Be Dazzled, the Online Boutique Serving a Vintage Allure

The fashion space and technology have been in sync year on year; thus, today it is impossible to discuss about the fashion retail sector without pointing out the crucial role digitalization is playing towards the growth and sustainability of e-clothing stores across the globe.

Digitalization is transforming the way fashion brands operate and transact with the application of digital marketing tools, Websites, Social media, data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual technology which generates enhanced streamlined and efficient processes that caters to all their needs and concerns. This, has led to the emergence of various brands establishing their brand online without having to own and manage physical stores at any location, thereby effectively reducing their cost of operation and sustainability. Today, customers can now make purchases of items via the brand’s website and social media pages seamlessly as they adapt to the new landscape and embrace the turning point of the fashion world.

Meanwhile, back home in Nigeria Fashion franchises have been enforcing great strides to improve the standard of clothing for the day to day activities of its consumers. We have witnessed it go as far as influencing how we experience our surroundings, interact with others and our bodies; hence, giving comfort a whole new refreshing narrative.

A Nigerian e-boutique, Be Dazzled is one of the various online owned enterprises which are harnessing the essentials of Earth’s digital era as it provides an avenue for customers to purchase clothings and accessories from other fashion houses online, seamlessly.

It’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Phoebe Braimoh Ihade, a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos speaks with regarding the journey towards setting up and sustaining a successful online clothing and accessories store. Regina Ogwuche presents the excerpts:

What inspired you to set up such a franchise?

I have always had great love and passion for fashion so I mean, why not?

How has the journey towards owning an online clothing and accessories store in Nigeria being thus far?

It has not been the easiest thing to be honest. But, I derive joy from this which has been my driving force.

How much of Made in Nigeria products do you have stocked for sale to consumers compared to foreign made goods?

Most of the items up for sale on Be Dazzled Boutique are Made in Nigeria. The handbags that were available for sale in February and March were 100% Nigerian & straight from the factory. The maker is a young woman whose works I had seen on Instagram, I sent her a direct message and we partnered up from there.

What sets your enterprise apart from others?

Every business organization aims to make money and that’s great. However, what sets my store apart is customer satisfaction, we thrive on feedback and how we can be better for our customers.

What work ethics or strategies have you developed and implemented towards catering to your customers effectively?

As cliche as it may sound, your customer is always right. Their feelings are valid, even the ones that may be a little difficult to deal with. So, I try as much as possible to treat them specially while being professional at the same time. I am open to listening to whatever complaints my customers may have, I believe it is not the time to get impatient and defensive. I can pass a message across firmly without being rude. Also, I ensure that their packages get to them on time and in a hassle free manner, this involves making a lot of phone calls to track the deliveries of each package sent out. I also deal specifically with a certain delivery company that has earned my trust over time to reduce stress on my clients and other parties involved.

Some say access to capital is a hindrance towards entrepreneurial endeavors, what’s your take on this and how were you able to over come it?

Capital plays a huge role in any business venture. If capital is not sufficient one may not be able to provide clothes in various sizes. We all look different and cannot wear the same size of clothing. It is imperative to have adequate savings to invest in your business before it kicks off.

What are your best-selling products so far?

So far, the best sellers have been the mini handbags, which is not surprising, every woman needs at least one of these. It can accommodate your phone, debit cards and your purse.

How has the recent Covid-19 pandemic affected the sales of your product and your method of delivering services to customers?

Due to the global pandemic we have postponed sales for a while, however customers can pre-order if they wish and we would deliver when this situation fizzles out.

Also, what measures are you enforcing to ensure you come out of the crises stronger?

As an entrepreneur you need to make the best out of situations you may find yourself in. I keep in touch with my customers to make sure there is still some sort of relationship, people would not just send money for goods to a franchise they do not have any form of trust for.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

In my free time, I love to hang with my girlfriends, get cute and go out to have a good time, I also enjoy listening to music and reading.

The Crotchet & Knitting Brand Influencing a Fresh Narrative Upon Nigeria’s Fashion Scene

Crotchet is the procedure of creating textiles with a crochet hook in order to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials. The name is derived from the French term crochet, meaning ‘small hook’. The key difference between crochet and knitting, beyond the implements used for their production, is that each stitch in crochet is completed before the next one is begun, while knitting keeps many stitches open at a time.

A Nigerian, Ibadan based Crotchet and Knitting brand, Modhan is introducing a new fashion narrative with its wool Crotchet and Knitting clothings, interior decoration pieces and accessories one collection at a time.

It’s Founder, Modupe Olakanye sheds light during an interview with , regarding the birth and survival of her brand amid a Covid-19 outbreak as well as the Uniqueness of her Empire. Happiness Irabor provides the excerpts:

What brought about the birth of Modhan crochet & knit brand?

Growing up I always knew that I never wanted to be regular. (laughs) It all started from being depressed, then I took it up as an hobby and then professionally. I wanted to do something unique that gives me joy and makes me happy, which is how Modhan came into existence.


Why did you choose crochet & knit to create your products?

I choose crochet & knit because it helps with my depression as I find it to be therapeutic. It helps me to be patient, it teaches me a lot of things and it is a very cool and creative aspect of creative designing as well. People think this craft is outdated. But, I wanted to show that there are ways to go about it to modernize it to make it fashionable.


What gives you inspiration to create your designs?

A lot of things gives me inspiration to create my designs, like nature. I love Art. I draw my inspiration from Art, nature, colours, watching fashion shows, musicals,yeah. (laughs).

How has your clothing brand been able to survive in a society were people prefer the western mode of dressing to African attires?

My brand has been able to survive in this kind of society because it is not regular. It is very unique and you cannot find it anywhere. It is just unique and very creative. There is a story behind every design and piece I create. I want my client to be confident in whatever they put on so by being creative and innovative, we have been able to survive in this society and people really love and admire that about us.


Does getting the actual and quality textile for your designs form a kind of challenge to Modhan’s crochet & knit clothing brand and how have you been able to overcome such challenges if it has?

Yes I would say the challenges facing the brand right now pertaining to the materials being used for production is the quality of the yarn. Yes I make use of yarn produced in Nigeria but they are not 100% cotton and a lot of my clients do appreciate the one in cotton wool material. But, the ones produced in Nigeria are not 100% cotton, they are acrylic so to overcome that challenge we have to make use of foreign product and a lot of people don’t want to pay extra for that because we are making use of foreign product and foreign products are quite expensive.
You can Imagine a bundle of wool produced in Nigeria is around 200 naira. But, for foreign it ranges, say from 1,500 naira or more. The least you can get it for is 1,250 naira, of which, that is for just one bundle. So you can imagine. If I am to make use of 10 wools of Nigeria’s product to make a piece that’s like #2000 and our clients wants quality material and I need 10 pieces, at the rate of 1000 naira that is 20,000 naira. That’s just for materials, so, how much am I going to sell it? Thus, I hope that our country produces better quality cotton wool material so it will be very good and our client will be pleased with the outfit at the end of the day.
On our part as a brand, we talk the clients into us using available materials for such production if they can’t afford the foreign material because the local material are very good, durable and long lasting. All we just have to do is to educate them on how best to take care of such materials.


How accessible are the materials and textiles you use to create your clothings?

They are very accessible, I make use of majorly the local yarn produced here in Nigeria so it is readily available and accessible. And of course on some instances I do make use of the foreign yarn. But, I majorly use the yarn we produce in Nigeria.

How has your business been surviving the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic?

This covid-19 pandemic is serious. A lot of people are not finding it funny because its affecting a lot of businesses,including mine. But, we try as much as possible to work and deliver by working remotely. Currently, I have been working from home and paying attention to details because at the end we all have to play safe and be good and alive (laughs).


What initiative do you think fashion brands need to implement in order to thrive during these tough times?

I believe the best and safest way to thrive during these tough times as a fashion designer is to work remotely, create new content, Modular your target market, invest in a lot of things that will help the business grow, and create more.


If you are to do any other thing asides crochet & knit what will it be?

If I am to do anything aside crochet and knit, that will be photography. I love taking pictures, I love modeling, I just love pictures.