The dream of every fashion designer is to see their designs worn by celebrities and photographed on the red carpet. For Chika Daniel, creative director of Chikabonita Fashion, that dream is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Chikabonita Fashion is a brand that prides itself in the preservation of the culture of handmade accessories manufactured from locally sourced materials. The brand provides affordable jewellery brand that promotes style.
Chika started her business as a hobby while still an undergraduate. She learnt the skills involved in bead-making from her friend, who is also a fashion designer.
To further equip herself with the needed skills, she took some training on designs and bead-making before establishing Chikabonita Fashion in 2016.
Chika started her business with N1, 000, which she spent on buying some accessories. This is a testament that those seeking to set up business in Nigeria can start with any amount of money.
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“I started my business with N1, 000, which I used in purchasing some accessories. My friends and family members started patronising me and recommending me to others,” Chika says.
The young entrepreneur tells Start-Up Digest that her business, which started as a hobby in 2016, has now grown into a full-fledged enterprise.
“When I started, it was purely as a hobby, but it has now grown into a full business,” she says.
Chika sources her raw material locally and from neighbouring African countries. “My products are locally sourced in Nigeria and other African countries,” she says.
On expansion plans for the business, the Psychology graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka says that she plans to delve into mass production of African-made jewellery and accessories in the nearest future.
She notes that the plan will help earn foreign exchange for her while providing more jobs for Nigerians.
She explains that Chikabonita Fashion has been recognised as one of the fashion brands to watch by 360 Creative Fashion Acceleration Program and also awarded one of the ‘Top Emerging Brands in Africa’ by Made to Order.
On challenges facing her business, Chika says access to the market has been the major issue.
Chika notes that she is now addressing the issue of market access through online digital marketing, trade shows and exhibition.
“A major part of our marketing takes place online, trade shows and exhibitions, which are great platforms for start-ups like us. We recently got signed onto two international platforms to showcase our brand to the global market,” she discloses.
The young entrepreneur calls on the government to improve the ease of doing business in the country to drive down production cost. She also urges the government and well-to-do individuals to provide funds for start-ups with wonderful business ideas to establish their businesses.
Chika notes that the fashion industry has the potential to diversify the country’s economy away from oil and earn huge foreign exchange for Nigeria.
She adds that the country has what it takes in terms of raw materials and the needed skills to be a fashion hub in Africa.
Chika reveals that the business has commenced a student scholarship programme as part of its plan to impact the society in which it operates.
“We are also working on starting our merchandiser’s programme, where people who need extra cash or love handmade jewelleries but do not have time to make them can either choose to sell some of our pieces with a profit margin of 30 percent or order for customised designs,” she says.
On his advice to her younger self, she says, “Keep your head up and trust the process.”
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