“Ladybrille® Fashion Business With . . .” is a feature on Ladybrille® Magazine that is focused on entrepreneurs in Africa’s fashion industry, with a heavy emphasis on fashion designers. This feature highlights business principles, business practices, follows the money, discusses the challenges faced by fashion startups as well as offers pragmatic tips that should help stir the Ladybrille fashion entrepreneur towards success. If you would like to be featured, send an email to (email@example.com), indicate the kind of fashion business you operate and what you intend to share with our audience that you feel will be beneficial to them.
Today’s spotlight is on emerging fashion label Viv La Resistance by Mo Alatise, a Uk-Nigerian designer.
“Mo Alatise, the Creative Director behind the brand (Viv La Resistance) has always had a love for fashion. It began right from an early age admiring her mother’s fabulous dresses and accessories, making clothes for her Barbie dolls, going through different fashion phases in her teenage years customizing and her clothes and accessories. “I always knew from an early age I was going to do something in the Arts,” says Alatise. Upon completion of her University education with a degree in International Business from the University of Hull in the UK, Mo Alatise made the decision to follow her passion and enrolled for courses in Fashion Design at London College of Fashion and Central St. Martins.
Upon graduation, she returned to Nigeria and proceeded to fulfill her life long dream when she launched the Fashion label Viv La Resistance (“VLR”) in January 2010. To Alatise, individuality is at the heart of fashion, she describes the label as “ever changing, constantly involving, emotional, a marriage of fashion and art.””
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Tell us, briefly, how and why you decided to strike out on your own as a fashion entrepreneur?
Mo Alatise: I think I always knew fashion was what I was going to do, right from when I was younger. I always admired my mother’s fabulous clothes and accessories and wondered how they were made, I started off by making miniature dresses for my barbie dolls, then customising my clothes and accessories. After completing my University education with a degree in International Business from the University of Hull in the UK, I enrolled for fashion courses at The London College of Fashion and Central St Martins, then moved back to Nigeria and started the brand (officially) in January 2010.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Describe the exact goods and services you provide?
Mo Alatise: Viv La Resistance provides Luxe women’s wear, pret a porter pieces, bespoke made to measure pieces, wedding and bridesmaids dresses, and our Viv La Resistance accessories range which currently includes bags, hats and fascinators.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What is the core mission of your business?
Mo Alatise:The core mission of Viv La Resistance is to create unique, timeless clothes and accessories that are a fusion of fashion and art.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What clearly defined business goals do you have for your brand within the next two years?
Mo Alatise:The next two years will see the brand expanding both within and outside Africa, with more focus on our accessories range.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: For your products/services, what is the distribution system you have in place to make sure customers get your products when and where they want it?
Mo Alatise:Viv La Resistance pieces are currently available at:
‘The Resistance Headquarters’
17a Furo Ezimora Street Lekki Phase 1
19 olosa street, off Karimu Kotun
Victoria island, Lagos Nigeria.
For our international clients they can find us on Agnes and Lola: www.agnesandlola.com. (Also) we are currently in negotiations with other online retailers and boutiques with the end result being to create a wider range of purchasing options/outlets for our customers.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (That sounds really good). What has been your biggest business success to date?
Mo Alatise: I think one my biggest success to date will have to be opening the flagship store ‘The Resistance Headquarters.’ That was definitely one of my most proudest moments.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Congratulations. A proud moment indeed.) What has been your biggest business mistake so far?
Mo Alatise: When I first started the brand, all I wanted to do was be a fashion designer and just create, create, create. I didn’t want to bother with the business aspect of fashion.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: ( I think many would resonate with that. You want to focus on the substantive aspect of what you enjoy doing most, rather than get caught up with paperwork). What have you learnt from that mistake?
Mo Alatise: I have learnt that you MUST be able to multi-task, you need to be able to strike a balance between designing and all other aspects that come with running a fashion brand.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Indeed. Let’s talk about your customers and customer service). As a business, what is the customer experience you want each customer to take away every time they experience your fashion brand?
Mo Alatise: Comfort, luxury and warmth, that’s the atmosphere and experience we try to create. I always strive to ensure that (our) customers’ needs/wants are met.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Speaking of needs being met), what kind of challenges do you face when it comes to sourcing of materials for your fashion business?
Mo Alatise: There are a lot of challenges faced when sourcing for materials, the key issues are a lack of variety, quality and consistency.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What do you believe are the key qualities of a brilliant (Ladybrille) entrepreneur?
Mo Alatise: Multi tasking, risk taking, research, research and more research, listening to your customers, and always looking out for new opportunities.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Can you share with our audience some few tips on financial management of a fashion business?
Mo Alatise: In financial management of a fashion business I think it is key to get your books in order. You have to be very strict about this. If you’re not able to do this own your own, I would advise getting a financial advisor/ accountant.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: How have you been able to integrate new technologies into your business to make it successful?
Mo Alatise: We have been able to do this through our facebook page and our website www.vivlaresistance.com. We get a number of inquiries from people all over the world and it is fantastic that through technology we are able to meet, interact, and get feedback from a diverse range of people.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (That sounds great. Even more specifically), tell us the three ways you have used social media to increase brand awareness and gain recognition for your brand?
Mo Alatise: Social media such as twitter, facebook and fashion blogs play a very important role in brand awareness. It serves as a way to share information regarding the brand, interact with customers and keep them up dated on all things VLR.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: In your opinion, why do fashion businesses, especially African fashion businesses, fail?
Mo Alatise: I think there are a lot of factors working against fashion business in Africa. Lack of constant electricity supply, skilled labor, capital, inadequate knowledge of the business of fashion. You have to understand the market and who your target customers are. What their lifestyles are so as too be able to cater to their needs and keep them interested. Cultivating customer loyalty is very difficult. The fashion industry is a very competitive and you must aim to be innovative always.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What do you look for when you hire employees?
Mo Alatise: When hiring employees I look for certain key qualities like having a real passion for their craft, a high level of skill in their specialised area, motivation, drive, ambition, ability to think outside the box and the willingness to learn new things.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What drives you as a business owner?
Mo Alatise: I think it’s the need to be the best at whatever I do, I always put in 110%.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What makes you get up to do what you do everyday instead of throwing in the towel and getting a 9-5?
Mo Alatise: Ultimately, it’s the love and passion I have for what I do, there is a saying that goes ‘pick something you love doing, something that’s gets you so excited, you can’t wait to get out of the bed the morning, and you will never work a day in your life’.