Trained and certified a journalist, Mary Oduyemi, CEO of MO Stitches, a fashion designing outfit in Lagos, has the vision to be globally recognized. Enjoy the interview.
Tell us a brief introduction about yourself AND how this business started
My name is Mary Oduyemi. I am a certified journalist, fashion designer, Auto-Gele maker, and entrepreneur. My business which I named MO Stitches started in 2018. It all started when I went to serve in Kaduna state (Black gold camp). While at the NYSC Orientation Camp, I discovered that a lady, who lived in the same hostel as I, had just learnt fashion designing and within a week, she was already amending our Khaki uniforms. This inspired and motivated me. I redeployed to Lagos after camp and immediately sought a place of apprenticeship while still serving in a school close by. I also spent a lot of time watching YouTube tutorials and within a month I had started cutting and even joining fabrics. I was so encouraged by the progress I had made within that short time and I immediately bought a sewing machine for myself and decided to go headlong with fashion designing.
What influenced the choice of the business amongst many others?
Well, I have loved fashion way back, even as a young girl. So, as I grew up, I knew I would love to do this professionally at some point in my life. As I approached graduation while studying Journalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba-Lagos, it became clearer to me that I would become a fashion designer. My major influence is the desire and love to see people look glamorous “for the occasion” be it formal or informal.
Where are you located in Ilupeju and why did you choose Ilupeju as your location?
We are located at Fadeyi, Giwa Street, Lagos. That is where I work and live; it’s just convenient for me for now.
Who are your clientele and what market need do you meet?
I am starting with female clothing for now. That is women and girls. However, I intend to diversify to men’s fashion as soon as I have a strong footing in the female line of fashion designing.
Do you have branches now?
No, we have just one location for now.
Are there plans to have more branches in the future or none at all?
Yes, there are plans to grow big and have boutiques with our fashion line on display and for instance, retail in Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos, Ibadan, and so on. We are also going to establish an online platform for retailing our ready-to-wear lines.
What vision do you have for the company?
My Vision for the company is to become a national and global brand in the fashion world, with establishments in Paris, Milan, New York, and London. We want to be on every major runway as a major designer label.
What are your fundamental ideals of the company?
Our mantra is “Fitness for Purpose”, meaning we are particular about how people look for formal and informal appearances. We like to advise and consult with our customers for what best suits their needs before embarking on making their outfit.
Could you tell us some of the challenges the company has faced or still facing?
Some of the challenges have been trying to understand what clients really want and meeting up with their demands.
What would you say gives your organisation that competitive advantage?
Creativity gives us a competitive advantage. We endeavour to be more creative, unique and attractive.
Is the company into any partnership or alliance with other companies?
Not yet, but we look forward to doing a lot of partnerships, alliances and joint ventures in the future
What would be your advice for anyone thinking of going into this kind of business?
My advice to anyone that intends to go into the fashion industry is that he or she should think deeply before embarking on the journey because it’s not for anyone who does not have the creative ability. He or she should be ready to face the challenges that come with it too. But I would say, go for your dream.