks to save cost.

Step 7: Market your Product

You can do this by setting up a sales and marketing team who will be tasked with a market and execution plan to build and grow your fashion brand. You can consult a sales expert before promoting your brand to get guidance. Like I mentioned earlier, having a website is an important part of marketing your products and business. It allows your target customers see your business and this should be done before launching your business. Using your website, social media platforms, flyers and brochures creates a lot of awareness about your business. Building a buzz around your business before you launch is very important. If you have the budget, you can feature in TV shows, invest in influencer marketing and create a fashion blog about your business.

Challenges You Might Face When Starting Your Fashion Business In Nigeria

You should bear in mind that the fashion business is not without challenges. Not planning well is why so many fashion businesses in Nigeria will fail this year. Some of the challenges you might face include:

  1. High cost of set-up
  2. Rising cost of production
  3. Marketing and sales challenges
  4. Finding reliable manufacturers
  5. Competition and copy cats
  6. Inflation

Final Words

Starting a successful fashion business in Nigeria demands creativity, dedication, passion and tenacity. Your ability to satisfy your customers and meet deadlines will help your business. If you research properly, ask the right questions, understand the trade and follow the tips in this post, nothing will stop you from successfully starting up a fashion business in Nigeria.

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