AY STITCH is a brand owned by Okundare Ayomide who is a pharmacy student. He shared with us how he started at the age of 16 and what impact starting from willingness has done for him. Read and be motivated.
STREETCATED: What’s your name?
AY STITCH: My name is Okundare Ayomide
STREETCATED: Where do you school?
AY STITCH: I am a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University.
STREETCATED: What is your course of study and level?
AY STITCH: I am studying Pharmacy. 400l.
STREETCATED: Give us a brief educational background
AY STITCH: I attended OOU primary school and secondary school at ago iwoye, so basically, I have been in ago for a while.
STREETCATED: What kind of business do you do?
AY STITCH: I am a fashion designer, I started at the age of 16.
STREETCATED: Why did you start?
AY STITCH: I met someone who came to my mum’s shop and he was asking after my brother because my brother is a guitarist, so he received a call about clothes and after he dropped the call I asked him ” are you a fashion designer?” He said yes and I asked him if I can learn and he said okay but he doesn’t have a shop yet that I should create my own design and when he has his own shop, he’d call me.
STREETCATED: So, you actually know how to design before even pedaling a sewing machine?
AY STITCH: Absolutely
STREETCATED: How about the designs you sketched?
AY STITCH: I still have them and I am working on them because then they seem impossible but now they are possible.
STREETCATED: So, you started out of willingness to learn fashion?
AY STITCH: Yes, I did at 16.
AY STITCH: My friends then asked me what else do I need because I was out of secondary school and already gained admission into the university. To them it’s the less privileged that do acquire skills. It turned out good for me because I wasnt thinking of doing it for money.
STREETCATED: So, you’re not doing it for money?
AY STITCH: Then, I wasn’t doing it for money but out of passion. But now, it seems money comes before the passion itself.
STREETCATED: How many designs did you sketch?
AY STITCH: I did a lot even though they were not possible then but now I think they are.
STREETCATED: What were the challenges you faced when you started?
AY STITCH: I faced a lot of challenges but the major one is balancing school with learning fashion. Putting your mind in one place to learn what you want to learn and still read for in course.
STREETCATED: So, you’ve gained admission and you were still learning?
AY STITCH: Yes, I have and I still go to the shop and most times I spend more time at the shop I was learning from. I have to be in school by 8, get back to work around 4 and get home late. It was like that when I was an apprentice. I worked more than other apprentice who were not even going to school then and my boss surprised me with a generator.
STREETCATED: And at that time, it wasn’t for money?
AY STITCH: Yes, it wasn’t for money.
OKUNDARE AYOMIDE CEO AY STITCH
STREETCATED: How many years did you learn fashion designing?
AY STITCH: I actually learnt from two people. I spent a year and half at the first place and the second place, I spent a year with them. Two and half years in total… Then my mum just brought the idea of getting my own machine.
STREETCATED: So, she actually supports you doing this?
AY STITCH: Sure, right from day one.
STREETCATED: How about your dad?
AY STITCH: Right from the start too… So, I have their full-time support.
STREETCATED: And they didn’t tell you to bring home the best result?
AY STITCH: Not really
STREETCATED: They didn’t emphasize on you being the best in class?
AY STITCH: Sure, you have to be the best in class and you have to be the best in life too.
STREETCATED: Will you say they are proud of you now?
AY STITCH: I guess now they are really proud of me because I’m doing their wish and I am making my own wish come through. It’s a big-time opportunity for them to see their son coming up at a tender age doing something this big.
STREETCATED: How were you able to overcome those challenges you faced?
AY STITCH: At first, it affected me because I had carryovers in year one. I knew this was going to affect me, so I had to go back to clear all my carryovers and I also went back to improve my skills. So, coming to sagamu, I came with a full force, with my machine and everything else.
STREETCATED: Who got the machine for you?
AY STITCH: The first machine was gotten for me before my birthday by my mum. I got the rest myself doing this business.
STREETCATED: What is the drive behind all this?
AY STITCH: Let me say, when I look up to people like Yomi casual doing clothes and making millions, having houses and fleet of cars even some CEOs can’t use, I am always motivated to work better.
STREETCATED: What are the changes you’ve seen since you’ve started?
AY STITCH: I have improved in my work and I’m still willing to improve more. I learn from school, nature and all. I don’t joke with learning when it comes to fashion and school. Fashion is almost my line.
STREETCATED: How do you do it when you have exam coming and you must deliver?
AY STITCH: When it comes to exam, there’s time to sew and time to stop sewing and cover the machines. A month to exam I stop receiving work and increase my price so that only few can come in and if possible, I reject all. I can still make money after exam because I don’t go home for break. I let them know I’m a student and not a full-time fashion designer.
STREETCATED: So basically, you don’t hustle for customers?
AY STITCH: Yes, because my work speaks for itself.
STREETCATED: How many hours do you spend on making a cloth?
AY STITCH: It depends on my moods and also the style I am dealing with. Some take 2 hours and some take more. I love working in a good mood too.
STREETCATED: How much do you charge?
AY STITCH: It depends on the style too. I charge based on quality of material, style, time spent working on it and the brain work. Some people complain I’m too expensive but I have to.
STREETCATED: Do you prefer getting the fabric or the customer bringing his?
AY STITCH: Anyone is fine but don’t bring design for me. I’ll change the design because someone created the design and I think I can do better too.
STREETCATED: How was your first job like?
AY STITCH: The first job was for my brother, he really supports me a lot. Right from my first job, I already knew I already knew I was going far in fashion. My brother goes for programs a lot, so I make clothes for him and people compliment me for my work and I get clients in the process.
STREETCATED: Your customers, are they students alone?
AY STITCH: Most of them are not really from OOU, I don’t really work for students because normally students don’t pay more, you have to understand them and all and by the time you do, they won’t pay and take you for granted. So, my clients are always out there… a few are students. I just style my brother up and get clients from him, WhatsApp and all other social media.
STREETCATED: Do you have a fixed price?
AY STITCH: Not really, though I have but by the time I start analyzing it to a client they’d be shocked.
STREETCATED: Do you consider yourself a tailor, stylist or fashion designer?
AY STITCH: Well I started as a tailor, which means knowing how to cut and sew what you see, like a copy and paste thing. If you are good being a tailor, you need to upgrade into a fashion designer and a stylist. Before you reach a stylist, you must know how to create design and improvise. A fashion designer is more of a stylist because you can now combine colours and know how to Match them.
So, its from a tailor to a fashion designer then to a stylist.
STREETCATED: How do you gain their trust?
AY STITCH: As a fashion designer you have to gain trust from your customers because most of them want you to just remain as a tailor. You need to gain their trust and do the work of both fashion designer and a stylist job for them.
AY STITCH: You have to show them your work and you have to prove yourself continually. You have to have someone that’ll trust you even when things go wrong. It gives people the confidence to give you their clothes to sew.
STREETCATED: How do someone grow in this line of business?
AY STITCH: Let me say, God determines that. Because you have to pass through wilderness, you need to pass through a lot of challenges to be able to be successful in this line of business.
STREETCATED: What are the processes involve in making clothes?
AY STITCH: 1. You must choose the right fabric. When you chose the wrong one, youve missed everything, youll miss the wow, people will say, the it’s beautiful, the I like it and all the accolades that you’re supposed to have.
2. You need to have a good design in mind. Some design won’t go with some type of fabric while some will. You need to know what will work for a particular type of fabric.
3. Cutting too matters a lot. People believe it’s difficult but you have to be good in basic mathematics. My knowledge in technical drawing helped me too and I do research in why we use 3 inches or 5inches is some certain places. I like questioning the normal principle so that I can understand what I am doing fully.
4. Know that fashion is involving. Like some design I see as mistakes then are not now. Because fashion is funny, sometimes the mistakes beautify the cloth. You must have you own story for every cloth you make.
5. Sewing is a vital part too… Cutting is a thing and sewing is another thing too. I’ve met people who give more details into sewing that made me adjust and have to gather knowledge about sewing. That’s why it’s hard for me to give other fashion designers my clothes to sew.
6. Handling machine while sewing is another skill you must learn on your own too. Machines are not always 100%. The needle might break and the belt might cut so you need to know how to handle a machine.
7. Finishing matters a lot. It’s beyond everything. Some people have good works but lack finishing and it has cost them lots of customers. One Customer told me the cloth is nice without him opening the clothes because of the way I packaged it. So, learn to package right.
STREETCATED: Do you sew female clothes?
AY STITCH: Yes, I do but for now, I want to be precise on what I want to do. I want to be definite in what I do. Now I major basically on male clothes.
STREETCATED: What’s your advice to students who wants to be a tailor, fashion designer or stylist?
AY STITCH: 1. Put God first
2. Second thing I ask them is what fashion is to them. You can’t go far if you think fashion is all about clothes… If you ask me. I’ll tell you fashion is life. Automatically, Ill go far than you and move a long way than you. So, you make fashion everything… Not above God anyway.
3. You must not wait for the perfect time to start because there’s no perfect time for doing this and nothing good comes in a convenient way.
4. You must work hard to get it right.
5. Sacrifice your social life for what you really want to do.
STREETCATED: Wed like to have your social media handles in case people would like to reach you, and get to see what youve done with this wonderful business and of course patronize you.
AY STITCH: INSTAGRAM: ay_stitch
phone number: +23407054816873
STREETCATED: Thanks for giving us your time, I hope when next we call you for a podcast, youd find time to grace the studio so as to impact knowledge into this generation.
AY STITCH: Youre welcome, I look forward to it.
Do you know students who have startups and still do very well in their academics?
Tell them to contact me on 08092209871. This is to inspire others who really want to start something with their free time.
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