Allure Cover: Meet The Fabric Merchants- Mrs. Adejoke Ogedengbe
By Yemisi Suleiman
Mrs. Adejoke Ogedengbe – Providing impeccable customer service
Mrs. Adejoke Ogedengbe, famously known as the textile connoisseur, is a Lagos- based third generation wholesale textile merchant.
She is engaged in providing all kinds of high-end fabrics from different parts of the world including Austria, Switzerland, Korea, for very special and memorable occasions.
Being passionate and highly knowledgeable about her craft, the Cell Biology and Genetics graduate from the University of Lagos, speaks on her love for the business and undying commitment to the growth of the fashion industry.
You left your Bachelor degree in Cell Biology and Genetics for fashion business. What informed your decision?
Generally, I am a Fashion Enthusiasts, but I never intended to tow the family line and continue the tradition of trading fabrics. I had so much love and interest in the corporate environment.
However, as Almighty Allah would have it, I ended up joining the industry.
It all started with my mum asking me to help for a few months. Within that short period, I learnt so much about the business, and began to get attached to it. I restructured the business and added new policies to accommodate further expansions. Also, the staffs were also retrained.
Back then, I had given myself two years to help with the company, and then, return to pursue my dreams in the corporate world. As you can tell, ten years later, I am still here and I love it.
How has the business evolved these ten years?
Evolution! It was a case of old meets new. We have been able to merge our old culture patterns with the modern day style. Fabrics have gone beyond the old styles. It has been improved upon and they are now trendier. Our parents’ generation is even tapping ideas from our generation’s creativity, and everyone still looks gorgeous while maintaining our cultural values. Moreover, young girls are increasingly getting confident to sew than to buy foreign clothes.
With the ban on importation of some fabrics, how have you managed to stay above board over the years?
With respect to ban, we have no choice but to follow the rule of law, by paying the duties stipulated by the government.
If you have to advise the government on ways to improve or develop a viable textile industry in Nigeria, what would you say?
In recent years, due to economic situation, people have been able to invest and engage in creative skills. Many are into beading, sewing, and fashion of indigenous content thus, helping to promote our cultural heritage. But the government can help amplify this through its culture and tourism channels.
They can help sponsor fashion shows that would connect fashion designers, and fabric dealers to the world. Recently, the French President was here and a portion of our culture was showcased at the shrine, but such gestures can be extended to fashion houses and fabric stores. I am very confident we are already set in motion to achieve this.
What stands your brand out from the rest?
That will be our unparalleled standards. We stand out from the rest!
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
On the road of quality, there is no end.
When you are not busy how do you relax?
I spend time with my family to make up for the busy days and time away from them. Family complements it all.
What are the challenges encountered as a textile merchant in Nigeria?
Same economic issues we all generally face every day.
How would you describe your style?
What is the best advice you have received as an entrepreneur?
Production is never complete until it reaches the consumer.
And that is why we continue to strive to give the best to them, because without them, there is no MORAL!