How To Pitch a Fashion Business? | Workshop Recap

It’s no secret that there’s a huge funding gap in Africa’s fashion sector and sourcing for funds is no easy feat. Financing a fashion business for the most part requires high upfront costs to develop and produce a collection and it takes time to see healthy returns. However, if you’re able to prove that your running a healthy business, seeking external funding to expand and scale up might be the next step for you. So what do you need to do when you want to pitch for funding? How do you know if you’re ready for investment? Theses qs and more were answered at our first event – The Fashion Pitch

On the 6th December 2016, We had an intimate mix of fashion and beauty startups, consultants and freelancers and those with great ideas wanting some direction to bring to life.

Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Founder/President of Rising Tide Africa gave an interactive workshop session which consisted of a live pitch by Vivien Nwakah the CEO of Medsaf an online medical procurement platform. You might have heard of Vivien she was one of the winners from the SLA Demo Day and her live pitch was a great way to demonstrate the key fundamentals and ingredients of pitching a business.

We were also fortunate to have Angel Investors Yemi Kerri of The Rising Tide and The Director of the Wheatbaker Hotel, Mrs Mosun Ogunbanjo in our midst who gave pearls of wisdom on entrepreneurship, the importance of humility and women connecting and supporting each other.

Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, The Assembly

So here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Value Proposition – Dr Nnoli-Edozien couldn’t stress this hard enough, she illustrated why every fashion startup should have a unique value proposition when entering the market and the importance of businesses leveraging technology to create value.
  • Founding Team – Founding teams of a startup need to posses a good level of experience and professional expertise to not only leverage on but to give your brand credibility. More importantly, each team member should be able to bring something valuable and different to the table.
  • Traction & Numbers – This was a very key lesson, in that being able to demonstrate numbers through market research reveals gaps in the fashion market and shows there’s an actual need for your product or service. In addition, being able to provide numbers for your fashion business provides evidence that customers are actually using your product or service, your business is financially viable and the potential of that business to scale.

The final half of the workshop consisted of an in-depth panel session with Honey Ogundeyi, CEO of Fashpa and David Eweji, CEO of David Wej moderated by The Assembly Founder, Pepper Chikezie. There were golden nuggets of knowledge and experiences shared by both entrepreneurs. Both entrepreneurs represented very different sides of Nigeria’s fashion industry and both had very different funding experiences but manufacturing, production and logistics in Nigeria was the bone of contention for both.

With regards to investment, interestingly, Ogundeyi stated that Fashpa had investors in the past and expressed they were happy to embrace further investment due to the capital intensive nature of their business model. On the contrary Eweji expressed that the David Wej brand hadn’t received investment and hadn’t even taken a bank loan during its 8 years of business until recently to acquire real estate for expansion. Eweji, shared that they’re always turning down investment offers until the right investment opportunity comes. What’s right, we here you ask?

From listening to all contributions, it’s evident that most businesses stem from a personal or social frustration and having a strong passion to solve a particular problem is a good starting point.

So what frustrates you? What are you passionate about? Feel free to contribute your thoughts below

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Photo Credit: Raphael Lens for The Assembly