Many Nigerian women are into entrepreneurship to augment their family income. Jennifer Nwedeh, who runs Madonna Fashion and Design, is one of them. She spoke with Comfort OJABOR about her business. Excerpts:
How did you get the idea of the business?
When I finished with my secondary school and was about to proceed to the university, my parents told me that they wouldn’t be able to send me to the university, because they didn’t have enough money.
So, they gave me the idea of going into entrepreneurship, which I took into consideration.
I settled for fashion and design, I learnt it at Enugu at that time I was 14 years old.
How did you start up your business?
When I finished learning the fashion and design, I went to work at a place, where I served for four years.
I saved some money from my income and started buying sewing machines and other sewing equipment also with the help of my relatives, I was able to get a shop.
How much did you start your business with?
I started with N5,000 because back in the day N5,000 was like N5 million today and sewing machines were sold for N800, though my mum had two sewing machines and I bought one to make it three sewing machines.
How do you deal with cope with latest trends?
With the experience that I have gathered, if a customer chooses a trending style, I use a newspaper or brown paper to cut the style out first, in case of any error so it could be easily detected, before I cut the material itself.
What are your challenges in your business?
The electricity supply is very poor, the electricity bills are always crazy, paying for electricity and not making use of it is so out of this world.
Most of my machines work with electricity and so I tend to waste more money on fuel and most of my machines don’t work perfectly with generator.
How supportive is your family to your business?
My family gives me a 100 percent support, my husband supported me in buying, industrial machines, stoning machine, because paying of stone on clothes is what is in vogue now. My children also support in the shop, because I run a bigger shop now, and all my children can sew perfectly.
How do you manage your customers’ comments?
As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to react to every word that you hear, some customer are not always satisfied with what you give them and they tend to become very saucy. One has to be patient so you don’t lose all your customers. With this I have been able to get top personnel’s as my customers.
Why do you think that fashion design business is best for you?
Looking back to when I started, and how far I have gone, is quite amazing.
I started with just little; I make more than some office workers in a month or a week, because if I give you a cute style that fits your occasion, I expect you to pay me according to what you get, and I know my delivery is not bad at all.
My customers can testify to that. And with the help of God, it has been awesome. Styling is something that keeps me happy; I enjoy it when I make people look good.