Bolaji Akinola (Mrs), an Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife trained Dramatic Artist is the Managing Director/CEO of StyleHouse Boutique, an upscale boutique for premium quality fashion materials and accessories for all sexes and ages. The boutique also sells adult and kiddies wears, children educational and basic toys amongst several other items.
The journey to where she is today started in 2001 when she opted out of her employment to set up a fashion business.
Prior to this, even while in the University she had always dressed well and shown a great deal of interest in fashion
Today, the mustard seed which she planted about twenty years ago has grown to become a giant iroko tree in the form of Stylehouse boutique, towering above its peers and providing strong branches for eagles to perch.
In this chat with our staff writer, Mrs Akinola speaks about how it all began, where she is and where she is headed . Read It.
What Are You Into Madam?
We are Stylehouse boutique. We sell top quality fashion products and accessories for all sexes and ages. We also sell adult and kiddies Wears, children educational and basic toys amongst others.
We sell on both wholesale and retail basis, meaning that we have customers who buy for personal use and those who buy in large quantities to resell. We are always fully stocked with all these Items.
What Is the Story Behind Stylehouse Boutique?
"It all started about twenty years ago when i was in a media house (Oil & Gas Publications Limited, the publishers of Nigeria's Oil & Gas Monthly). While I was canvassing for adverts, I realized that I could boost my earnings through selling fashion items to some of my customers and others.
At a point, I opted out of my employment in order to fully concentrate .
Prior to that, even while I was in the University, I have always dressed well and shown a great deal of interest in fashion
That's how it all began and today we thank God for what we have achieved"
Where Do You source Your Products And What Stands You Out?
We import our items from United States of America, United Kingdom, Turkey and Italy.
What stands us out is the quality of our products. Right from inception, we have always made it our policy to import what people can wear and what they want at a particular time. We do not just import anything, it has to be what people like.
Again, we try not to over price our items in order not to scare our customers. Our prices are always pocket friendly and we do that deliberately to keep our customers and attract new ones.
How do you make your purchases in other words, what informs your choices?
We study the trend to find out what people like and want at a particular time. We find out what is in vogue and current across all sexes and ages in terms of quality, colour and style and we do that with the help of the social media.
How Has it Been So Far?
It has really been good since we started but that's not to say that we have not had some difficult moments. We have had quite a hand full but notwithstanding, we still try to forge ahead.
We have had to contend with poor energy supply, high tariff and delay in clearance amongst several other problems.
Even the government is not helping because we can hardly manufacture here in Nigeria with our present level of amenities.
What Do You Want To Achieve In This Fashion Business?
I want to be seen as someone who has passion for fashion and a role model for those who are coming into the fashion industry.
Above all, I will like to produce or manufacture all these items here in Nigeria and become a hub at least in West Africa.
I have already started consultation and discussion with some of my foreign partners in that direction.
Madam Is There Parity Between Fashion Here and What You Have Abroad?
Off course there is. You know Nigerians are very fashionable and the whole world knows that. We are the ones who even tell them what to produce because of our knowledge of the market and the industry Nigerians are up there as far as fashion is concerned.
"If a black man walks into a fashion house in Europe or America, the question will be 'are you a Nigerian'?, nobody will ask if he or she is a Ghanaian, Kenyan or South African"
Who Is A Well Dressed Person?
A well dressed person is that person who combines his or her colours properly. Neatness is also very important and it doesn't matter whether the fabric is imported or not.
What Do People Stand To Gain From patronizing You?
Good quality items at very pocket friendly prices in an excellent environment amongst very friendly sales staff. We are hardly out of stock and what that means is that you will always get everything here at any particular time.
Madam what are your believes and principles?
I believe in honesty, handwork and diligence. These are principles that I will not like to compromise.
What Do You Promise Your Customers?
Let me thank them first of all for their patronage and loyalty all these years. Going forward, I promise to stick to our pocket friendly pricing regime without necessarily compromising standard and quality.
We will always give them what is trending all over the world to ensure that they are not in anyway left behind .