One of the most talked about fabric brands amongst the rich and trendy these days is “Doyin Sweet”. Ask those who should know and they will tell you that Doyin Sweet is one of the most popular fabric brands on Instagram and it has also become the top choice for many A-List fashionable society women. And the brain behind the popular brand is the undeniably attractive looking Adedoyin Akinrinola. This spotless, fair-complexioned and gorgeously shapely woman is the elder sister to Niniola and Teniola, who are both wave-making fast rising musicians.
A couple of Sundays ago, this extremely humble and enterprising fabric merchant who, surprisingly still sells from her home and yet, has hit it big in the business in just 2 years, got a special recognition at the recent City People’s First Female Entrepreneurs Award.
Last week, City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL and City People’s Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE, had an exclusive interview with this pretty woman and she shared with us how she got her name, Doyin Sweet, and why sells her fabrics from home.
How did you get your name Doyin Sweet?
When I started my business on Instagram about 2 years ago, I wanted a name for my brand and I said, do I say “Doyin” or add Sweet to it.
I was into catering before fabrics and I was doing so well. I never put my lace on Instagram when I started. I was just doing it bit by bit.
When people say they love the fabric I am wearing, I will send them to where I buy. So many of my friends started saying why don’t I start selling fabrics and that is the brief history of Doyin Sweet as a brand.
You started 2 years ago but you have a strong brand, how did you do it?
It has been the grace of God because I know many who started long before me. It is not by my might. Nobody in my family sells fabrics. My parents are all educationalists. My father owns Apata Memorial in Isolo and after his death, my 3 mothers run the school. They are my stepmothers but we have a very strong bond. For now, my 3 mummies run the school in Isolo. Though, I have 2 other sisters, Niniola and Teni, who are also into entertainment but not fashion.
It didn’t come as surprise to some seeing what I do now because they know that I have always loved fashion.
Did you ever work 9/5, before Doyin fabric?
No, but I worked in the school for a while. I read Theatre Art in UNILAG and after my graduation, I went to a Catering School. I also did NATEP Exams. I went into Catering School in Ikeja and was doing so well, but fashion is my calling. The only 8 to 5 pm job I did was during my NYSC.
At what point did you decide to work for yourself?
I always knew I wasn’t going to work for anybody. Even my husband never wanted me to work for people. He is an IVF expert and his job takes his time. He wanted me to work for myself and so I embraced fashion. I always had flair for fashion and the only reasons why I went into catering was because we were never allowed to enter kitchen as children. We had cooks and they were at our service. So I just said why don’t I got to school to learn catering. So, I learnt that and embraced fashion.
How was it when you started Doyin Sweet 2 years ago?
I was scared when I first posted my pictures on Instagram 2 years ago. It was fear of the unknown. My kids were so happy and excited about it. They did handmade flyers and shared around our estate. They also gave their friends. I started getting calls the very first day my pictures hit Instagram people started buying.
You have a very strong online presence with a face to match the brand, yet you sell from home, how do you do it?
It is God and God alone. Like I said, I started selling right from the first post 2 years ago. I have never done any sponsored post or advert. I give God the glory for the good things he has done. I have just been lucky to have a good Instagram family.
Many Instagram bloggers use my pictures and do free adverts for me. They all help the brand grow. I think humility has helped me a lot. I met nasty clients but I was always been good to them and they ended up bringing more clients. I always appreciate my Instagram family. They are nice and they have brought me this far. It has all helped this brand. Yes, I sell from home but I sell a lot selling from home and I am grateful to God.
What does Doyin Sweet stand for?
Doyin Sweet stands for unique fabric, timeless collection, which you will hardly see around. Another thing is that I wear what I sell. Sometimes when I go for an event and I am back, I will use my fabric collections on me and post. People see the beauty and buy. I do that for people to see the beauty. It worked for me as people kept buying. My make up artists also do amazing jobs. The likes of Tshaky and Demi Williams do the face beat, while I model my fabrics.
Would you say your beauty also helped your brand?
Yes, it does but self-confidence also matters. Even if you wear expensive lace and you don’t have self-confidence, the beauty of the fabric may not be pronounced. Carriage matters. I am on a big size and I wear what suits me.
How have you been able to maintain your skin?
I hardly go under the sun. I use scarves a lot and people assume I am a Muslim. I just make sure I don’t use a harsh cream on my body. I exfoliate when necessary.
How easy is it selling those big fabrics from home?
Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes is not. Sometimes I send delivery van but often times I let them come home because they are afraid. They are scared of scam. It is easier now as we have a brand. Though selling from home limits me sometimes but so far, so good, we have a brand. Though I am going to have a place soon it is convenient selling from home for me.
I told myself I want to sell fabrics and I worked on it for 2 days. I told my mum but she was scared. But all her fears are gone now. I have 3 mothers who buy and pay and tell their friends to buy too.
Is it deliberate you sell from home?
Well, like I said, I did not plan to sell fabrics. There is a reason why I don’t want to have a shop yet. It is not that I don’t have the money, but I need to get a classy, accessible and conducive location for my brand.
How is your selling habit?
Well, because I haven’t tried a shop, I can’t compare but permit me to tell you that social media has helped lots of people, most especially Instagram. Even those who have shops sell more on Instagram. I also use myself as Advert and I sell. I can’t mention names but I thank God. My Instagram families patronise me and still recommend us to others. So, I want to say thank you.
I thank God that He has brought me this far without a shop. Even when I started, some Instagram families put me through.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you have been doing?
Maybe make-up but it is not my calling. My 3rd mum was almost paying for me to go and learn it but it is not my calling.
I have always loved fashion. I was always applying make-up from Primary 3. I was always at my Uncle’s place; Uncle Tony Elumelu whose mum is my mum’s big sister. He had siblings who are already grown up. So I always looked up to them and admired their make-ups. They were brilliant young babes then and I always tell myself I want to look like them.