SIXTEEN URBAN BRAND – There have never been any doubts about the abundance of creativity in Nigeria and Africa at large especially in the fashion industry. Africa’s creative industry – fashion, film, music and literature, among others – have started wielding notable influence both locally and internationally. This speaks volume of the creativity of Africans, which has led to the growth of the fashion industry thus far.
Earlier this week, Drackinfo Media had a chat with Innocent Samuel, brand founder of a fast rising fashion brand (Sixteen Urban Brand) to discuss his journey so far in the fashion industry as well as the impact of the Corona virus and a few tips for entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Drackinfo: Let’s meet you
Mr. Innocent: My name is Innocent Samuel, brand founder of Sixteen Urban Brand. I am 36 years old and a native of Panyam from Mangu LGA of Plateau state. I am a graduate of Electrical Electronics Engineering from Kaduna Polytechnic, a professionally trained engineer by career, working with a Service firm.
Drackinfo: How did the idea for your business come about?
Mr. Innocent: I will say it’s my Passion for fashion, my passion for unique designs and styles.
Drackinfo: What was your driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Mr. Innocent: My Driving force is based on 2 factors lacking in the fashion industry in Nigeria; Standard and Quality. These are serious factors most fashion brands lack, now, understanding the yawnings of people who are craving for Affordable Quality and Standard products, I decided to focus on these 2 factors and give the people who deserve worth for their spendings.
Drackinfo: How did you come up with the name for your business?
Mr. Innocent: Growing up with my widow mum, whom I eventually lost her at the age of 16, it was a sorrowful stage in my life, It is a period I will never forget….she died on a 14th May, news got us her children on 16th May and I was 16 years old, I decided to nickname myself 16 just to always honor her and remember her. The Nick-name got popular in my secondary school days, and as well during my Diplomas and HND. While running a brainstorming session with my girlfriend 2 years ago, I asked her to give me 2 name options to chose and use for my proposed Trademark clothing line and Business Registration, she unconsciously said SIXTEEN, I asked her why? She said because everyone knows you as 16. That was when I made a decision to register the name, created the logo and boom.
Drackinfo: How do you generate ideas for your business?
Mr. Innocent: From things I see, imaginations. Recycling things that re supposed to be a waste etc.
Drackinfo: Do you believe there’s some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Mr. Innocent: Yes, discover your passion, carve out a notch, stay consistent and keep pushing to the Right People, Right Place, Right Price & the Right Product, nothing is impossible.
Drackinfo: What makes you different from your competitors?
Mr. Innocent: A lot which all bores down to Customer relations and mission, vision and Quality Policy.
Drackinfo: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Mr. Innocent: Creating and achieving unique designs. Positive and negative feedbacks from the customers.
Drackinfo: What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
Mr. Innocent: Team Work, having fun while working. I was able to create this by selecting a team who also has passion in what they do even if they don’t get paid.
Drackinfo: What advice would you give youths out there looking to start up a business?
Mr. Innocent: Discover your passion, read books, watch motivational videos, network and most of all PRAY & PUSH!
Drackinfo: We’re facing a pandemic now, what impact do you expect this crisis to have on entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Mr. Innocent: The Pandemic is RESETTING many things in the world, it is an opportunity to start all over, and taking advantage of the new tools, and lifestyles that came with the pandemic. It may not be easy at first, but will get better here after.
Drackinfo: Times of crisis have historically also been opportunity for change. Are you optimistic that as we emerge from this, it could be a chance to create a better economy for the country?
Mr. Innocent: I am very optimistic because before now, a lot of SMEs came up due to the last recession which contributed to the rise in the nations GDP. Now more and more brands will come up, ideas will spring and the economy will bounce back for good.
There’s no doubt that SIXTEEN URBAN BRAND and Mr. Innocent could be key restoring the country’s failing economy. You can check them out on twitter @sixteenurbanbrand