My Failures Lead Me to Glory, says UNIBEN 300L CEO of JAE Fashion Designer
C.E.O of JAE Fashion International and 300level student of International Studies and Diplomacy, University of Benin, Abu Jehosheba, 22, revealed in this exclusive interview with Efosa Taiwo how after writing SSCE seven times and Jamb five times she found out that she was cut-out for the Fashion designing industry among other the behind-the-scenes stories that abetted her ascension to fame with her fashion brand even as a student.
Q. Tell us about yourself ?
I am an undergraduate student of International studies and Diplomacy in University of Benin. I am from Benue State in Nigeria. Idoma by tribe . I am a fashion designer and a creative writer. My hobbies are writing and reading . My favorite place on earth is London, most especially their fashion school.
Q. What was growing up like?
Growing up was quite an experience. I came from the kind of home were playing wasn’t allowed, just stay at home and be a good child. There were so many restrictions . But I went to boarding school in my JSS 2 which was so much freedom for me. That was were, I saw what life was like from another view. So growing up was quite an experience.
Q. When did the dream of becoming a fashion designer start ?
I graduated from high school as a science student. My dream was to become a medical Doctor. But life put me in a confine. I kept on failing Chemistry, which happened to be my best subject. I wrote Jamb 5 times and I wrote SSCE 7 times. Life was horrible. Staying at home and doing everything in the house (house maid zone). I will cry myself to sleep, and my house was so boring even watching of Movie, they were restrictions on the channel to watch. So most times I just stay in my room. That was how i started my self discovery journey. I started reading and making research. I wanted to discover more about myself and I wanted to acquire knowledge. I finished high school in 2011, and I wrote jamb every year, until 2015 when I got admission I discovered I wasn’t even supposed to be a science student, my passion doesn’t lie there. So after failing chemistry and maths so much in SSCE I decided to write SSCE again but as an Art student . I studied Literature and Government all by myself, and when I wrote SSCE in 2014, I got my result. But I chose OAU in Jamb, after scoring so high in their post utme I wasn’t granted admission . I applied for another Jamb in 2015 making it the 5th. I, after the Jamb, decided to do my fashion training, which my dad opposed at first, but I went ahead with it. I left home to Nassarawa state, were my Aunty was, that was were I did my training. That was how the dream for JAE Fashion International started. I won’t have thought of being a fashion designer, if not for my failures. The dream of becoming a fashion designer started in 2015, after all my several failures. Every other thing gave up on me, except fashion designing and writing
Q. What inspired you to opt for Fashion Designing?
My mum has always being a fashion designer, although she resigned. I never paid anyone to make clothes for me, mum always does it throughout growing up. I have always love looking different. I hate looking like every other person. I love looking creative in an excellent way. So I wanted to become a fashion designer to be making my own clothes and also for others . And also I discovered Africans have lost their identity that is dressing and culture to westernization, and one of the easy ways to identify a man was through his dressing, so I wanted to be a fashion designer that will rebrand Africa through fashion. Making creative African wears, that will stop the problem of identity crises in Africa.
Q. A lot of students regard multitasking on campus as burdening, hence don’t engage in it. How have you been able to cope with academics and your profession?
Life is a choice. We can do anything we want to, if we want to. Then learn how to set priorities, plan yourself. People that rule the world are people who know how to plan. I have a fashion shop in school here, I am a fellowship Exco. I don’t miss fellowship and I am a very good student. Is all planning and understanding what works for you. I don’t do night class, it doesn’t work for me. There are some classes I miss and I am proud I missed them, but some I can’t even dare. Anybody can multi task if only the can plan
Q. Many a people most especially youths harbor fear while trying to set up their businesses and as a result of that do not get to establish them, did you had any fear starting up Jae Fashion?
Of course. So many fear.
Q. How then did you overcome them?
First and foremost, I talked to God about them. Then I deal with them, by facing them. The worst that can happen is failure, and I have understood that failure isn’t personal, is just the universe saying beginning again but in a more intelligent way. Then I also talk to people. And most times to the situation. We are greater than our fears
Q. What has been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Family supporting my dreams. But I have learnt that, most times the people close to us are most times the last people to believe in us.
Q. How were you able to overcome this challenge ?
By loving myself more, and understanding that I love them, but this is what I want and I have to do it, with or without their support. I also understand that I am not entitled to them, they can choose to support me or not, but I need to go ahead. This is about my future.
Q. There is this notion in town that fashion designing has a lot to do with raw talent than training. What is your opinion as an insider?
It has to do with both, while talent is awesome you need training to be the best, because the competition is great. You will give up easily if you don’t have the passion for what you do, and you will go broke easily if you don’t have the training for what you do.
Q. What were your early days like in the profession?
I started from my room, I use my house rent to get a sewing machine, since nobody was ready to get me one. I started in debt, made so many mistake. My early days was quite an experience. I was a certified novice, but I learnt, so I grew.
Q. What has been the key to the success of your brand thus far ?
Creativity and originality. Everyone knows us for creative African fashion. That is what we do and we will do till death do us part.
Q. How have you been able to manage friends and families who will always want you to sew clothes for them for free ?
Is a serious deal oh. Most especially for someone like me that is so soft at heart. But business is business. I decided to position my self well. I became more professional. And I made it clear that I aren’t running a Charity organization, come on! it is my hustle. I deserve some accolades.
Q. How have you being able to survive the days of losses in the business ?
Kai, is very painful. Most especially for a start up . But I usually top up my game to get back to my feet. Sometimes I increase the price of my services.
Q. What motivates you on the job?
The future. My vision of helping Africans , grow and becoming a better place. That is my motivation. I want to create a better Africa. Our scholarship scheme will be starting next academic session, doing the little we can.
Q. Who has had the biggest influence on your profession ?
I follow so many fashion designers, I do a lot of online trainings. But Dr Janet, my visible fashion mentor, I did my second fashion training with her, she has had a big influence on my profession. And also Strive Masiyiwa, the richest man in Zimbabwe, the owner of Econet. I love that man. Then the teaching of late Dr. Myles Munroe.
Q. What role has the social media played in your brand?
Social media is Bae . Social media has increase my visibility, all over the universe. The role of social media can’t be underestimated. It has played a vital role.
Q. We know that time changes, and the way we design and sew our clothes in the past are far behind us, how do you stay afloat in the game?
Research. I do a lot of research, and I do a lot of study. Because if you must earn, you must learn. 80% of what I know in fashion designing, I learnt them by myself.
Q. What informed the decision to set up a fashion school?
The ability to impact others, make the world a better place. It is okay to acquire knowledge, but more honoured to impact knowledge. The desire to teach others what I knew was the reason I set up the fashion Academy
Q. Finally, what would be your advice for every student who have business ideas but are afraid to take that bold step of establishing their own businesses?
My advice is just start you don’t know the extent to which you are capable until you start. You don’t need to have it all figured out to start . The issue is that if you don’t do what you are to do, you will wake up one day and see someone else doing It, because the universe only respond to those who dare the same. Like I said earlier you are greater than your fears.