By Tony Ogaga
Modupe Bamgbopa is a woman driven by passion and her dreams. Though she has an intimidating CV, she decided to put all that in the backburner for a career in Fashion Design in 2013 when she set up Ahlone Mofannys. Today, she is courted by the rich and mighty. In this chat with Daily Sun, the mother of two shares her business secrets and the prize she paid for success.
What did you study in school and what inspired you to set up your platform Athlone Mofannys three years ago?
I studied Accountancy at Ogun State Polythecnic after which I went into the arts. I attended Moate Business Colleage in Ireland and studied Art & Design before going to Galway Technical Institute for a dress making and pattern drafting course. I was also at National College of Art & Design (NCAD), Dublin to study Fashion Designing. I later got admission to Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland (AIT), to study Visual Communications and Typography Design. I was two years into the course in 2010 when I felt the need to give it up for a career in Fashion Designing. I really wanted to impact young people in Nigeria and considering spending another two years to finish the graphic design course was not an option.
What were your fears and challenges when you started out?
I had no fears because I understand the principle of diligence and persistence in business. But I had loads of challenges. Finance was a major issue! I got broke just before completing the renovation of my business space and couldn’t get a loan so I resolved to selling my personal belongings just to see my dream come true.
Who are your clients?
We design for mature men who love simplicity with a touch of class. Some of our clients include the current president of Lagos Country Club and MD, Golf View Hotel among others. We are also in partnership with N.Y.S.C. on skills acquisition and entrepreneurial scheme. We use this platform to teach Lagos Youth corps members Fashion Design with a view to mentoring them into setting up their own businesses.
What is your take on Nigeria fashion industry?
Nigerians are one of the most fashionable people in the world. The market is very large and I can boldly say there is still room for more designers to make a successful career.
Have you ever felt like quitting?
Sometimes you feel like abandoning everything and just taking a walk. This happens when I am overwhelmed. However, despite the challenges I feel blessed being so much gifts.
How are you coping with the recession doing business in Nigeria?
Cost of doing business is consistently higher which makes planning very difficult. With the recession it is almost impossible to increase prices of goods and services. Doing business in Nigeria requires special skills which you learn as you grow. The uncertainties are very high and getting committed staff to uphold the vision is nearly impossible as a small business owner. You have to be on ground to get almost anything done.
What is your advice for youngsters who will like to follow your foot step?
You have to be determined and focused. Fashion Designing is not for people who wants to go into a business just to make money. Passion and interest will keep you going when it gets really tough.
What are your dreams?
My dream is to see a Nigeria where women get the same chance as men in business, where women are not limited to small businesses, where women are no longer seen as just belonging to the kitchen and the other room (laughter).
What is responsible for your success?
Having a clear vision of my short and long term goals backed with persistence, consistence and genuine desire to satisfy my clients has pushed me to keep striving to the next level. And of course, I have enjoyed the help and favour of God Almighty.