Aderonke Enoabasi Adefalujo is a fast-rising fashion designer and a style blogger. She is also a style influencer. She runs Ronkefella Collection, a Nigerian ready-to-wear brand. She recently spoke to City
People’s fashion column, Looking Good. Where she talked about her success story and shared some fashion tips with us.
You have based your business only on African print? Tell us more about your brand?
Hmmm, a ready to wear brand is basically anything you can just wear, t-shirt, jump suits, dresses, what ever you can think of. But because it’s a Nigerian brand I think it’s also an avenue to sell our own products outside the world. And if I am a ready to wear brand, why can’t I do Ankara stuff. That’s why majority of people are affiliated with Ankara. It’s my own way of bringing out my country, my people, my culture, to the outside world.
How long have you been in the fashion business?
Hmmm. It’s funny, if I tell you that I am not up to a year.
Wow, I thought you have spent more than 5 years in the industry
Yea, just 10 months. It’s really funny because I have been doing makeup for 4 years. It’s was last year July 1st that I ventured into Fashion style blogging and when I ventured into style I had it in mind that I was going to have my own collection, so I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t it know I would be able to capture people’s attention. You know, people just love what I do , how I talk about fashion on my blog at Ronkefella.com and on my Instagram page on my personal blog and I just got the followership and everybody was like, “ok” we love her fashion, lets see her ideas you know, lets have your own pieces and last December I launched my own very first collection and I will be launching my second collection by the end of this month. That’s how it is.
What motivates your design?
First and foremost I will say God, then Purpose, I think you know as a young girl when you are growing you need to discover your purpose, I discovered my talent, my purpose and there exist this driving force. When you read the Bible, the Parable of the talent. Then, I realize that you could be blessed with so many talents. You know, God blessed one person with 5 talents and he multiplied it to 10 and God blessed someone with one and the person buried. That was what struck me. I was like Ronke you have a flair for fashion you can’t just be doing makeup I never knew people would accept it. Everyone has even forgotten that I started from makeup, everybody sees me like a fashion designer and a fashion blogger.
What year were you into makeup
Ooooh, I started my makeup when I was in school. I was just doing it as a side job, I think that was about 2011 or 2012, I went to House of “TARA” I trained and then I got my certificate with them, professionally.
What school was that?
I studied in University of Abuja
I studied Theater Arts, actually you know as a theatre artist, you must be exposed to fashion, makeup and all that. So that was what groomed me to be what I am today.
Why didn’t you take up your field after school?
It’s not like I will never act, I will still act I love acting, but I think I am a business person and aside acting I won’t lie to you as much that their is a lot of stress in business. Their is so much money in business, especially when you do it properly. Though not I will still act but acting it’s just going be a side thing.
What are the challenges you faced or facing as a fashion designer?
Haa, there are challenges ooo. There are a lot of challenges. First we do not have a Textile company in Nigeria that produces fabrics. All my things are made in Nigeria for now I am not saying I won’t source for fabric out there. But you know it a brand where everything is made in Nigeria. When I source for fabric its hard to get a large amount of a particular fabric and you don’t get to find it. You can’t produce so much stuff from a particular fabric. Another thing again is the fabric are expensive because of the recession, and another thing again is I don’t sit down to sew.
I am a designer. So working with people and trying to make them understand what you want , trying to make them understand your creativity can be difficult. It’s not all of them that will understand your creativity. Sometimes I cry when my Tailors spoil my clothes or didn’t do what I want because I don’t know how to shout. So I just cry and they be like “this madam don come again”. I am a very emotional person but yet with all those challenges I still survive.
How has social media helped your business
Social media has helped me a lot particularly Instagram. Our work deal with pictures, people want to see the kind of makeup you do and the kind of cloth you wear. People want to watch videos of you take a picture and put it out there. It sells your market and then as a brand influencer. Because of the followership I have on my media platform, other brands want to collaborate with me. So I get money from that as well. Brands pay me to wear their clothes for me to put them on my blog and social media.
Do you see anyone as a competitor in this industry?
Haaa see we are over 180 million in Nigeria, why will you want to compete with people. The truth is, my brand alone can’t satisfy everyone. That is just one thing people don’t know. There are people who don’t like crazy stuffs and there are people who like crazy stuff know. My brand might not satisfy someone who does not like colour. So there is enough space for everyone there is no room for competition. Honestly, I am my own competition I try to make sure that I do better than yesterday and I try to make sure my audience don’t get bored of what I do so I need to renovate and be creative all the time.
Give us 10 tips on how to run a fashion business?
1. First, discovering is very important, fashion business is very large, what does your design stand for. 2. You have to know your audience, you have to know your market, what your people love, people might be the type that love skimpy things and you there sewing bubu nobody will buy it. 3. You need to be renovative, you need to be creative. 4. You need to be confident in anything you are doing. 5. You have to know how to put out your stuff. 6. You need to know the rudiment of your business. 7. You need to plan before you produce, it not all about bringing out stuffs, I won’t lie to you your finishing has to be good don’t rely on just picture, good picture sells but what will make your business last longer is the finishing of your clothes. 8. Always remember you are not the only one out there , don’t work like you are the only one out there. 9. Feedback is very important, you need to build confidence and friendliness with your customers. Always be ready to get feedback. Expect, criticism sometimes, we are not perfect, learn. From criticism. 10. Be yourself and be original, don’t copy, people don’t like copyright. I am proud to say I am the first style blogger who live in Lagos, Nigeria who started her own brand in less than a year.