This week I am in Aba, Abia state, Nigeria. The commercial nerve center of Eastern Nigeria. The home of Ariaria market. The home of ‘home made’ shoes, bags and other household items. The city that has one of the best football clubs in Nigeria, Enyimba Football Club of Aba. Its a great town with great people and a rich history as well. Amid the hustle and bustle of the city I track down an old school mate of mine. He ventured into the world of enterprise and he has been doing so well ever since. Below is the interview I had with him.
I have the honour to Introduce to you;
Ogbonna Ugomdi, a BSc, MSc holder, Creator and CEO of TOSKyme™ House of fashion.
Q. Tell us about your company
A. TOSKyme™ Fashion House came into existence in January 2009,though I started with selling clothes designed by Apparel Designs during my NYSC days. I gathered a lot of experiences from my partnership with apparel designs. In January 2009 I decided to float my own clothing line. Today we are so grateful, TOSKyme is becoming a Household name in the fashion industry, a place where we tap into trends, focusing more on ‘afrocentric’ attires alluring to the eyes for both men and women.
Q. How did you settle for that industry, what’s the motivation to enter the market?
Wow! I grew up in a family where everyone is a fashion freak. I watched my elder bro and sisters do their thing. Dad pulled me severally by my ears for putting on black shoe and brown belt. All these actions made me focus on fashion which later turned to a dream. However, I waited for d right time to pursue my career.
Q. So tell us the obstacles you encounter in the course of doing your business?
A. I started my fashion house exactly the same period I applied for my Msc. program. Managing both was a big challenge at the initial stage. Also, meeting the need of getting new workers and training them posed as a bigger challenge to me. The epileptic power supply situation of this country also cannot be over emphasized here.
Q. Did you conduct a feasibility study
Not really. Apparel designs was just there for me at the initial stage. Big thanks to Stanley(CEO Apparel designs)
Q. How did you raise seed capital?
A. From Family and friends basically. I started the outfit on a low key.
Q. So what role will you say the financial sector in Nigeria plays in the “life” of small business?
A. Financial institutions help to enhance organized, systematic and focused participation of d small and medium scale enterprises in d socio-economic development of the country by providing diversified, affordable and dependable financial services that will enable them to undertake and develop long-term, sustainable entrepreneurial endeavours, there however is still some level of disconnect between those small businesses that need financial service and the financial service providers.
Q. That’s the ‘economist’ in you talking.
A. Yes you are correct.
Q. How do you handle legal matters?
We have a very strong legal frame-work.
Q. So is TOSKyme™ registered?
A. Yes, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C) Umuahia, Abia state
Q. What’s your overall marketing strategy?
A. Mmm! Well, TOSKyme™ House OF Fashion have participated in several fashion shows, done so many exhibitions. We also update our clients through the social media and lots more.
Q. What determined your location?
A. We run our productions in Aba, we meet the clothing needs of over 700 clients within and outside the country. Toskyme™ delivers at your door post where ever you are located. So I can say we are a business without boundaries.
Q. In this internet savvy world how do you use social media?
Well social media plays an important role in our brand management, we have a Facebook page, we market through BlackBerry circle among a host of other social media avenues.
A LITTLE PERSONAL
Q. How do you balance your work and personal life?
A. I do what I love so its almost difficult to divorce my work from my personal life especially now that am still single. Unless Sonia calls, hahahaha!!!
Q. This Sonia is that special someone right?
A. laughs, yes she is and she is very supportive I must say.
Q. What do you say to aspiring entrepreneur in Nigeria?
A. Life has taught me one thing, to be focused amidst all issues; I have learnt to keep moving and get myself above the situation. The only problem with starting is “not starting at all”. Start that thing and watch the magic grow. Finally, The Almighty is the original key.
TO CONTACT TOSKyme™ Fashion, see;
BBM pin; 315736f5