By Adeoluwa Atayero
If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think that the trendy Redemption clothing brand is an older clothing brand owned by a set of experienced moguls. You wouldn’t be wrong to think so.
Why? From its branding to the incredulous quality of the clothes, the brand screams innovative and sleek at every turn. Believe it or not the brand, which is owned by two students, was officially launched this year. Given the feats that it has already accomplished, you can only imagine what we’ll be saying about it this time next year.
TheArtOfAde.com had the distinct honor of sitting down with one of the visionaries behind the awespiring brand. Check out our exclusive interview below.
Let’s begin with an official introduction ; your legal name along with your institution and course of study.
My name is Akinjoyegbe Akintade Babatunde Bulgary. A final year student of computer science and information technology in Bowen University, Iwo. I got my nick name from the first six letters of my surname “Akinjo”.
In reference to your brand, what official title do you identify with and why?
I’m a fashion designer. I identify with this title officially because i generate my concepts based on my mood, feeling, thinking, and the colours I see around me.
You mentioned that you are CIT student. I’m sure many people are wondering, how did a CIT student get into fashion?
(laughs) Well I have always had a passion for designing outfits since when I was young. To be honest it took a while before I could accept and adopt that passion based on the traditional Nigerian parenting approach to raising children.
The truth, however, is I have always loved anything that has to do with entertainment and fashion; so it was not really a big deal crossing over from CIT.
Let’s talk about the traditional Nigerian approach to raising a child for a second. What has been the attitude of your parents towards this entrepreneurial activity?
Its no secret that Nigerian parents believe in getting a degree and going to work for somebody to get a fat salary. They hardly believe in allowing you to start up your own buisness and create job opportunities.
Our parents (My partner, Femi and I) weren’t supportive of the brand initially; but when they realised that we sold 40 shirts within the span of 3 months, they had no choice but to support us.
What is one lesson that you’ve taken away from your parents attitudinal change towards your business?
I will answer this question wuth one saying I still follow till date,”Focus on your dreams”. That’s what motivated me to start up the business and that’s why there is a Redemption brand today.
Tell us about your partner, Femi and how both of you decided to begin this journey of style together.
Well, our story is actually quite funny. My partner, Femi Kehinde, and I were class mates at the Nigerian Navy School, Abeokuta. We very close in school and soon we realised that we had the same dreams and the same problems hindering us; so we decided to put our heads together.
We graduated in the year 2012 and while we were awaiting results from different schools’ Post Jamb, we started a little brand called “Akinjo and Dasuspect”. We used both our nicknames to create the brand name. Then were just based on T shirts with our designs printed on them.
Wow, so you actually started by making T Shirts! What was the profit like ?
We made times three of our profit back from it but we were too stupid that time. We spent all our profit to enhance our looks when we were going into school and that was how that brand crashed.
After the crash, how did you get back up?
After the crash, we checked our mistakes and decided to pick it up again. We started saving again and we saved and saved from 2013 till 2016.
What was one of the major problems you faced when rebooting the company?
We had enough savings to startup again but we had a problem in picking our brand name. We had two names in mind: Redemption AND Vains By Dak.
How did you guys end up choosing Redemption?
We asked our God father, Noble Igwe, and he went for Redemption. After that we relaunched the brand on March 10 2016 and to the glory of God, it’s growing.
When did you get your first big break and what was it?
We got our first big break when we sold 40 shirts from March 10 to May 29. It was a big surprise to us granted the fact that we had just started.
Walk us through the process of creating a piece.
It’s all about basic concepts but my partner and I have become so good with that. We have over 60 clients and we have never taken any measurement from them and yet all our orders are the perfect fit for our clients.
What is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration comes from my heart and my brain. I wish i could explain to you, but I’ll bore you with that.
Which awards have you nominated for and which have you won?
We have been nominated for lots of award, the most surprising of which was the Campus Heat nomination. However, we have won just one award and that was the award for “Best Entrepreneurial Brand” from Landmark University. This is because my partner, Femi, graduated from Landmark.
When those awards that we lost truly belong to us, I’m sure we will win them and bring them home.
What is your next big project?
We always have big project; all our clients’orders are big projects. We take every order from a client as a big deal. We aim to satisfy our client 99.9% so that he or she can come back over and over again.
Do you have any advice for those who want to try their hand at what you do?
I have two tips for any such person. Firstly, chase your dream and save towards it. Secondly, make sure you have a target. For example, if your target is 3000, make sure you sell 3000 of your products to 3000 clients in a year.
Be sure to make profit on each product you sell because If you make a profit of N3000, you will make N9,000,000 in a year.
Before we go, tell us what has your experience working with a partner been like?
I have the best partner you could ever wish for. Whoever says partnership doesn’t work is a selfish person or a self centered person.
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