My Business & I Series: I decided to carve a niche for myself by focusing more on ready-to-wear collections made with African prints – Oluwaseun Mabel

In this 4th interview of My Business & I series, meet Oluwaseun Mabel, a fashion designer doing wonders with African prints in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. Like other entrepreneurs earlier featured in the series, the Creative Director of Mabellastyles has a lot of energy and well educated. She holds a first degree in Philosophy, a PGD in PR and Advertising and a Master’s degree from University of Ado Ekiti (now EKSU), Nigerian Institute of Journalism and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye respectively.  Here are the excerpts from our encounter with this beautiful fashion designer popularly known as O Seun Mabel.

AC: Can we meet you please?

OM: I am Oluwaseun Mabel, the Creative Director of Mabellastyles Enterprises. A fashion designing establishment that focuses more on African prints and female casual wears.

AC: How did you start your fashion business?

OM: My Dad is an Educationist while my mum is an entrepreneur. In fact, my mum, in her early years started as a “Tailor” before diverting into buying and selling. Nevertheless, I never thought I could be a fashion business owner. After my education experience in Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun states  respectively, I settled in Lagos with my official life as it would be expected. Years later, it was a turning point for me when I had resigned my job to settle in with my new family. My spouse and I were in another state and had plans about a particular moment in our lives which didn’t work. We opted for relocation. Upon relocating to Osogbo, being a lover of simple but unique clothes, I enrolled into a fashion school for proper training. During the course of my training, I saw so much effort and money we put into making made-to-measure wear and I decided to carve a niche for myself by focusing more on ready-to-wear collections made with African prints. Then, I started  Mabellastyles

Oluwaseun Mabel at work with her apprentices in her studio

AC:  Is it really true that Osun does not have a conducive environment for business?

OM: To some people, even if all the opportunities are made open to them, they won’t still get it right. For a business to thrive, one must be conscious of the environment. I will say it is not totally true. Once you have studied the environment and also identified your target audience, gradually, everything will fall in place.

AC: What are the challenges as an entrepreneur?

OM: In Nigeria, I do not think one person or a particular business suffers alone.  Challenges are collective thing. Every entrepreneur gets affected one way or the other. Everyone gets challenged when there’s no light to power production machines. When the economy melts, finances get tighter and, preferences get rearranged. Because there is an underlying issue in the country already, whenever things are not right, it triggers pent up anger in people. All of these and many more affect whoever sells, buys or produces something here in Nigeria.

A sample of an African prints ready-to-wear gown

AC: What opportunities are there for entrepreneurs?

OM: As much as we talk about the challenges, there are also opportunities to be grabbed. There’s always someone who knows how to do something in a better and easier way. If we do a proper research on personal growth and business development, we will definitely see opportunities to be explored. It may seem small, but little drops of water make a mighty ocean they say.

Another sample of Mabellastyles dress

AC: What is next in the next five years?

OM: The dream is to have a fashion Empire that includes a garment factory, fashion school and sales of  fashion accessories. As Mabellastyles works towards achieving this dream, we pray that the universe grants us its kindness.

AC: Your advice for upcoming entrepreneurs?

OM: Do not rush it. The moment you are sure this is the right path, work hard and let nature take its course. It will definitely get tiring at a point but, slow and steady, you’d win the race. Thank you so much.

AC: Thank you for your time.

OM: It is my pleasure.

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