Toyin’s passion for fashion training is inspiring. At every opportunity she strives to teach both young and old the best methods to produce their own beautiful garments. I recently caught up with this lady and she shared her story. Read on and be inspired.
Toyin tell us about yourself and how you started Pearls Couture House.
I am Oluwatoyin Fasulu, a wife, mother, and a creative Director at Pearls Couture House. My company is into fashion training and production of ready-to-wear and made to measure clothing for women and children.
An indigene of Akure, Ondo State, I speak Ibo and Yoruba fluently. My early years were in the east because of my eastern maternal background. My first degree was in Microbiology while l also had a post graduate diploma in Education.
After my University education, I taught in Ondo state briefly. The teaching experience was an adventure for me. After I got married and came to Abuja, I tried my hands on several things such as networking and mini importation and I fared well in both.
While pregnant with my last baby I wasn’t active hence my networking business couldn’t strive. Also, my stint with mini importation was brief as a result of skyrocketing exchange rates.
I however didn’t give up and getting myself busy and I am blessed with a head always full of ideas, the idea of fashion designing kept popping up, my hubby had always wanted me to go into that aspect of fashion because he identified with my creative abilities. However, I couldn’t imagine going to spend 2 years of my precious life in a fashion school or a tailors shop.
Eventually I decided to search online, made enquiries and put a call through to a fashion academy where I was trained. Viola! My journey into the world of fashion design using flat patterns began.
It was intriguing and exciting because pattern making is both scientific and technical. I found out that there is more to fashion as l have always imagined and thought. It is like giving a scientific explanation to a natural phenomenon. Pattern drafting uncorked the scientist in me as it just unleashes your creativity. I could explain what is going on with a fashion piece. I could start from scratch and create a fashion piece by applying certain inbuilt techniques. Most of all, it was easy to teach but needed lots of work and practice.
Within a short time, l have created an online pattern drafting class on Facebook where I do some free training with the aim of demystifying pattern drafting. I also run paid online classes for beginners in fashion design. A new addition is our specialized online classes for tailors in the fashion business who want to add something new to their kitty. I am also into making ready-to-wear pieces for women and children.
In future, I am looking into collaboration with schools and government to run short term and long term skill acquisition programmes for students especially during summer holidays as well as for young school leavers and other interested people.
With patterns even as a beginner, once you apply appropriate principles and techniques, you get results. Patterns also come handy if you are into ready to wear like I do too. You can create same design in different sizes say 10,12,14, 16 and so on and get a uniform fit for each size category.
My family is my major support system both financially and otherwise, especially during my year of training. After my beginners class, I had my intermediate and advanced classes immediately. Leaving home very early and coming back with loads of assignments. My family was there for me and my hubby is my no 1 fan and has been ultra supportive.
Lovely story, so what are some of the challenges you face in business and how have you overcome them especially with your life as a mum?
Funding is a challenge for every entrepreneur, trust, especially the online class. There are lots of scams around so there are still a few sceptics and then Power supply is a huge challenge. Getting quality fabrics and materials to work with is also a challenge as quality is expensive most times you just have to make sure you cover your cost of production
There will always be challenges but you can work around them. The fashion industry in Nigeria has a huge market and so there is room for all. It can only get better because clothing is one of life’s necessities. Clothing never ends, its from one end to another, on and on it goes round and round.
What has made helped me overcome these challenges especially as a mum is my ability to multitask, which has been made easier for me because of my supportive family. Working from home affords me flexibility with time and I am blessed to be able to be there for my kids especially in their formative years.
I also ensure I take out time to relax by reading and dancing in Church on Sundays. Finally, I have a lot of rest on weekends and when possible I find time to get away with my family for a relaxing weekend.
Thanks so much Toyin you are inspirational!