Saturday, 22 January 2022


Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture (187)

  • Creative Director at EstherMelange Clothing and Tailoring
  • Studied at University of Ibadan

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Posted On Sunday, 28 September 2014 18:30 Written by

Mix and match colour pairings

Kerry Washington's baby pink and royal blue pairing reminds us of the fact that it's the unlikely colour matches that make the best outfit statements. Try something different on the colour spectrum.

Posted On Sunday, 28 September 2014 13:18 Written by

Nigeria music star, Davido and South Africa duo, Mafikizolo lead the nominees list of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA 2014 announced early this week in Lagos.

As the six-week voting process stirs fever pitch excitement, Davido and Mafikizolo picked six nominations each. They were trailed by Uhuru (South Africa) with five nominations and Mi Casa (South Africa) with four nominations.

Leading the budding music acts on AFRIMA nominees’ list is Temi DollFace (Nigeria) also with four nominations.

Other multiple nominees include Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) two nominations, Amr Diab (Egypt) two nominations, Zahara (South Africa) three nominations, Angelique Kidjo (Benin Republic) two nominations, Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) two nominations, Wiyaala (Ghana) three nominations; Patoranking (Nigeria) two nominations; and Noura Mint Seymale (Mauritania) with two nominations.



Fally Ipupa (DRC) and Sakordie (Ghana) bag one nomination each.

Nigeria’s top producer, Don Jazzy made the Africa Producer of the Year category for the song ‘Eminado’ alongside top contenders like Robbie Malinga & Mojela Thebe (South Africa) for ‘Impilo’; Oskido and Shizzi (Nigeria) for ‘Tchelete’; Mikky Me (Nigeria) Down and Del B (Nigeria) for ‘Pull Over’.

Giving details into the criteria used to pick the nominees, Matlou Tsotetsi, Chairman, International Media Committee, explained that the jury panel adhered strictly to the entry submission requirements while being guided by AFRIMA’s core values of FACE IT –Fairness, Authenticity, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity and Transparency.

While 30 of the 33 award categories will be open for voting by the public and AFRIMA Academy of Voters, Mike Dada, Executive Producer/President, AFRIMA, revealed that recipients of the AFRIMA Legend Award and the Africa Entertainment/Music Journalist Award will be decided by the International Committee of AFRIMA and announced at the main awards ceremony coming up on Sunday, 9 November in Lagos.

Dada added that the AFRIMA voting online platform will open on Tuesday, 30 September for the five-week voting process, while encouraging the public, fans and followers of African music to visit the AFRIMA website.

Posted On Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:16 Written by
In light of the fact that there are many ebony brides weddings this season, I have been trying to think or imagine what hairstyle will suit their faces, or attires for the wedding. Well, today's article is a little something to help out on that, so you need not to worry. Everything in todays write up is an old wine poured in a new cup. Okay, lets go.
Number one: The Oval Face
You have a face shaped like an egg, your facial structure is strong, you have high cheek bones, or your face is shaped like the end of a spoon, then yes you fall under this category, now what you want to do is to draw attention to the striking features of your face, even though no matter what hairstyle you have on, it would still look pretty, we suggest a bun or a hair lift as shown below, they look best, make your neck seem longer, help balance your shoulders out for a graceful look and if you have big or broad shoulders, it makes your shoulders appear slimmer and firm.
oval face1 - Copy
Oval face 1
oval face - Copy
Oval face
Number two: The Love Face
Your face is shaped like a heart, if your unsure in front of a mirror, try to trace a heart on your face using the tips of your fingers. you have a unique look, and people can hardly understand, but you hear things such as there is something about your face. Well yes, you should try a wrap, so it lands somewhere on top of your head, it brings out the shape of your head, and accentuates the shape of your face.
love shaped face - Copy
Love shaped face
Number three: Baby/Cute Face
Looking at your face, people tend to think you are way younger than your age, and its a good thing, you have this cute, angelic look, God took his time with your face, you can have any hairstyle on, you will always have a cute look, but make sure whatever hairstyle you choose, you have a nice huge, mature hair accessory as well.
Number Four: Square Face
Your face is four cornered, you will need to drop some part of your hair towards your face to cover some edges of your face, determine the best side of your face, and drop hair on the side of your face that you don't really like to show.
square face - Copy
Square face
Number Five: Fore Head
You have a fore head, beautiful you cannot go wrong with pulling your hair back into a slim bun that is if you have the intention of wearing a Grecian head piece, if not go for the C- Part and the low big bun.
fore head
Number Six: Plump Face/Round Face
You have a round face the best hairstyles are to drop your hair and preferably wear waves or curls into your hair for that day. You have a plump face, wear a huge bun which doesnt have to be in one shape but a huge bun in different shapes, it helps pull your face back and create the illusion of having an oval face, also it helps you seem slimmer if you are on the plus side.
round face - Copy
Round face
plump face - Copy
Plump face
Number Seven: Flat Face
Flat face, you have n choice but to go for a semi hair lift and have nice accessories on it as well to keep attention towards your hair and make up, and give the illusion of a fuller face.
flat face
Flat face
I hope I have been of help.
Follow me on Instagram: @elarosefashions/izabeli12; Twitter: @elaela284
Till next week!
Ela Rose
Posted On Saturday, 06 September 2014 11:29 Written by

Popular Ghanaian actress, Yvonne Nelson, tells Ademola Olonilua about her fashion and style

How did you get into acting?

It is a funny story actually. Sometime ago, I went to buy food somewhere close to where a movie audition was taking place. I had placed my order earlier but the food was taking so long, so I decided to wait in the car. When I was going back to take my order, a guy named Abdul stopped me and asked if I had written down my name. I didn’t know what he was talking about, so he explained it was a movie audition. I told him I came for something else. Van Vicker was also there for the audition and when the guy saw me talking to Van, he later got my number from him and called me. When I met him, he was on set, then, he gave me a script and that was how I started acting.

What was your life ambition when you were much younger?

I was into music when I was young and I listened to a lot of songs daily. I actually thought I would go into music. So, for me, entertaining people started at an early age. In school, I was always on stage whenever there was an event and everybody knew me as a musician right from my primary school to secondary. When people saw me at Miss Ghana pageant, they were surprised especially because I was dressed like a girl. I was always on stage acting like a tomboy.

At what point did you stop being a tomboy and began acting like a girl?

I would say it was when I went for Miss Ghana pageant. I won the Best Talent category with my rap when I was asked to showcase my talent. I had to stop being a tomboy because we were always wearing shoes with high heels and dresses; there was no choice for me because I had to wear them. The grooming during the competition changed me.

What was your experience during the beauty pageant?

I was very young and still a teenager as of that time. I was still writing exams to get into the university and it was very challenging for me. I was the youngest among the contestants and it changed a lot of things about me.

Who influenced you to go for the pageant?

My best friend, Karen Okata, convinced me. Somehow, people always convince me to do some things. She told me she saw a competition on the television about Miss Ghana audition and that I should go for it instead of wasting my height. I declined initially because I was a little chubby and slightly curvy. Eventually I went for it and I was told to work on my shape, and that if I was lucky, they would audition me during the zonal stage and if I passed, I would be among the final 20 girls for the main event. I decided to give it a try and I began working on my diet, grooming myself by walking in shoes with high heels.

How tall are you?

I am precisely 6 feet.

Does your height intimidate men around you?

A lot of people get intimidated even when I am shooting on set. Some of my colleagues complain a lot about my height. Anytime I wear high heeled shoes, it is like a problem because if I am being paired with people I am taller than and I wear shoes with high heels, it makes them uncomfortable. A lot of people get intimidated, guys get intimidated.

What influences your style?

Nothing influences my style; I just wake up and wear anything. I have a shop as well. My fans inspired me to open a shop. I have a lot of clothes and I just pick any of them when going out. I know what looks good on me, what complements my body and how to play around with what I wear. I don’t really follow trends. If I like the clothe and my stomach does not look too big in it, why wouldn’t I wear it? As far as you are happy with how you look, that is the most important thing. The way you look actually boosts your confidence level.

How come you do not have any tattoos or extra piercings on your body?

I don’t even like wearing earrings. I haven’t worn any earrings for about five years. I can wear them in a movie but I’m not a fan. I don’t think it adds any extra beauty to a girl. I just don’t like it, it makes me feel uncomfortable and as if I’m overdressed. It makes my face look busy and I don’t like it. I like jewellery; I love wrist watches and rings too. I do not have any tattoo mainly because of the pain. I believe I have a beautiful skin, imagine how I always brag about my legs and I put a tattoo on it, why would I do that? I would not mind getting a tattoo, writing my mother’s first name somewhere on my body but it is just not my style. It is not something I think about. I see it on people and some of them are really nice because it is artistic.

Would you say your legs are your best asset when it comes to your body?

No. I don’t think it is my best asset although it is one of my favourites. I don’t think I have a best asset. I like everything about my body. I believe everybody should say that their eyes are their best asset because without your eyes you cannot see the world. I would say my eyes are my best asset; it is actually a big deal.

How come most of your pictures online are bikini shots?

I have not heard of anybody who would go to the beach wearing jeans and a jacket. I love going to the beach and anytime I go there, I love wearing a bikini to swim. Recently, my friend had an event and the after party was at a club. In the club, I was telling my friends that I don’t know how people do it, coming to club to have fun. To start with, you cannot make a conversation with someone because you are screaming on top of your voice. I was there drinking water, I don’t smoke and everybody was looking at me as if I was a boring person. In essence, the night life is not for me becasue it does not make me happy. I don’t think you have to go to club to have a nice time. I believe having a nice time depends on the quality of people around you.

What is your favourite colour?

Pink is among my favourite colours but I love black. I don’t know but there is something about black.

How often do you go shopping?

I shop a lot; I am very guilty of shopping a lot. I may not go for bags and shoes but I love clothes. I have some that are still in my closet since last year and I have not worn them. It is not because I am keeping them for anything but because I have not got there yet. It is like there is a queue and I think it is also because of my shop. Most of the things I have in my shop, I actually handpick them. It is a business for me and that is why I have a lot of them. When I am buying goods for my shop, I could end up buying three and keep one for myself.

What is your most expensive fashion accessory?

It would be my bag. It is my Hermes bag, I am not going to say how much it cost me but it is a lot of money. You know when you buy something and then sit to ask yourself, ‘what have I done?’ It cost me that much. I am sure everybody has felt that way before.

Some months ago, people attacked you for bleaching. Did you bleach your skin?

I can’t blame anyone, ignorance sets in because people don’t get to see us one on one so they rely on what we put out for them to see. For example, anytime I post a picture online, I edit it and it tends to make me look lighter. On my Instagram account, there are pictures where I am quite dark; they are for magazine covers and I don’t do anything to them, but anytime I am posting a picture, I always use filter on Instagram and they make me look lighter. In my new movie, I look very dark and that is my real complexion. I have come to realise that people love stories like that. I guess I am the cause of the rumours but I would still keep editing my pictures before putting them online.

Posted On Saturday, 02 August 2014 19:28 Written by

South Africa-based Miss Akwa Ibom, Iheoma Nnadi, on Friday night, in Yenagoa got crowned as the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria for the year 2014.

Nnadi topped the 30 contestants who represented 30 Nigerian states at the event, which was held at Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Through this feat 19-year old, Nnadi, who also won the N3 million prize money, and a saloon car, will represent Nigeria at the Miss World beauty pageant holding in the United Kingdom later in the year.

Miss Edo, Queen Celestine, 22, emerged first runner-Up and Miss Kwara, Chinyere Adogu, 21, was the second runner-up.

Miss Edo also won the ‘Miss Amity’ prize and will represent Nigeria at the ‘Miss Universe’ beauty pageant while Miss Kwara, who also won the ‘Miss Charismatic’ prize, will also represent Nigeria at the ‘Miss Tourism’ beauty pageant later this year.

Other winners were Miss Kogi, Erica Nlewedim, 20, who won ‘Miss Photogenic; Miss Delta, Fortune Woko, 23, winner of ‘Best Traditional Costume’ and Miss Gombe, Precious John, 22, adjudged the ‘MBGN Model 2014’.

The event that was organised by the Silverbird Group was themed “The Art of Beauty”.

The contestants first appeared on stage in their traditional outfits at the invitation of the hosts of the event, IK Osakioduwa and Yvonne Ekwere.

The hosts also revealed that in a bid to foster unity and encourage more interaction among states, contestants would all be representing states other than theirs.

Their next appearance on stage was in short red skirts and body-hugging shirts and performed a choreographed routine to the tune of Davido’s ‘Aye’. Their next appearance was in their swim suits before finally putting on their evening gowns for the results.

First they were reduced by half and the contestants who made it into the Top 15 were those representing Bayelsa, Kogi, Ondo, Adamawa, Delta, Abuja, Kano, Edo, Imo, Anambra, Lagos, Kwara, Osun, and Akwa ibom.

The contestant representing Plateau State, Josephine Oghonoghor, 22, was voted in the Top 15 by viewers who participated through the social media.

The top five were then selected, and they were: Miss Osun, Endurance Akpoyibo (23); Miss Abuja, Princess Dennar (20), Miss Kwara, Miss Edo and Miss Akwa Ibom before the winners were announced.

Speaking after winning the crown, Nnadi said that she was overwhelmed and that she never expected she was going to become the queen even though she was confident of herself.

She promised to be a good queen and will represent Nigeria honourably and responsibly, at international events throughout her reign.

The Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, who spoke through his deputy, Rear Admiral Jonah John (rtd.), welcomed everyone to the “Open arms” of Bayelsa.

“We are trying to unlock the potentials of Bayelsa. Our state is organised in a purposeful manner and this is just the beginning,” he said.

NAN reports that the MBGN beauty pageant was founded in 1986 by Ben Murray-Bruce of the Silverbird Group; and the immediate past queen was Miss Anna Banner who represented Bayelsa in 2013.

Posted On Sunday, 20 July 2014 11:59 Written by

As I have had the privilege to be part of some wedding mornings, I thought it might be useful to write an article on how to have a stress free morning, as I don't think enough emphasis is put on the start to your wedding day.

  • Start by unwinding the night before. Try a massage the night before, and feel your shoulders leave your ears and return to where they should be; as we know Fridays are total overload.
  • Like many brides you may not have a perfect night’s sleep the night before your wedding, but don’t worry, adrenalin is your best friend on your wedding day. It will sweep you through and hold you up, and there is almost no other time this will happen so enjoy it.
  • Make sure you do not leave any arrangements to your wedding day. These should all be done the day before at the latest so you can completely de-stress on the day, knowing everything is done, better still hire an event coordinator and give instructions on what you would like.
  • Breakfast is a must, even if you feel too nervous to eat, just manage to get something in to you; it’s a long day and you don't want to faint at a key moment. It can be something you wouldn’t normally eat for breakfast... even chocolate!
  • If you are getting ready at a hotel, take your music player. If you have any time at all beforehand you could record some great music that will relax you or get you going. You will not only be relaxed and less nervous, but you will also have a little mix that will always remind you of your wedding morning.
  • Surround yourself with the right people! Don't overlook this advice. I have seen many well meaning guests, mums, friends etc on the morning of a wedding, but sometimes they can shift their anxieties on to you, and you don't need this. Visitors can be ok but they should not linger. You should also really have a minimum number of girlies with you, as lots of girls together can be mass hysteria and that should maybe be saved for the end of the morning when you are in your dress admiring yourself. Surround yourself with your chosen special friends/mum and get them to keep the others at bay or make it clear the day before. You will be seeing everyone at the wedding so you can save yourself until then.
  • Change of heart about your style? Try and inform your stylist that you are having second thoughts about your look before the wedding morning. It will be stressful for both of you if she can't get the look you wanted on your wedding morning. This can be avoided by having a last minute trial if you are having doubts.
  • Have your dress hanging up out of its cover and all your shoes and accessories laid out, with the labels cut off all your gleaming new things. This will help you and the photographer when they come to take those all important detailed shots.
  • Breathe, and take it all as you head for the altar.

Ela Rose seeks to use this opportunity to wish my childhood friend and customer of the first half of the year Princess Adenike Tejuoso and her husband Prince Dayo Tejuoso, marital bliss and fulfilment and affording Ela Rose the opportunity to increase her social, and business circle.

To contact Ela Rose:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook: Izabeli presents Ela Rose

Twitter: @elaela284

Instagram: @elarosefashions

Posted On Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:31 Written by

Yesterday, one of Nigeria’s most accomplished journalists and wordsmiths, Daniel Ochima Agbese, clocked 70. He was born on May 20, 1944 into Agila royalty in Okpowu Local Government of Benue State. It speaks volumes of the man’s character that few of his acquaintances, and proportionately fewer still of the millions of readers he must have gathered in his long and illustrious – but hardly materially rewarding – career as a columnist, journalist and author, ever knew he was a prince. All his life he’d always referred to himself as simply Mister, apparently because he did not suffer from the superiority complex of your typical Nigerian Big Man.

Yet Dan, as those on a first name basis with him call him, had sufficient virtues to make him feel proud and superior to most Nigerians. To begin with, God gave him a good head and a way with words. This was obvious from his academic career which begun in earnest when he returned to the classroom in 1970 after a three-year teaching career followed by another year as a library assistant and ending with a four-year stint as a staff writer with the New Nigerian during its heydays in the late sixties. Before all this he had attended Government Teachers Training College, Keffi, between 1960 and 1962.

It was as a staff writer under the tutelage of Malam Adamu Ciroma, the first indigenous editor of the New Nigerian and the creator and principal author of the famous humour columnist, the anonymous Candido, that Dan left to pursue a degree in Journalism at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the second university in the country after the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), to establish a degree course in the profession.

At UNILAG, Dan became a prize winning student and, upon graduation in 1973, earned himself a second class upper division. That, in combination with a three-year stint as the chief sub-editor of the Nigeria Standard, then published by the then Benue-Plateau State, must have earned him a place in 1976/77 to do a Masters degree at probably the best Journalism school in the world and custodian of the most prestigious journalism awards world-wide (The Pulitzer) – the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, New York City.

As with UNILAG so it was with Columbia; there he became the best of the 16 international students in the class and among the best of its entire 160 students.

Dan’s fascination with and love of the written word probably dated back to his days as a library assistance – possibly before. His move from there to the New Nigerian seemed then natural enough; after all, the written word is the principal commodity of both.

Once he returned to class to read journalism it seemed he had made up his mind to stick with it as his life-time career and forget about being a librarian. However, as the man himself said in an interview with the newsmagazine Verbatim (October 21, 2013) which looks like an offshoot of the defunct (?) Newswatch he co-founded in 1985 with the late Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu and Yakubu Mohammed – all three of them among the country’s best and brightest journalists and columnists – he developed second thoughts about remaining a journalist after graduation while still a student at Columbia.

“Actually as far back as 1977, when I was in graduate school in the US,” he said, “I didn’t think I was returning to journalism, I thought I was going into book publishing. This was because I had had a long association with book publishing from the period of my youth service in 1973/1974. I was a reader for Heinemann educational books in Ibadan, and so I picked up a lot of interest in writing books. And I had hoped that if I returned I would set up a book publishing company, but it didn’t work out that way.”

As things turned out, Dan stuck to Journalism. However, even though he did not become a book publisher, he wrote several of them. Indeed he wrote enough to make him the most prolific author among Nigerian journalists since time.

So far the man has six books to his credit, three of them (The Reporter’s Companion, The Columnist’s CompanionandStyle: A Guide to Good Writing), practical guides to Journalism that should be compulsory reading in all our Journalism schools, one (Nigeria, Their Nigeria), a satirical dig at Nigerians and their country after the fashion of that famous evergreen, How to be a Nigerian, by Peter Enahoro, whose editorship of a national newspaper at 26 in the early sixties remains unbeaten, and two (Fellow Nigerians: Turning Points in the Political History of Nigeria and IBRAHIM BABANGIDA: The Military, Politics and Power in Nigeria, to date, the most authoritative and most definitive biography of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, the man whose eight-year military rule has re-defined the country’s political economy like no other before and after him) on Nigeria’s politics.

Dan has also edited three books, Newswatch Conversation With Babangida, The Energy Crisis in Nigeria andIn the Service of My Country: Selected Speeches of Abdullahi Adamu, the two-term civilian governor of Nasarawa State.

All books are a reader’s delight for their readability, insight, humour and precision. Take, for instance, his virtue of readability. Dan began Chapter Two of the book with a quote from Jim Rohn, the late American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. “Learn to express, not to impress,” he quoted Rohn as saying. Dan kept faith with the motivational speaker in all his books and columns; he never wrote to impress anyone. Instead, he used everyday words, used concrete words instead of the abstract, used simple rather than convoluted sentence structure, etc. In short, the man was a stickler for all the rules in the manuals on how to write well.

Five years after Newswatch came out, the company decided to compile its house style. “I was,” he said, “assigned the task. I still don’t know why.” This wasn’t false modesty; all his three colleagues were good to write the house style. But then even the most casual reader of the man could see why; of all the magazine’s four co-founders, he was the most experienced, and arguably the most expressive, writer.

Take for another example, his virtue of humour, one of the several tools he listed in The Columnist’s Companion as useful, even necessary, for effective punditry. In his preface to The Reporter’s Companion which he dedicated to his first daughter, Aje-Ori, who had paid the ultimate tribute to her father by going one better in taking a doctorate degree in Mass Communication and teaching it at a university abroad, he said he had intended it to be a guide for sound editorial judgement for editors. “More or less midstream,” he said, “I changed horses – for the love of reporters. This book is evidence that you can change horses midstream.”

Obviously all those Peoples Democratic Party chieftains, most notably Chief Bode George and Dr Amadu Ali, who told Nigerians in the heat of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Third Term campaign in 2005 that it would be disastrous for Nigerians to change horses midstream never read Dan’s book.

Again in his introduction to Style, which took him ten years to write, he said he missed several deadlines which he could not explain. “Several deadlines,” he said, “were given for the completion of the style book. All of them were breached…Well, if you wait long enough for a miracle it always happens. So there.” It’s hard to beat such self-deprecating sense of humour as a tool for effective writing.

Among Dan’s virtues were not only his good head and a way with the written word. The man also possessed the courage of his convictions and a diligence for accuracy, balance and fairness in pursuing news stories. I saw these and other virtues first hand as his deputy when he edited New Nigerian between 1982 and 1984.

Before him I had acted as the editor for 11 eleven months. I was denied confirmation because the management and chieftains of the ruling National Party of Nigeria said I was too headstrong. Instead, Dan was brought in as editor at the time he was the Director of Information in Benue State, then also ruled by the NPN.

Clearly there was politics in his appointment but it was an appointment no one, certainly not I, could quarrel with; Dan was older and much more experienced as a journalist than me by the time he was appointed.

Four years after his appointment, if those in authority thought they had a lapdog for an editor it became obvious to them that they made a great misjudgement. Day in day out Dan published stories and ran editorials that they found uncomfortable. When he was not running such awkward stories he was rejecting stories the authorities tried to foist on him that were clearly more public relations than news.

Posted On Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:31 Written by

Journalists Beyond Borders, a media & entertainment company based in New York is seeking to engage a crop of female volunteers in Nigeria to fill up several marketing and advertising department positions. The candidates must be university undergraduates in any Nigerian university, or recent graduates of any discipline. They may be based in any part of the country.

The positions are only open to female candidates. The candidates must be aged 18 or above. The positions do not come with any salary, but are commission-based. The opportunity can be very financially rewarding for a goal-oriented candidate. The position can open all sorts of doors.

Candidates are expected to have strong interest in working for a media & entertainment organization. They must be stylish, well-spoken, energetic self- starters, and entrepreneurial-minded young women hoping to make additional income on the side. They must be passionate and bubbling with ideas. They must be ready to operate with little or no supervision.

Journalists Beyond Borders is a media & entertainment outfit which publishes a host of websites such as,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, etc.

Send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Attach a brief CV, and photo, with contact details. Also attach a video of yourself, telling us about yourself and your qualities, and what you can bring to our media and entertainment outfit.

Posted On Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:42 Written by

Adeola Adeuja, 26, the founder of Esther Mélange Clothing, tells IFE ADEDAPO the need to be creative and take advantage of opportunities to excel in business

What does your business entail?

We specialise in making and selling professionally tailored wears, making use of carefully selected sophisticated fabrics. We use Western and African traditional fabrics to create classy designs that accentuate both the male and female figures. For now, the brand has three different lines which are the heritage, noble and bridal.

What was your growing up like?

Growing up was challenging for me because I lost my dad when I was four years old, so my mother single-handedly trained my brother and I. What I am today, I owe it to God and my mother. My education was a bit fast, at age four, I was already in primary one, started my secondary education at age nine and wrote my WAEC exam at age 14. Soon after, I gained admission into the university.

As a child, I wanted to do everything. I wrote a lot of unpublished books. I would bake cake and all kinds of pastries. At the same time, I practically turned our backyard into a farm. I planted a lot of crops such as yam, tomatoes, and pineapples. I also went into horticulture and surrounded the house with a lot of beautiful flowers, some of which are still in my compound. At a point, my mother got confused because I would plait my friend’s hair and make clothes for dolls with needle and thread and redesign my clothes. Also, at the sight of Benita on the television I wanted to become a musician.

I joined the drama group in school because I really love acting too. In my first year in the secondary school, we acted a drama called ‘Rags to riches’ in which I played a major role. We did so well that the drama was taken to a cinema hall and people had to pay to watch us then.

How did you get involved in business?

As I grew older, my love for fashion design superseded all others. I realised I like making people look good. I would sketch my designs and give to tailors to make but it was sad that they never got them right; so I decided to learn how to sew. Initially, I trained as an apprentice and later proceeded to a fashion school after my National Youth Service Corps programme. I started making my designs and people appreciated them on me. Before I finished from the fashion school, I was already receiving overwhelming orders from people. It was really demanding for me but I enjoyed what I was doing and I was making money from it.

What challenges have you been facing?

At first, electricity was my major challenge but this was solved when I started running on generator because there was really no way we could do a perfect work without electricity, even though it increased our expenditure. The job is quite demanding; as a fashion designer, one needs to combine creativity with managerial skills. One must be highly creative to combine colours, shades and textures. Then designing for people with different personalities, values, and lifestyles comes to mind. I overcame this by learning on my own how to work for people with different personalities, styles and values so I always have in mind the adventurous, the conservative and the simply elegant. That aside, fashion is dynamic and you have to be on your toes all the time so as to be relevant.

Another problem we constantly encounter is getting committed tailors to work with. Most young people prefer white collar jobs. Most of the people we get are the Togolese or Senegalese. Even after giving them so much, they still betray one; they take off without any notice and sometimes take some of your customers along.

How did you start Esther Mélange Clothing?

It all started in my bedroom in 2009; from the and later to the corridor, sitting room and now where we are today. It began officially in 2011, which means the company is just two-years-old. Over the two years, EM Clothing had grown as though it has existed for years. Our combination of high sense of creativity and style, colour expertise, good taste and optimum attention to details make the brand a sought after. Our clientele which also consists of prominent people in the society has grown tremendously and I can say that 80 per cent of our customers came through referral. We also train interested youths, some have graduated and are doing fine already.

What strategies did you adopt to expand the business?

I believe when a man commits his ways unto God, his plans will be established; so that was what I did. The other thing involves hard work and determination. There were times I would work overnight, sometimes stay up late trying to meet up with some customer’s demands because I was working all alone and getting overwhelmed. For me, I made it a point of duty from the beginning never to disappoint my customers. Once we agreed on any day of collection, I made sure the clothes were ready, even if it meant working overnight. And that has really helped the business to grow.

I also attend fashion shows to network with other designers and get updates on fashion trends.

Apart from that, I spend a lot of time developing myself. I read books and attend seminars.

Being focused is another strategy that has paid off. I had some discouragement from people. Even the ones you thought would support were among those who discouraged me. Even my mother is yet to come to terms with the fact that this is what I really want to do for a living. There were times we had serious arguments on this issue. She encouraged me to take a second degree which I did and even though she is happy with my progress in the business, she just does not want me to stop there. So, the ability to stay focus in the midst of confusion is important.

What plans do you have for the future?

Our plan is to take the Nigerian fashion industry to another level. There are opportunities for growing; there is always room for improvement. God willing, I will like to make Esther Mélange a household name in Nigeria, Africa and the world as a whole.

What impact are you making on the society?

We derive pleasure in teaching interested youths the art of fashion design. We have trained a number of youths who have also started something on their own.

We make the concept of tailoring very simple by offering a step by step tutelage to enable even a novice to comprehend. Last November, we organised a free training in basic tailoring for two weeks which many people benefitted from. That is our own little way of giving back to the society.

What advice do you have for young unemployed graduates?

It breaks my heart when I see graduates searching for job for years when they should be creating these jobs. I believe everyone has talents; all we need to do is discover and develop it. Let us all find something to do and strive to be the best at it. There are a lot of opportunities out there. All we have to do is take advantage of them. We need to be really creative to identify these opportunities. It may not be easy initially but it is always worth it in the long run.

Would you take a paid employment if the need arise?

That is one question I was wishing you would not ask. Well personally, the answer is no. Why would I want to work for anyone when I can use the same energy, time and talents to develop my business? The Nigerian labour market is not even for young talents like us. No training, no seminars and workshops, just the same routine every day; how do we develop ourselves in such an environment? However, if I have to, the pay had better be quadruple what I am making now.

Do you have mentors and what have you learnt from them?

My mother is my major mentor. I learnt hard work, perseverance, patience and tolerance, among other things from her. Another person is my boss, Mrs. Ronke Olubanjo; she and her husband taught me so many things.


Posted On Monday, 10 February 2014 15:12 Written by
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