Fashion Phoenix - Temitayo Balogun, Of May Coutures Shares How Low Capital, Non-Paying Customers, And Many More Affected Her Brand In The Beginning
Learning from mistakes is an important aspect when it comes to running a business. As a fashion entrepreneur, the ability to turn mistakes into valuable life lessons, is what helps a brand flourish. Also, learning from the mistakes other professionals have made, makes it easy to avoid them in the future.
In this segment, we have looked at how Atinuke Awobode, the creative director of DressMyCloset was able to correct her mistakes and revamp her brand to be a globally recognized one. In this article, the founder of May Coutures shared her brand tales with us, and we hope you experience a lot of Aha moments as you read. Enjoy!
May Coutures is a fashion brand that deals in men's wear and accessories, grooms and groomsmen outfits, and accessories, as well as brides and bridesmaids outfits and accessories. The brand is owned by lead Creative Director Temitayo Balogun, an entrepreneur passionate about fashion and skill empowerment.
How Was May Coutures Birthed?
Temitayo had always loved the concept of handmade accessories and products, recognizing this passion, she went ahead to develop her skills in this field. May Coutures started as an accessories fashion brand alone, designing bow ties, straight ties, lapel roses, and many more, but after a few years, they expanded their operations.
They widened their operations due to many requests from customers. Clients were insisting on wearing outfits made from her brand to match the accessories she made. After a lot of pressure and serious thought, she decided to take time to learn all that she needed to evolve and expand into a full-fledged clothing line.
And that's how the May Coutures brand grew to be an accessory and clothing fashion brand.
First Year Of May Coutures - Challenging Or Not?
The May Coutures story is not one on a bed of roses as she had certain challenges starting.
When we asked her how the first year of running her brand was like, some of the challenges she related to us were low capital, unavailability of the right materials, as well as non-paying customers.
It's one thing to design a product, have a good pricing strategy, and market the products, and it's another ball game entirely for people to buy these products and pay for them. This is one of the challenges Temitayo Balogun had when she started, which eventually caused her to take a break for a few years.
At the time when she started making accessories and selling, she noticed she wasn't making a profit from the business.
"I was not selling much, and customers were not paying for the little I sold, so I stopped."
What made Temitayo revive the brand, after a few years though was the passion she had for making accessories, and the need to have a steady income.
So what did she do differently?
She became more consistent, persistent, and learnt not to give up.
"People started patronizing me, I got referrals and I saw people rocking my products proudly. It was encouraging to find out that people were working towards having enough money to buy my products." - Temitayo Balogun
Mistakes She Made In The Past
One of the mistakes Temitayo made as a brand owner was running her business with emotions. According to her, she got angry at customers who felt they were right, even when they were not. And this affected her brand, such that she lost some customers.
As a fashion entrepreneur, your emotional intelligence is key in relating with clients, and developing it would go a long way to help your brand. Click here to read more on developing emotional intelligence as a brand owner.
So how has Temitayo Balogun corrected that in her brand?
Now, all she does is to keep her emotions to herself and make the customers feel good no matter what. And as the popular saying goes, "Customer is always right", she tries as much as possible to treat them right and professionally now.
Another mistake she made in her brand was patronizing brands that she had not ascertained their credibility.
What does that mean?
In this age where online shopping is the new norm, buying products or requesting services online is not outrageous at all, and that is what Temitayo thought. For the branding of her company, she awarded the job to a vendor she met on Instagram, and they let her down as they didn't deliver the job completely, even to date.
So presently, what Temitayo does is to verify the walk-in store of such a business, apart from knowing the social media pages alone, to avoid further scam events.
Things That Have Helped The May Coutures Brand Blossom
Despite going through all, these challenges in her brand, Temitayo never gave up and she developed a few skills that have helped her brand keep growing.
Staying consistent has made her stay despite the challenges, she didn't jump from fashion to any other field because of the money or gains. She has also developed the quality of her products overtime and worked on the branding and packaging of her brand too.
"Clients have told me how they've watched me grow from just a bowtie brand, to an all accessories brand, and then to a full fledged clothing and accessories brand. This reminds me of consistency." - Temitayo Balogun.
In growing her brand too, she took out time to learn the basics of business management, as she wanted to be intentional about the business aspect of fashion. Networking with various individuals and experts has also helped the May Coutures brand in lots of ways.
Those are some of the challenges and things that have helped the May Coutures brand grow in leaps and bounds.
We brought the conversation to a close with some words of wisdom from Temitayo,
"Designers should keep developing themselves and never give up. The vision may not be so clear right now, but finally, it will be. If you are determined and never give up, you will certainly achieve it."