Why Nigerian men always stand out in bespoke native attires – Emeka Omai Kalu
Please can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Emeka Omai Kalu and I am the founder of Mexapparels which has been in operation for the past four years. I am a native of Ohafia, in Abia State Nigeria. I am a graduate of The Presbyterian University in Ghana where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Information and Communication Technology.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Do you know how almost every Nigerian has had a bad experience or ordeal with tailors? Solving that problem was honestly one of the main reasons for starting this business. Looking good shouldn’t come with any form of stress or disappointment.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Well, I’ve never really been a 9-5 guy, and my love and passion for fashion kind of stirred me towards this direction. And then there’s also the Nigerian factor lol.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
Honestly, I coined it from my first name, Mex as in Emeka.
How did you raise funding for your venture?
The industry is one you can actually start small and build up from there, so with little savings, I was able to start up.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Putting yourself and your business out there and amazing customer service, customers always want to feel special and it’s your job as a business owner to make them feel special.
With your experience in fashion and style, is there a correlation between being classy and self-confident?
For me, I would say you have to realize that dressing well is a skill altogether. let me share reasons why a man should be classy in dressing
- A classy man is by default a bold, confident, and fearless man. He believes that nothing is impossible to achieve and therefore he goes about taking risks, having positive expectations, and achieving success. He knows how to carry himself very well and he is very comfortable in his own skin.
- It’s almost impossible to be classy without being stylish. A classy man uses fashion as a tool when it comes to finding specific wardrobe pieces that would highlight his personal style while ensuring they are appropriate. He understands the exact kind of clothes that are more appropriate for him in terms of shape, size, and colors.
- The classy man understands value and quality. He also knows that “more expensive” doesn’t mean “more quality”. He is able to use simple resources to pull off a very nice look for any occasion be it formal or informal.
- A bad fit ruins a great piece of clothing. This is very common when the person in question has perhaps lost a significant amount of weight and still continues to wear the same clothes. In this case, instead of wearing it this way, it would be a good idea to hand it over to your tailor (a good tailor). Your tailor should be able to do a proper adjustment such that when next you wear it it’s as good as it was untouched..
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Online marketing and word of mouth. They’ve both been successful but I believe marketing online pays a lot. And there are also referrals from satisfied customers.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day is always packed and busy
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
I’m not married yet, so it doesn’t really have that much effect on my family life yet.
What motivates you?
The idea of building a successful business and legacy, having the name @mexapparels on everybody’s lips
How do you generate new ideas?
One word – Solitude
What is your greatest fear as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage it?
One of my biggest fears is having an unsatisfied or disappointed customer. To manage that, I try to ensure that mistakes are reduced to the barest minimum and even if they’re made, there are always buffer times to make sure the customer doesn’t get disappointed.
What are your ideals?
God first, family second, and everything else.
How do you define success?
Deriving happiness and satisfaction in what you do and the number of people you can help and impact.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Hard work and grace
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being my own boss
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Getting my first customer and getting their work done with zero complaints
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
First, think properly if you really want to do it because it’s not an easy ride and you have to be committed.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Put me and my business out there more much earlier.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Management, Communication, Customer care
What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
Delegation, always know when to delegate, you can’t do everything on your own