Today we shall be speaking to the amazing Aisha Abubakar Achonu. This beautiful mother and wife is the creative brain behind Aisha Abubakr designs and her creativity is amazing! A true Nigerian in many ways and a very graceful lady indeed. Lets get up close and personal with the lovely Aisha.
Please tell us about yourself Aisha.
I was born and bred in Gusau, Zamfara state, I’m the fourth child in a family of eight. I studied at Ahmadu Bello University and The Fashion academy, Abuja. I worked at leadership newspapers as a reporter and writer before starting my fashion business.
Aisha can you tell us why you choose to be a designer? Also tell us about your clothing line what inspired you to start?
I have always loved fashion and intended to pursue it at some point in my life. I attended the fashion academy to learn patternmaking and garment construction before I got a job. However the push for serious business came from styling some clients for the leadership newspaper lifestyle magazine Le’vogue.
You have an inter tribal marriage which though not rare is still not the norm..Tell us how that has been ?
I am a product of an inter tribal marriage myself. My father hails from Kebbi state while my mum is from Cross river state. It’s been the most interesting journey of my life. Settling into a new family, learning the culture and customs so I can impact my children appropriately. It’s a beautiful thing and I am blessed to be part of it.
Now, being into fashion I’m sure you have gotten some support from hubby.
Yes I have. Fashion is demanding as you need mental and physical input. From concept to actualization, your attention is required. My husband has been the most supportive, I use the benefit of his experience as a successful business man when I need to make tough decisions. Mentally, physically and financially my husband has been my rock. The late nights, the deadlines, the financial investments, he makes it a fun journey for me and I am grateful.
What was the toughest thing about starting up a business and how did you overcome it?
I started in my basement so my start up was small with very low overhead cost. Expansion was where I had my challenges.Power, skilled hands and exorbitant retail space prices were top on the list. The power remains a problem, but with time skilled hands have been found. I now have my own factory and a flagship studio floor. Initial financial investment was from our family. The banks are coming now and offering support because they can see potential.
How do you combine all that you do and still maintain a healthy family life as a wife and mum.
I have a schedule every week and I prepare and follow it. For example I like to cook for my family so my chef spends more time in food preps than real actual cooking. I am intentional about spending time with my husband and son in every twenty-four hours. Prayer times, mealtimes, we do a sing-a-long for my son to brush his teeth and sometimes we have lunch together and catch up on each other’s day.
I also have a very functional support system. My mother and sister are very supportive. We take turns to supervise each other’s kids and businesses most of the time.
Amazing, now with all you have learnt what’s your advice for young entrepreneurs especially those who are interested in fashion .
Learn the skills required. For example you must pick a strength e.g patternmaking or illustration and practice everyday. You also need to get a business partner to focus on business while you focus on creativity. Restrain yourself from the urge to borrow money immediately, try to sell online, stock with retail shops until you can afford a store and build your customer retention methods. All these will help you as you settle into business.
Aisha you are obviously a very busy woman , so how do you relax?
I like to read, I’m a member of the books and desserts club, Abuja. I like massages and I also like to drive in the evenings when the roads are clear while listening to my favorite songs which will have to include tracks by Betty Wright, Ed Sheereen, Tiwa Savage and Burna Boy.
Thanks Aisha its been great getting to know you.