“Ladybrille® Fashion Business With . . .” is a feature on Ladybrille® Magazine that is focused on entrepreneurs in Africa’s fashion industry, with a heavy emphasis on fashion designers. This feature highlights business principles, business practices, follows the money, discusses the challenges faced by fashion startups as well as offers pragmatic tips that should help stir the Ladybrille fashion entrepreneur towards success. If you would like to be featured, send an email to (firstname.lastname@example.org), indicate the kind of fashion business you operate and what you intend to share with our audience that you feel will be beneficial to them.
Today’s spotlight is on Ghana’s Titi Ademola who we have featured numerous times on Ladybrille.
“KIKI Clothing specializes in unique ethnic designs for children and adults, merging vibrant colours, Afro-centric prints and easy wearable styles that are smart, organic and playful.
The most vital aspect of the KIKI Clothing brand is that it manufactures all of its products, from clothing to footwear, in Ghana and it takes pride in promoting Made in Ghana designs.
Creative director and founder of KIKI Clothing, Titi Ademola, draws her inspirations from images from everyday life and people as well as a variety of cultures, mainly her diverse Nigerian/ Ghanaian heritage, which she believes carries a wealth of remarkable ideas. KIKI Clothing is well known for supporting and using African textiles in its pieces, as part of its goal to expose a part of Africa to the rest of the world through fashion!”
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Tell us, briefly, how and why you decided to strike out on your own as a fashion entrepreneur?
Titi Ademola: I studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion and at the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design. After a couple of years working in the fashion industry including an internship in New York City, I decided to move to Accra to start my fashion label.
I always had the desire to live and work somewhere in West Africa.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Accra is a really cool choice) Describe the exact products and services you provide?
Titi Ademola: We provide childrenswear and womenswear collections with an Afro centric twist. We also provide comfy footwear for men, women and children. All our products are manufactured in Ghana. Our sandals are primarily made of quality Italian leather in different vibrant colours and African inspired prints.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What is the core mission of your business?
Titi Ademola: Our mission is to become a credible manufacturer and retailer of quality clothing and accessories and in doing so, becoming a well-known designer label brand worldwide.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What clearly defined business goals do you have for your brand within the next two years?
Titi Ademola: One of our main goals is establish a significant presence in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. We’re very excited about opening our new flagship store in Accra in a few months. It’s been very encouraging operating our business from our store at the Accra Mall. Because of its’ success, we are motivated to expand the KIKI Clothing label in other parts of Accra as well as Nigeria and South Africa. We are also hopeful that our online store will be effectively launched soon. We sell our products solely at the Designer’s Outlet at Mega Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos. In two years, it is our hope to be doing more business in Nigeria, both in Abuja and Lagos as well as South Africa.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: For your products/services, what is the distribution system you have in place to make sure customers get your products when and where they want it?
Titi Ademola: We have our online store at http://ghwebs.com/kikiclothing/. Our hope is that we can reach any client in most countries through our online store.
Ladybrillemag.com: You have had a few American celebs rock your designs. Has that converted into increased sales?
Titi Ademola: Yes, it’s interesting to see how a design worn by a celebrity, who is admired and respected by many, can bring some noteworthy standing to one’s label in the fashion industry and among potential clients.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What has been your biggest business success to date?
Titi Ademola: My biggest business success is everyday meeting clients from literally all over the world, popping into the shop and promoting the Kiki brand. It’s a big compliment, extremely humbling and very encouraging seeing people from different walks of life patronize our designs.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What has been your biggest business mistake so far?
Titi Ademola: Without a doubt, I am a self-confessed control freak and I am beginning to realize more and more that it is not productive to do everything.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What have you learnt from that mistake?
Titi Ademola: I have leant that it’s incredibly wise and beneficial to delegate to fellow qualified colleagues and staff, in doing so working smart.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: As a business, what is the customer experience you want each customer to take away every time they experience your fashion brand?
Titi Ademola: I would hope that clients coming to our store experience warm, friendly customer service that puts our clients at ease. I would like them to feel that they are purchasing unique, ready to wear pieces and by doing so, promoting, quality ‘made in Ghana’ designs.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What kind of challenges do you face when it comes to sourcing of materials for your fashion business?
Titia Ademola: We are a business that believes in Africa. We love promoting ‘Made in Ghana’ products. It can be challenging to keep up with the demand. We’ve been tempted to outsource our products from Asia or Dubai, but for now we are hopeful that we can maintain producing in Accra.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What do you believe are the key qualities of a brilliant (Ladybrille) entrepreneur?
Titi Ademola: Focused, Diligent, Hardworking, a Visionary, a Leader not a follower and a strong Faith in yourself and your God.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Can you share with our audience some few tips on financial management of a fashion business?
Titi Ademola: It’s extremely important. Becoming a fashion designer is becoming more and more socially acceptable on our continent, which is great. But as designers we have to remember to make sure it is a lucrative career path we have chosen. After all it is a business. Some few tips would be, get an accountant to help keep your finances on track from month to month. Invest in a qualified personal assistant. Find creative ways to grow your business before looking at applying for a business loan.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: How have you been able to integrate new technologies into your business to make it successful?
Titi Ademola: We’ve been able to take advantage of the basics such as the internet and all that comes with that, from social networking sites like Face book to having a website and online shop. On the manufacturing front, we’ve been able to work with an established manufacturing factory that boasts the highest standard of industrial machines.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Tell us the three ways you have used social media to increase brand awareness and gain recognition for your brand?
Titi Ademola: Through Face book and a variety of fashion blogs and online magazines, like the fabulous Ladybrille Mag!
LADYBRILLEmag.com:(Thank you) In your opinion, why do fashion businesses, especially African fashion businesses, fail?
Titi Ademola: Sometimes we have to be a bit patient in business. Some businesses take off in a couple of years and others reach their potential after 5-7 years. The idea is to stay focused on your vision (the big picture) exhaust all possible options and to never give up.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What do you look for when you hire employees?
Titi Ademola: I generally look for someone who has a receptive mindset and attitude, punctual, a respect for anyone, hardworking and a certain amount of experience and skills.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What drives you as a business owner?
Titi Ademola: Staying focused on the big picture or the dream I have for KIKI Clothing drives me.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What makes you get up to do what you do everyday instead of throwing in the towel and getting a 9-5?
Titi Ademola: Again, a combination of staying focused on my dream and vision for KIKI Clothing and remaining hopeful and prayerful that the dream becomes a complete reality and a complete testimony that glorifies God.
Visit Kiki Clothing here to view her runway designs.
Photocredit: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo