INTERVIEW (Temilade Osinfade)
The Business Side of Fashion: Building an Innovative Brand in the Leather Piece MarketThe Fidelity SME Forum is a weekly radio programme organized by Fidelity Bank Plc to educate, inform, advise and inspire budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria with knowledge and expertise that will enable them build sustainable and successful businesses. The interactive radio programme features subject matter experts and model entrepreneurs as guests on a weekly basis to share their insight and unique success stories. In this interview, Temilade Osinfade gives valuable insights on “The Business Side of Fashion: Building an Innovative Brand in the Leather Piece Market”.
Q: T.T Dalk is a very interesting name can you explain what you do and why that name.
Temilade: The name was defined from the acronyms of my family ,like initials the T.T came from my name Temilade Tolulope, the D- Dolapo is my mum , the A- Adewale is my little brother and the L- is Ladapo for my elder brother then K-Kehinde is my dad.
Q: Tell us how you were inspired to get into this industry?
Temilade: I always loved business. I sold all kind of stuffs in school from phones to Gadgets, because I was a Gadget freak but I wanted something different, I wanted to go into clothing. Back then, the clothing industry was saturated and I wanted to do something different so I decided to create a shoe brand. Then I had maybe a thousand naira with me, I was not really having a lot of money so I started introducing people on what I do. I made one piece for myself and people they liked it. From there I started getting orders and the rest is history.
Q: How big is your company today, just walk us through you success story?
Temilade: Our brand is huge. We have served clients from Lagos, all across Nigeria. We also have customers in Ghana, US and Dubai.
Q: What is unique about your brand, how do you stand out from the competition?
Temilade: We do strictly Nigeria from our leather pieces to our accessories and we don’t just make shoes we also make men’s accessories; belts, cufflinks, bag. We also do female accessories too, like female slippers, sandals and we are introducing new products this year for men
Q: When you decided to introduce products for women, how different is it?
Temilade: Totally different, I feel like running away sometimes, it’s a lot because we are working on a new collection for ladies bags and purses to be precise, I have been designing this for two and half years. So what I do is when I design something, I have some people that have good eyes for details so I show it to them and ask them what they think about it, if they don’t approve it doesn’t go into the market. So the standard for women is really higher.
Q: In your space who would you say are your target customers and is your price affordable for the masses?
Temilade: Our products are for people that love and appreciate good quality, we try our best not to make it too expensinve because the real definition of Bespoke is getting a precise specification and for you to get into a Bespoke it comes at the premium price and we try to let Nigerians understand
Q: How do people get to know you, do you have a website and how are you leveraging that?
Temilade: Thank God for social media, we are on platforms like Facebook , Instagram also we have a website people www.ttdalk.ng .We do have a good fellowship on social media.
Q: What has been the major challenges that you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
Temilade: Getting people to accept our products because it’s a highly competitive market, you have a lot of other brands who make good products, very decent and more affordable prices and I have to do a lot of convincing and the truth of the matter is we don’t just sell a product, we sell a lifestyle
Q: Do you get feedback from customers, and how has that enhanced your brand?
Temilade: We take feedback very important. The most important part is that because these products are hand-made, every piece is different so the availability of good raw materials also is a big challenge.
Q: Are your products strong and durable, do you give a warranty?
Temilade: We’ve been in this business for 10years, I have people that have worn a pair of slippers for 5-6years
Q: What are 2 pieces of advice that you would give aspiring entrepreneurs who want to enter the fashion space?
Temilade: It is very important to understand your customers, listen to feedback I almost gave up but I always kept praying and put God first and something big keeps coming my way. Also understand that you need to learn, you need to read what fashion has to offer, walk in it and introduce it into the market. Lastly it is important that you know that your competition shouldn’t be your reason to move forward in terms of coming up with a design, be different, Focus and enjoy your work.