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Entrepreneurship

“Don’t Despise Small Beginnings” Manasseh F. Paul-Worika

The Vortex features correspondent Manasseh F. Paul-Worika speaks with Emoefe Ovoke Solomon. Solomon, from Ughelli in Delta State and a graduate of Building Technology from the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra state, is the CEO, KaysConcept fashion wears.

Tell us about your job.

I’m a fashion designer. I make clothes for different occasions and deliver same them clients all over the country.

You studied Building Technology, why Fashion Designing?

Fashion is a lifestyle. It has been an aspect of life I paid attention to from my days as a child. And I always knew where I wanted to be before now. The harsh economic situation in Nigeria is a also a factor that spurred me into making a business from my skill. As you know, “man must survive” and “man must wack”.

On Government effort in tackling unemployment?

To an extent, I will say they are trying in the best ways they can to tackle unemployment. But more can be done because the rate of unemployment in the country is on the rise every day.

I’ll suggest the government focus on providing platforms for skill acquisition and development. Since everyone may not get access to the limited departments, agencies and ministries available, an alternative means of keeping youths engaged would be investing in skill acquisition programs.

The Npower program is great, but more can be done to tackle unemployment in Nigeria.

How long have you been in the Fashion business?

I started professionally in 2017 after my National Youth Service. KaysConcept fashion wears is 2 years old.

Did you learn professionally?                       

I wouldn’t say I attended any special training. It’s a skill I developed and mastered over time. But I perfected my skills learning from somebody, Ukre Samuel of Sir S fashions. He helped polish me and gave me the opportunities to become better.

What area do you specialize in?

I can make any style of clothes but left for me, I’ll do more of  native wears. I’ve discovered over time that Nigerians demand more of native wears as it speaks class and maturity.

Any role model in the fashion industry?

My biggest model is Yomi Casual. His creativity is one thing that fascinates me, and I wish I have the opportunity to learn from him someday. I’ll also say Mr. Ukre Samuel is good and creative too.

Challenges so far?

Basically, it’s been the issue of finance to expand my business and put things in place. But I’m not letting that affect me totally as I make do with what I have now while I look forward to bigger days.

Projections?

I look forward to having one of the biggest fashion brands in Nigeria and also become a household name when it comes to fashion.

How has your business helped you?       

Fashion skills have launched me and opened me to lots of people I ordinarily wouldn’t dream of meeting. I’ve made clothes for top government and business personalities.

And it has also helped me to become independent financially. Now I can afford things for myself and also assist my family in little ways.

What makes you stand out?

I’ll say good customer-relations skill. I hold my customers in high esteem. I ensure I give them the best for their money and also give them lovely designs to choose from. The truth is, outside making money, you need to make a good name. No one would associate with someone who treats him or her badly.

How has competition from others affected you?

There are thousands of fashion designers in Nigeria. The thought of that alone makes me put in my best to ensure I’m mentioned amongst the best. I’ve never felt intimidated, rather I’ve always seen competition from other fashion designers as a ladder to climb faster as I aim for the top. Competition from others is to me as water is essential to plants.

Advice to youths hoping on white collar jobs?

I honestly wouldn’t advice any youth to hope on getting white collar jobs. I’ll only advice youths to learn a trade, acquire a skill, become an entrepreneur and be relevant to the society. There’s so much you can do if you search within yourself.

Aside fashion designing, what else do you love?

I’m a football enthusiast. I’m so passionate about football. I’ve always wished to be a professional footballer. It’s a natural gift and I’m working to excel in football as I excel in fashion designing.

I’ll suggest the government focus on providing platforms for skill acquisition and development. Since everyone may not get access to the limited departments, agencies and ministries available, an alternative means of keeping youths engaged would be investing in skill acquisition programs.

The N-power program is great, but more can be done to tackle unemployment in Nigeria.

Words for young entrepreneurs like you?

To every young person who has decided to take a bold step towards developing their skills, I’ll advice you to remain devoted and committed to what you do. Look for someone who can coach you to become better. Be humble, learn all you can and ensure you acquire all needed. Finally, don’t be discouraged by your small beginning, celebrate your small wins and keep striving for greater heights.

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