In other emerging economies, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have contributed immensely to their GDP, the reverse is the case in Nigeria. This is due to lack of access to finance and loan, poor infrastructure among others.
In this interview, C.E.O of Chi Inspirations, Adaora Opah, tells SME Unit of InfomediaNG how she has been able to overcome the challenges.
An introduction of yourself and business
I am Adaora. I own and run Chi Inspirations, a clothing and footwear brand based in Owerri. We make clothes and footwear based on orders from customers. And also have a ‘ready to wear’ line.
The journey so far
After NYSC, I desperately wanted to learn a skill. And it took me months of soul searching to finally pin it down to cloth making.
I was fortunate enough to find a good school that taught not only designing and making clothes, but also designing and making of shoes as well.
I got a media job almost immediately after leaving the fashion school. So I worked weekdays and honed my fahion skills on weekends.
When I eventually left the job I faced starting out the business full time. It hasn’t been all pink and roses though but we are grateful that we are not where we used to be
The challenges and positives
Believe me it hasn’t been easy. This is a cut throat business so you have to constantly be alert in seeking new ways to remain relevant. A second challenge is finding the right manpower to execute some of your designs and ideas. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
The obvious positive for me is been able to express yourself through your passion. That self expression a line motivates me
How has doing business in Nigeria been
Not easy at all. Lack of electricity is a major challenge because a good number of the machines require electricity to work.
So my obvious alternative power source Is generator and the cost of buying fuel constantly eats into my profit.
What would you like to change about Nigeria?
Light. Give us light. Then access to business loans that aren’t based on hefty shylock percentages
Have you been able to utilize social media aptly to make your business grow?
I am hoping to grow the business into a formidable retail outlet.
Advice for people who want to do your kind of business?
Be ready to give it your all. Be ready even to have a side gig to sustain the business through infancy.
Lastly try to have a mentor(s) who will point out areas of the business you need to improve on. Entrepreneurship is not all about working for yourself, always surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth and you should have the ability to live out that truth.
Your philosophy about life?
Live and let live.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nature (Sun, Rain, wind etc). Even watching people go about their daily business give me inspiration.
We are on facebook at facebook.com/chiispirations and on instagram @chiispirations