KenMoore Fashion brand is gradually becoming one of the most sought after designs in Nigeria, known for its unique staples.
In this interview with its founder, Ogbonna Kelvin Chukwuma, he hints at the inspiration behind The KenMoore brand, challenges of running such a business in Nigeria, ultimate goal of KenMoore and lots more.
What inspired the KenMoore fashion brand?
I was inspired by the exhibitions and trade fair I attended in some European and Asian countries. I got to know, that there is nothing cast in concrete as regards being a big fashion brand, because not all the big fashion brands have factories. This motivated me to see the possibilities of having mine as a registered brand.
When you were starting out, what gave you the confidence that fashion designing is a profitable venture that could put bread on the table?
I have been into business for a very long time, marketed and sold various brands that are not mine, in the course, I found out that setting up my own brand won’t be a regrettable decision, eventually, with my hardwork and passion for the business I can say so far no regrets.
We have varieties of designs in KENMOORE brand that are fast selling due to the fact that we have maintained the quality over time.
What were the initial challenges you encountered and how did you scale the hurdles?
Standing out as a brand is not a one man job, so the initial challenge I faced was getting the right people to work with. However, I was later blessed with people of same goal and mindset which has skyrocketed the company.
Having come this far, what lessons have you learnt about fashion designing that can benefit those coming into the profession?
Sometimes business does not require capital, what keeps a business striving and eventually successful is passion, understanding and patience.
What has been your best and worst moment so far as a fashion designer?
My worst moment was when an upfront payment was made to a company in Turkey which was our production partner but couldn’t meet up with the production and due to the Pandemic I couldn’t visit the country to lodge a complaint or know the state of the good production.
As regards my best moment, there was a day I worked into a store at Lekki Phase 1 where we do supply some of our branded products, coincidentally, a customer walked in and requested for one of our products (KENMOORE BOXERS).
How affordable are your designs and who are your target market?
As we maintain and improve on the quality of our products, yet we are making sure the prices are on a good side for buyers, such that anyone even with minimum budget can always purchase
Kindly enumerate some of the fashion shows you have participated in and indicate which one was your best and why?
Mr Ideal Nigeria.
What particularly motivated you to decide to go into the fashion business?
At a tender age, during my apprenticeship in the fashion industry, I developed a keen interest and passion for the subject matter and since then, that has been my anchor in the business.
What kind of preparations – training, education etc – did you have, that enhances your understanding, dexterity and brand differentiation in the clothing and accessories business?
I learnt trading and fashion from a respected and honorable man in the fashion industry for a very long period of years. Also attended seminars and exhibitions in and out of Nigeria.
What is the ultimate goal of KenMoore brand and how do you hope to achieve it?
To become one of the biggest and famous fashion brand in Nigeria.
We hope to achieve it by maintaining the quality of our products and making it readily available at all time.
What is your best advice to anyone who wants to run a similar business?
Believe in yourself.
How do you balance work and your personal life considering how busy work and family can get?
This is 21st century, any business that cannot continue to run when one is asleep is not reliable, therefore we have some automatic systems set in place coupled with the awesome and dedicated staff we have, I can always have pretty much time for my family.
How do you handle rejections as an entrepreneur?
We receive rejections with love as we know they are areas we need to keenly focus and improve on.
Who are some of the designers you look up to and why?
Calvin Klein: Quality assurance and persistence.
What should the public expect from you before the year runs out and in the near future?
By the end of this year, we would boldly be proud of at least 15 varieties of KENMOORE branded products like suits, blazers, chinos, singlet, boxers, t-shirt etc
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Always looking clean, simple and matured.
Who is the perfect KenMoore Man or brand ambassador?
Who do you dream to style as a fashion designer and why?
Tejubabyface , He has a good taste for and passion for fashion.
How friendly is the Nigerian economy to fashion entrepreneurs?
Most of our products are produced and imported from Europe and other continents , so due to the exchange rate, it has been difficult.
Tell us more about yourself, family and educational background?
Happily married and blessed with three kids.