She started her brand because she needed extra money, but along the line, she grew to love the business due to her desire and love for styling people, mixing colors and basically expressing her creativity without restrain.
Let’s meet another Bellafricana member, the founder of Miel Clothing;
Please introduce yourself and your background
My name is Olatunde Oyinkansola, textile designer and creative director of Miel Clothing. I’m from Ijebu ode, Ogun state but based in Ilesha, Osun state .
Tell us about your work. How did your company start?
During my NYSC, I needed a side hustle aside my 9-5 job. I actually started Miel Clothing because I needed extra money, but along the line, I grew to love the business due to my desire and love for styling people, mixing colors and basically expression my creativity without constraint. Miel Clothing is a fashion brand that produces indigenous African prints popularly known as Adire or batik or Tie & Dye in the Yoruba language. We’re a textile design industry that produces handmade African prints. We make different types of outfits and ready to wear ranging from t-shirt, sweat shirt, hoodie, two piece and fabrics. We produce in large quantities for Aso Ebi and fashion brands while also train people both online and offline on the art and creativity of Adire.
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
My niche is Afrocentric fashion brand. At first I started for money but I fell in love with art, nature and African culture. I didn’t know it was the niche to get into at first because Adire is versatile; but inspired by my passion for Afrocentric culture and art, I ventured into it in order to blend the indigenous culture and western culture to birth a unique piece of art never seen before.
Where do you get the inspiration for your products
Can you remember one of the first products you made or service you started? What makes it memorable?
The first product I made was “the sunshine tee”; which was inspired by Johnny Drille’s song “shine”. The shirt was memorable because prior to its design, I was going through depression and somehow, I found someone who brought me out of it. The tee shirt has two colors, black and yellow. The black represents my darkest time while the yellow represents a light that came into my darkness; the person that brought me out of my depression. It was also one of my best sellers after it was designed and released
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
My biggest challenge would be a target audience for my brand; getting the right audience who need my products. Another challenge would also be funding and getting a team to help.
Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?
Yes, there were times I regretted venturing into this line of business due to lack of funding and inability to capture a new audience; as it felt like I was advertising to the same sets of people when I wanted to reach out to new people.
What is your most popular product?
At the moment, I would say tye dye hoodies and sweatshirt.
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
My brand is focused on blending indigenous culture and western culture, there African heritage plays an important role as we’re trying to portray the beauty of Africa and the African culture to the western world in a fashionable way
What are some of your short term goals and long term goals, both in your business and life in general
My goal is to have my fabrics and products displayed in fashion houses locally and internationally, as well as worn by models during a fashion runway show in one of the biggest fashion shows globally. I’d also love to impact people by teaching the act of Adire and batik making both in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Another goal is to expand my business, have a team and reach a larger audience..
What would people be surprised to learn about you
That my brand isn’t focused on profit but on impact; promoting the values and sustainability of African prints.
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this Industry?
A teacher due to my passion for impacting positive values on people, especially children.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
My number one advise for anyone would be patience. Don’t rush because adire making requires a patient person who can wait for the outcome to be beautiful, for the colors to mix and for designs to come out well. Growing the business may also take time but if you’re consistent in promoting your brand, you will definitely succeed.