Damilola Otufodunrin, an Entrepreneur who has Transformed Fashion Ecosystem in Nigeria

by Denis Opudo

The CEO of Damsco, Damilola Otufodunrin holds a bachelor degree in Arts. He pursued his first-degree programme from the University of Lagos. The company is a clothing industry that designs various styles of men wear in Nigeria. He loved fashion and is now mentoring the fashion startups in Lagos.

He said during a recent interview that the idea of fashion begun while he was still a student at the University of Lagos. He trained himself about them through the YouTube. The company started from a humble background in 2013. It was previously known as the Damsco clothing company. The focus of the company was in making clothing for both men and women. The company now specialized in the men suit wears. It is also offering consultancy services for fashion entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

The CEO noted that he had a talent in fashion and design since his childhood. Mr. Otufodunrin explained that his love for fashion intensified when in his second years. He had an added advantage of taking some creative art courses. He also learned more about business and entrepreneurship to sharpen his management skills.

 He also said that most startups fail due to lack of professionalism. The other reason is poor understanding of the industry. He noted that customer satisfaction and quality products are the key elements for success.

Surprisingly, he said that his startup started without any initial capital. He took the advantage of the opportunities at the campus. In Lagos, most of the law students preferred wearing neat white shirts. He began by ironing and washing for them the shirts. The number increased rapidly which mad him to launch his business

Concerning the stiff competition in the market, the CEO responded that his company uses innovation and technology. This has allowed him to be ahead of his competitors who do not value the role of innovation. The company also conducts in-depth market research about the consumer behavior. Additionally, the company designs clothes based on the demand and the occasion.

Mr. Otufodunrin noted that Nigeria is the second largest fashion hub in the continent after South Africa. He illustrated that more than seventy percent of Diaspora wears come from Lagos. He also gave an example of Michel Obama who prefers Maki OH designs. There are many prominent designers in Nigeria as well. They collectively put the country in the international market. They include Mai Atafo, Maki HO, and Tiffany Amber Lisa Folawiyo Lanre Da Silva among others.

He also explained that fashion industry is one of the most diversified sectors in the country. It attracts several stakeholders from various professions and specializations. They comprise of the fashion editors, international runway models, and professional stylist. Others are the big time fashion schools, makeup artists, fashion photographers among others.

Concerning the challenges he faces, Mr. Otufodunrin pointed out the shortage of power supply in the fashion industry.

Lastly, he explained that his company has realized the first growth rate in the last three years. The company began with only one tailor but is now having several designing machines. The startup currently has many employees. The fashion startup has customers both within and outside Nigeria.


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