Welcome to another edition of Made in Ibadan. Today we would be having a chat with another inspiring entrepreneur, Bisola Olootu, the CEO of Angel Alex Couture. We would be discussing on how she started and how she made it this far.
Why Did You Decide To Choose Fashion Designing As a Career?
I have loved fashion since day one. When I was in the university, 200 level, whenever I gave my dress to tailor, I made sure I added something to my style. I don’t like stealing people’s design to start with. So I started by adding a little bit of my own creativity. And I felt it was not bad. I never dreamt of a white collar job, it has never been my way. I just love fashion in short.
What Area(s) Of Fashion Designing Interests You?
Hmmm, anything that makes you beautiful, that gives you a ‘wow’ look. It is either make up, clothing or anything.
After Going Through Your Designs On Your Social Media Platforms, We Observed That Your Designs Are Nice And Classy. So, Who And What Would You Say Are The Inspirations Behind Your Designs?
If you don’t mind, I would say God. And secondly my sister! I have a sister that loves anything that makes you look beautiful. I have two sisters whom I’ve always want to be like.
When Did You Start Your Fashion Designing Business? And How Were You Able To Keep Up Till Date Despite The High Number Of Fashion Designers Around You?
I started four years ago. So, like three years ago, I decided to open my own fashion shop. When I started it was like let me just go into this full time, and it was not so hard. I have a sister as a banker, so I started with her friends, so whenever I sew they tell me ‘I love what you wear, can you make one for me,’ that was how I started it as a career.
How Do You Handle Your Unsatisfied Customers?
Well, there is no way you can satisfy all customers, to start with. But I make sure I don’t complain. And even if they complain I try to explain things to them- I don’t expect them to follow me in everything I do. I try to meet up too; I try not to lose my customers.
How Was Learning Fashion Designing Like? Was It Stressful For You?
Trust me it was not stressful. I trained from a friend. Later she told me, ‘Bisola you need to upgrade yourself.’ So I went for further training.
What Is That Special Thing That Makes Your Design Different From Others’ Design?
I love details. In fashion, there are things called details. I choose my details depending on the fabric. It gives one the actual design and other things. So, I love details in fabrics that I use.
So, What Sort Of Details Do You Use? Some Use Beads, Some Use Stones, Which One Do You Prefer?
I prefer trimming and patterns.
Can You Tell Us More About Your Brand, AngelALex Couture?
Yes, I have been waiting for this day. Alex is my late dad’s name. It is all about him, in the sense
that he calls me Angel, and his name is Alex. So I wondered what I could use to remember my dad, so I opted for ‘Angel’ which he called me and his name ‘Alex’.
Have You Designed For Any Public Personality?
Hmmm, no. But I appreciate my clients.
Who Do You Look Up To In The Fashion Industry?
I look up to Tiannah, Toyin Lawani. I like her in the sense that she is a good mentor. She has lots of businesses and she handles them well. She will make you not to like white-collar job in any way, because she is very hard-working. I follow her on Instagram.
How Would You Describe The People Of Ibadan’s Attitude To Buying Clothes Compared To Lagos And Other Cities?
*Sighs* Well, I might have a store here, but most of my customers are from Lagos. But the people I have here are not bad, even though they classify me as ‘she is quite expensive.’ But, no, really, it is not as bad as that. Even if it is little customers that you have; you should know how to manage them. It is not until you have thousands of them.
Why Did You Choose Ibadan As Your Business Base, Since You Said You Have Many Customers In Lagos?
Well, I can say Ibadan is peaceful. I don’t think I can handle Lagos for now with the hustling and bustling. But Ibadan is okay.
Why Did You Choose Oke-Ado As Your Business Base? Why Didn’t You Go For Bodija And The Likes?
Well, if you are good at what you do, even if you work from a village, people will find you. I believe in referrals. And my work speaks for me. Like ‘you made this, wow I like it.’ ‘Can you give me the contact of who made this for you?’ As well as online, that is, social media platform.
How Do You Use Social Media Platforms To Promote Your Business, Because We Noticed That You Don’t Have Many Followers On Instagram?
Well, I have people telling me to buy buyers, but I don’t believe in that. I believe everything would come naturally. You don’t have to buy customers to like your pictures; someday somehow, you will get there.
What Is Your Advice To Upcoming Fashion Designers That Look Up To You?
Yes, what I will tell them is that it might be stressful at first. I will say a passage
in the bible ‘see-est thou a man diligent in his work, he will stand before kings…’ When you know what you are doing, and you believe in yourself, some day you will get there.