Running a business is a full-time job with lots of details that some creative-minded people would rather not pay attention to.
Most designers would prefer to pay attention to their passion for creativity, expressing amazing designs into wears and leave the business details for someone else, because experience has shown that a significant percentage of fashion businesses fail, not because of lack of talent, but due to the lack of business processes.
Then comes 360 Creative Innovations hub
For the last four years, 360 creative innovation hub has been in the business of handling business processes for individuals and small businesses in the fashion industry, while they focus on their craft.
Speaking during Nairametrics Business Half Hour, the Founder and Chief Executive of the 360 creative innovation hub, Blessing Ebere Achu, explained that entrepreneurs in the fashion industry had been bugged by teething issues which its business came to address.
After spending about a decade in IT and technical sales, Achu decided to leverage technology to help Africa’s creative sector transcend the local shores. She was inspired to do this after seeing a massive hub in Europe that provided all the business support and partnerships needed in a specific industry.
- “I came to Nigeria and saw that there was nothing like that even though we were doing fashion in our different ways but no central point. Most of the fashion entrepreneurs were continually bugged down with having to pay so much attention to the business. Creating the hub was just about bringing all the business support partners needed for a specific industry; in this case – fashion, and putting them in one place so that the person can easily access it.”
Taking off the start up cost
Start-up cost for fashion entrepreneurs can be sometimes heavy, particularly when they are trying to start from scratch. There are several machines to be purchased, along with monthly and daily operational costs like utilities and rents. All of these amounts to a high startup capital needed, but 360 creative innovations hub is taking all these out for fashion entrepreneurs.
With a little subscription fee of N2,500 daily, designers can come in and access all the machines and support they need to move their designs from paper to cloth. The daily subscription option also spares them the several responsibilities of owning a physical business outfit and its attendant costs, allowing them to focus on just designing and creating.
There are expert consultants in support areas like photography experts, who show the designers how to get the best snapshots for promoting their business; marketing experts who handle the marketing aspect; and brand experts, who teach these individuals and businesses how to create and promote their brand image and story through digital marketing.
By attempting to take off the burden of a high start-up cost for the designers, the business itself had need of a high capital to purchase all of the needed equipment. But with no access to loans, Achu had to bootstrap the business for the first couple of years. Funding came in the third year of operation when some equity investors pumped in a large chunk of money to help the business expand.
Early trust challenges
At the outset, 360 Creative Innovations hub could not break in with the local fashion designers for several reasons.
First was the issue of trust. She said,
- “A lot of them were concerned that in such a hub, their designs would be copied by other designers and some others did not just trust what we represented. Because of this, we could not start with any Nigerian fashion designer but we signed up some designers who had trained outside the country and they became the early adopters. They had seen how the fashion industry worked and understood early that it was more about how you express your designs, and your brand story.”
The same idea can come to everyone. What makes the difference is how you execute it and tell your brand story. How are you making people feel about your brand? What do you do differently in your production process, and how do you communicate it to your customers?
Pushing through the pandemic
After almost four years of business, the COVID-19 pandemic came and like other businesses, 360 Creative Innovations hub had to look for a way to keep afloat.
- “One of the things we did was to go into facemasks business to keep the tailors busy and help them make some cash inflow. We also started exploring partnerships for growth, and it paid off eventually. We did a lot of trainings, webinars and we got an opportunity to partner with a Paris fashion guru and a marketing guru, to come train some fashion designers here in 2021.”
By the end of the lockdown, the business had expanded its network across international frontiers and was ready to take local unbeknownst brands across the borders.
Achu has a vision of exporting 50 Nigerian brands to the rest of the world by 2025. She said,
- “I want to see ‘Made in Africa’ selling globally in big stores in Paris, United Kingdom and the USA, and I will start by taking 10 Nigerian brands to Frankfurt in 2021.”
How PR can transform the future and profitability of a business – CEO, Mosron Communications
Tolulope Olorundero, a PR expert and Strategic & Communication Consultant highlights how businesses can profit from public relations.
Public Relations is one of the most effective ways to build on marketing strategies and create a solid online reputation. Companies that have caught onto this are investing a tremendous amount of time and effort into staying on top of their PR strategies, and they are seeing even larger returns with better ROI.
Public relations is about sending the right messages to the right place and the right people, creating a stronger brand reputation. PR agencies work alongside their clients to help them achieve this and promote them within their client’s industries. PR is an area that can transform the future and profitability of a business. Used properly, PR can give a company the ability to overcome almost any obstacle it may face. This is some of what makes PR so essential.
Seating on the hot seat of Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour, Tolulope Olorundero, a PR expert and Strategic & Communication Consultant highlights how businesses can profit from public relations. Olorundero has exceptional skills in Crisis Management and Digital Communication. She is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Mosron Communications and the Chairperson of the Association of Nigerian Women in Public Relations.
“I have always loved to read books, so I started as an editor while I was in secondary school. My father was a journalist and he usually comes home with newspapers, so the first thing I would do is to pick up the newspaper and check out some errors. It was just not working well for me that all I can see were errors. So that was what conditioned me to know what to look out for when something is not written well in a book. Bottomline is that it inspired my interest to become an editor. So, when I got to the university, I was editing materials for my course mates, I was also head of publicity for my local church in school and apparently, I decided to do things around public relations. So Mosron communications started as an editorial company,” she said.
Mosron Communications is a public relations consulting firm that provides public relations & communication services to businesses, organizations, and service brands across sub-Saharan Africa. According to Olorundero, Mosron communications started full-time in January 2019, though she had it as a side hustle as an editorial company since 2016. She later steered the company to a public relations company in 2019, as both are interwoven as there is no way one can say he or she is a public relations person, and not be able to write or edit content.
Speaking about funding as it relates to her business, she said when she started, there was no funding, and it was completely a bootstrap. Though her business started as a side hustle, during this period she had a full-time job, and she was able to save up part of her salary. Also, when she started her PR firm full-time, she had to convert a room in her house to an office to enable her to save the cost of renting an office space.
Speaking further on public relations, she said what motivated her to follow the path of PR was that people are digitally connected in today’s world, and PR helps companies to create a strong online presence that is highly visible to their target audience. Therefore, PR agencies provide businesses with support and guidance to help them market themselves online while being constantly ready to step in when a disaster occurs, or something threatens to damage the image of the company.
During the session, Olorundero mentioned that some people have this misconception that public relation is media relations. She made it clear that there is a need to let the business public and even the public know that there is more to public relations than media relations. Speaking further, she stated that there are four cultural things in terms of value propositions from a communications PR perspective. And they are.
- Corporate communications.
- Stakeholder management.
- Corporate event management.
- Reputation management
She explained that the role of Corporate Communication from a PR perspective has to do with building relationships with customers and responding to inquiries from the public. She emphasised that the duties in this area include producing newsletters, brochures, and other printed materials designed for the public. Corporate communicators manage a company’s website and social media presence, which includes monitoring what customers and clients are saying about the company on social networking websites and responding to inaccurate posts or requests for information.
Also, she said communication professionals are responsible for responding directly to calls and emails from customers with questions about a company’s plans or activities.
For Stakeholder Management, she said effective management of relationships with stakeholders is crucial to resolving issues facing organizations. She stated that stakeholders hold the key to the business and social environment in which organization operates and therefore its subsequent financial and operating performance. Thus, the effective management of stakeholder relations should be an essential focus of PR and organizational activity.
Speaking further on the third value proposition from a communications PR perspective which is Corporate Event Management, she asserted that while a company will most likely have an events manager, the function usually comes under public relations as conferences, exhibitions, and events are designed to generate publicity as well as generate sales leads.
The company may sponsor sports, arts, media, education, science and social projects and institutions, and TV programmes. Events are often linked to sponsorship. A company can sponsor an event or organise its own events, for example, for its sales team, its clients and prospects, its personnel, its distribution network, etc.
Lastly, for Reputation Management, she indicated that it is their incorporating efforts and campaigns to bury negative reviews, information, or search results and promote content that positively accentuates the desired image.
In addition, she advised business owners, corporate organizations & entrepreneurs on the importance of public relations, saying it aids businesses when it comes to online visibility and brand management. She said in this part of the world everybody thinks they can handle their PR themselves and some might end up diminishing their brand at the course of doing so.
However, it is crucial for you to hire an experienced hand to manage the Public Relations of your company as PR is an area that can transform the future and profitability of your business.
Using Digital Banking to finance businesses | Sola Akindolu, CEO Trybrass | BHH
We want to tell Africa’s story the animated way – Nissi Ogulu, Founder, Creele Animation Studios
Nissi Ogulu hopes to use Creele Animation Studios to project authentic African history and stories, while appealing to the global audience.
Throughout the formative years, African children are exposed to western media content which for the most part promotes the western culture and way of life, at the expense of Africa’s history. After going through the childhood years of watching western movies that talks about things like Greek history and mythology, Nissi Ogulu decided to make a business from telling Africa’s story the animated way with Creele Animation Studios.
Speaking during the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, Founder and managing director of animations at Creele studios, Nissi Ogulu explained that Creele Animations came in a perfect way to combine all of her interests into a single business. “From a personal angle, I have always been very in tune with arts from being a child loving animated content and drawing comics and also being immersed with playing instruments and singing. I have my educational background in mechanical engineering, and I have always had the plans to merge the things that I know how to do in creating a business,” she said.
The dearth of wholly African animated content also meant that there was a huge market waiting for their content, thus making it a worthwhile business venture. Many African children born in the diaspora also hunger for some sort of story and content to give them insight into their history.
With this inspiration, Nissi Ogulu started Creele Animation Studios in 2017, to create content from motion pictures and sounds of the best quality, to represent authentic African history and stories, while appealing to the global audience.
Right after, Creele embarked on its first collaborative project, The Satchel, which is now set for release. The Satchel is a 3D animated movie adapted from the Yoruba historical myths of the earth’s creation, particularly the fierce battle between the children of Olodumare (the supreme ruler), Obatala and Oduduwa as they struggle for the all-powerful Satchel to create a new kingdom.
Early reviews of the work show that it presents a wholesome representation of the African deities and myths, as against the vague picture which the millennial generation has had through the years.
The business of animation creation, like most other start-ups, requires funds. For Creele Animation studios, the initial funding came from the Founder’s savings, and later from providing direct animations and games services to clients. The collaborative project was funded by all partners on the project, with some angel investors coming in along the way.
Ogulu explains that there are other intending investors and partners for future projects, however, Creele Animation studios will be careful of potential partnerships it enters into for distribution and production.
“While we are open to partnerships that will take us outside of Africa, we are wary of falling into partnerships that will take us away from producing core African content which is reminiscent of our culture. There is an appeal for more black/African based stories given the lack of it so far, and we see people leaning towards more African based stories like Black Panther and the Lion King, and this is the vacuum we want to focus on,” she said.
Creele Animations is also exploring several revenue streams within the industry in streaming, merchandising, sales, IPs and other direct services while focusing on the expansion of the brand in the coming years.
Although animation content was initially targeted at children, one finds that in recent times, there is a global appeal across all age groups and social strata. Starting from childhood, people start assimilating these contents and as they grow older it influences the way they view lives and they view themselves.
Creele animations will use its productions to balance out the ubiquity of western content, helping Africans to know about their mythology and history, and reforming the minds of children and adults through this medium.
“Animation is the form of media that cannot be limited. It can go as far as the imagination can go so we are not limited to any time frame. We can tell stories from the past and the future, and create all kinds of experiences. I believe it will be very important in the education system; in teaching us more about our history and in opening the world of arts and technology in our schools as we go along and the industry begins to develop more,” Ogulu said.
Created by Taeps Animation Studios and Creele Animation Studios, “The Satchel” was directed by Nissi Ogulu and written by Jimi Oremule while Adeoyin Okuboyejo and Ayobami Bello joined the crew of producers. As The Satchel takes the first position in what is expected to become a long list of core African productions, the continent can now look forward to an animated retelling of the African story by Africans.