“Creativity, finesse and the need to always stand out by avoiding bandwagon trends in the fashion industry makes my brand different from others”.
Yetunde Salimon-Akande of BeadornedbyYetty shares her journey as a designer.
Enjoy the read below:
- HOW AND WHEN DID YOUR JOURNEY BEGIN?
My name is Yetunde Salimon-Akande from Ibadan, Oyo state. I am a graduate of Communications and Language Arts from the prestigious University of Ibadan. I am a fashion designer and specialized in the production of African-inspired wears and accessories, African artworks and home decors, alongside other skills. I did not acquire the skills from anyone, though, I was inspired and motivated by some things around me to start designing, and it was easy to attain especially since I consider myself as naturally blessed with fashion sense.
I started the journey during one of those long ASUU strikes in 2013 while I was in my penultimate year in the university. After enrolling in a French school to while away the period, yet the strike lingered. Then, I decided to learn sewing and from there, I fell in love with African prints. I used to pick left overs of the fabrics and made ankara jewelries and accessories with them. When the strike was eventually called off, I wore one of those pieces to school and this caught the attention of one of my course mates. She really admired it and offered to buy it. I was shocked, as I never imagined someone paying me for something I created out of nothing.
Fortunately, that was the beginning of BeAdornedbyYettie; my brand name which simply means be adorned – be decorated, be beautified, be embellished etc. Yettie is the shortened form of my first name.
I started the business by simply developing an innate passion.
- WHAT’S YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE?
Fusion of Africanism and contemporary fashion.
- WHO ARE YOU IDEAL TARGET AUDIENCE
Africans generally, and anyone that loves African fashion.
- WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENTS AS A DESIGNER?
My best moments as a designer are those times when I get highly positive feedback from customers, when people compliment and commend me for doing a great job, for being highly creative, for wanting to learn from me and other positive remarks.
- WHAT’S BEEN YOUR WORST MOMENTS AS A DESIGNER?
My worst moment as a designer was that one time when we got a bulky order and it was already completed but the customer had to bring up a lot of corrections at the completion stage which was almost like starting the job from scratch. It was more time-consuming and tasking than when we first started the job. Due to the frustration at the beginning of the ugly situation, I felt like refunding the customer for peace of mind but I could not because the order was a huge one. So there was no choice but to effect the corrections. Although few of the items were rejected, we were able to gradually sell them all.
- ON A SCALE OF 1-10, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR RESPONSE FROM CUSTOMER SATISFACTION?
- WHAT MAKES YOUR BRAND DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
Creativity, finesse and the need to always stand out by avoiding bandwagon trends in the fashion industry.
- WHICH CELEBRITIES HAVE WORN YOUR DESIGNS?
Alex of BBNaija, Bimbo Ademoye, Nkechi Blessing, Tomike Adeoye, Esther Biade of BBNaija, Kiekie, Mo Bimpe, Olumide Oworu, Adunni Ade, Juliet Ibrahim, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, Khadijah Official (Yoruba actress), Olayode Juliana aka Toyo baby and some others.
- KINDLY SHARE TIPS TO STAYING SUCCESSFUL IN THIS BUSINESS.
Always be yourself and do not try to imitate others.
Endeavour not to copy designs of other people. Be original.
Create a niche and signature for your brand and designs so that at the mere sight of your work, people will find it easy to identify it as your craft.
Always make good use of opportunities.
Network, do some collaborations with other brands, work with fashion influencers etc.
Your customers’ satisfaction is key because happy and impressed customers bring more customers.
Accept constructive criticisms genuinely and always work towards them.
- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO START-UPS WHO HAVE SIMILAR VISION AS YOU DO?
Endeavour to take things one step at a time, gradually, your brand will grow. Do not rush things and do not be quick to want to achieve a lot overnight. A lot of successful business owners started small with the resources they had at hand during those days of their little beginnings. Rome was not built in a day and also, little drops of water will form that ocean that you dearly want. With your passion, lots of hard work, sacrifice and consistency, your business shall be successful.
- SHARE 5 FUN FACTS ABOUT YOU.
I hardly wear my designs. Maybe because I produce them so I am not freaked about that. Seeing other people wear them gives me utmost joy and satisfaction.
I can be on my phone for a whole day (if permitted, though I doubt it), doing so many things together while at it.
I can not try to open a bottle cork with my teeth. The thought is always scary to me.
I have developed a phobia for Nigeria due to horrible happenings over the years.
I am sometimes unintentionally not time-conscious.