HIP FASHIOPRENEURS: One time I wanted to be a lawyer, then a banker and later a newscaster- House of Nefertiti CEO, Ilevbare

Personally, I am fascinated when I see people, young people strive to excel against all the odds that are synonymous with my dear country Nigeria. There are odds factually speaking; the epileptic power supply, bad roads, inconsistent government policies.
All these summed up  are odds because most people in other nations of the world cannot really fathom, they are basic amenities and guess what? Our politicians use them as part of campaign speeches every four years!. As if this woes are not enough, it is quite difficult to get bank loans without pay through your nose most time.
We are all human but some people are striving to become super humans; dreaming, working and striving against all odds to fulfill them, these are people who will not settle for less because they believe in the validity of their dreams.
So today and in the next couple of weeks, you would be reading about amazing entrepreneurs in the Nigerian Fashion Industry who believe in the saying that “where there is a will, there is a way”.
Some have brands you already know and some are the owners of brand whose vibe will catch the whole of the nation in couple of years if not months.
Here is me presenting Ilevbare, the Ceo of House of Nerfetiti and the popular Ijeme Brands.

HIP: When did you realize you can do what you are doing for a living?
Ilevbare: Since My university days, i usually go to Aba from Portharcourt to pick out denim fabrics and shirt fabrics, get tailors to make them and then sell in Portharcourt.

HIP: What inspired you to take up fashion as a business?
Ilevbare: I have always been fashion savvy, I love to guess people’s sizes, what would fit them in terms of look and feel, always styling my siblings.. i loved it and i still do.

HIP:Did you get a ‘Yes go ahead’ or a ‘No way’ attitude from your parents and siblings?
Ilevbare: An absolute YES, they were my guinea pigs, always urging me to try something new and took my fashion excesses

HIP: What was/ were your childhood dreams and ambitions?
Ilevbare: It changes, one time is to be a lawyer cos they dressed so smartly, another time is to be a banker cos they dressed sharply, another time a newscaster cos they were always pretty.. it changes really, all tied to fashion, the way they looked and dressed and the aura of sophistication around them.

HIP: How did you raise your first business capital?
Ilevbare: Part of my feeding money: N7000 
Ijeme Flier 2
HIP: Who were your first set of clients/ customers?
Ilevbare: My brother ( He couldn’t find his size of jeans in the market cos he was tall), and then my friends  

HIP: Is this a side hustle for you or a full time job?
Ilevbare: Side hustle oh, I have a full time job

HIP: How/ where do you get your products? If you manufacture your brand, where do you source your materials and how easy or difficult is it?
Ilevbare: I source from China and USA, it is not hard, raw materials like leather is sourced for Italy and manufactured in China

HIP: What is your vision for your brand?
Ilevbare:To promote indigenousity and confidence in the modern African woman, The African Woman gives value to wear she wears and not the other way round. I have a huge challenge people carrying clone around and feeling cool with themselves.
 I started the bags because i feel a woman should be comfortable with carrying a genuine leather handbag even if it isn’t Gucci or Prada. And Nigeria is evolving right now, people are comfy wearing indigenous names and feeling good about it.
HIP: What is that fashion essential for a man/ woman?
Ilevbare:For a Man, its got to be a good pair of shoe.. ( hehehe, that is of course my personal opinion); For a woman, its got to be a good lip-gloss, even if you are a religious buff, you want your lips moisturized, even if it is the colorless lip gloss.

HIP: What are the challenges you face as a fashion entrepreneur?
Ilevbare:I would not call it a challenge, I would say Nigeria is becoming very very fashion forward so you have a lot of competition, importing fashion items cost way less than actually making your own brand so the best advice is, give the consumer the optimum satisfaction with good quality and good customer service and they will come back.

HIP: The future of the Nigerian Fashion industry… Bright or blurry?
Ilevbare: So So bright….
Categories: Fashion and HIP Naija Fashiopreneurs Series 2014.

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