February 8, 2023

Business owner, Temitayo, owner of Sparkles Clothing Brand, talks about her success, breakthroughs and lessons as she focuses on her longtime dream, to be the best fashion designer of her time.

CEO Sparkles Clothing

Tell us who you are and what you do

I’m Temi, a fashion designer. I help women step out in style and comfort, no matter their body type. I tailor dresses to suit the needs of women whether extravagantly or conservatively. When a Sparkles woman steps into a place, she gets and keeps all the attention.

How did you get into fashion designing?

I got into fashion designing majorly because of my frustrations with Nigerian tailors; lack of creativity, little or no attention to details + delayed deliveries. I have always had an eye for details, statement dresses and colour mix since I was a child. I helped my mum combine colours, pick accessories and choose styles for her occasion dresses. So the Sparkles Clothing brand was born a little of over 7 years ago with our core values being: Comfort, Statement, Details & Timely delivery.

Why ‘sparkles’?

The name Sparkles came majorly because I needed a brand name that can stand out and can easily resonate with people. The brand needed a name that was also attention catching, unique & special.

Tell us of a time you struggled with your business

The time I was still a “cut and sew” tailor. Dresses really didn’t fit perfectly. Then, I was doing a lot of “free hand”. But right now, we rarely have issues with dress fits except when customers don’t send accurate measurements, but we’ve overcome that by doing offline and online consultations. We rarely have such issues anymore.

What was a defining moment for you in your business?

A client in Port Harcourt returned all the dresses I made for her. This was when I first started ‘tailoring’. I had to pay more than 100k Naira back (big money at that time). I knew I just didn’t want to be a cut and sew tailor anymore so I had to go to a fashion school, also paid a private fashion tutor to learn fashion design properly. I wanted very badly to be a global brand, and being a cut and sew tailor won’t give me that. I needed to do better, way better.

Share your first experience getting an international order

I wish I could remember who it was, there has been lots of international deliveries since then. But I remember I was so happy, I could barely sleep. It’s like winning a lottery or travelling out for the first time overseas. I was so excited, I actually cried. And I really was thankful. God had a hand in this. So it was a green flag for me, to keep doing the business.

What makes sparkles clothing distinct?

Timely delivery. Sparkles Clothing hardly falters one delivery dates. All dresses are delivered on or before agreed delivery dates.

We dress to taste. Whether our customer wants extravagant or conservatory, we deliver. However subtle or loud, every Sparkles woman makes an entrance. Nobody dresses better than a Sparkles woman.

Attention to details: People have asked if we were a Nigerian brand. Dresses made are neatly tailored with great finishing plus the fit is always perfect.

Customer relation. We listen to our customers, we communicate as necessary, because CUSTOMER IS KING. After all, we are in business because of them.

a regal ofi piece

Have you cried or wanted to quit your business?

I think a few times.

One time was when I didn’t know how exactly to balance a business, with schooling, internship and a regular job, and having a normal life all at the same time. So I started to outsource, train and recruit hands. Also I’d rather avoid people but as an entrepreneur, I had to be out there. Meet people, talk to people and manage their emotions. Now, I can turn an angry customer into a lifelong friend.

What did you wish you knew before starting your business?

You need to invest in yourself and your business. At the early days of the brand, it was about making money. Fits weren’t all that perfect so I lost some customers, but of course I gained them back.

A bridal look

You have customers in all Nigerian states and abroad, what kept you going?

To be honest, the feedbacks/reviews we get on every Sparkles Clothing dress delivered home and abroad. It’s like a pat on our back. The ginger to want to do more and even better.

One advice for an aspiring fashion designer

Hone your skills. Network. Be original.

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