NDIDI Obioha of Enthyst Event showcased her new season’s collection, De Deluxe Look on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at her newly opened office in Lekki, Lagos.
In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she spoke about her new office which she called one of a kind, Deluxe Edifice and more.
Why are you showcasing your new collection?
Every clothing store should always showcase their new collection. That’s the way you let the public know the outfits of the season. We try to do this at least twice a year. These are the two typical seasons in a year when we bring in collections. We show them to the public so that they know what is available in our store and the styles that are trending at that time.
What inspired your new collection?
When you talk like this, you make me sound like a designer. I am not a designer. I am a fashion buyer. What we do is, we pull from different parts of the world. As a fashion buyer, you understand what your clients are about. Then you go out there and start to source for outfits that would create that look. I am a fashion buyer for now. I have got four designers in Dubai that I stock their collections. I have two Lebanese designers and we are about to sign a Romanian designer also. People assume that I am a designer, but I am not. We are also showcasing our new collection. We have moved to our new office. The idea was to kill two birds with one stone. So, we are showing our new collection, which we call De Deluxe Collection. Our new office has the look of what we call, The Deluxe Look. So, that’s the kind of collection we are also showcasing from our fabrics to the style of fascinators. We have red carpet dresses and evening dresses. It’s what I call one of a kind collection.
Why did you choose the name, De Deluxe Collection?
Deluxe signifies grand and unique. It’s luxurious, the building, walls, the kind of styles we project. That word befits what our collection is about.
Can we say you are a fashion stylist?
I am definitely a fashion stylist.
How long has your events company been in existence?
The events company has been on for nine years, then the fashion clinic and the bridal house has been on for five years.
How do you juggle your work?
It is not easy but they are all interwoven. We do events and people have to wear outfits because they want to look good, so we cater for the outfit. Our new complex right now is what we call the one stop centre. The idea is that you can come and pick your outfit for whatever kind of occasion. You can get your make-up also done here and you can also get your hair done. The idea is that you can actually walk in with your boubou and leave all glammed up, straight to your event. From the clothing section we have shoes, purses, so you can get all you want at this one-stop shop.
There is a huge competition in these businesses, how do you cope?
In the fashion angle, as a stylist, I don’t think so. Our styles speak for themselves. Our styles stand out. You will stand out in any event wearing our collection. Competition is good, but it doesn’t stop me, it only encourages me. I don’t see any competition. In the events industry, yes, everybody has become an event planner. What makes us different is that we have carved a niche for ourselves in the sense that we are known for our creativity. We do not decorate, we are strictly an event consulting company. We conceptualise, define, plan, implement, execute and coordinate events. To be able to do that, one skill you must have is being able to be creative, and we pay a lot of attention to details and very professional. This has stood us out and got us a lot of awards. So, we are definitely doing something right.
What are the challenges of running the business?
Human resources. Finding the right staff, that is every business owner’s headache. It’s a major challenge, but I guess, with time and people orientation, they will be better. A lot of job seekers are not qualified for the job. There are jobs out there and it’s not passion that drives them. They just want to make quick money, not realizing how much hard work goes into it. Another challenge is as an event consultant, you have to be dependent on vendors that you have to source, to implement whatever you have conceptualized. A lot of people go into business not because of passion, but making money. When you do that, you find out that professionalism is not your watchword. When that is not your watchword, it becomes a problem. Being able to find vendors that would be as professional as possible in their service delivery is a problem. We are getting there, back then it was a big challenge.
How have you been coping with these challenges?
The truth is that the only way we have been able to cope is standing our ground and making people understand that it’s not business as usual. It can be done and done right. When you stand your ground, and people realize that you won’t take no for an answer or whatever they push down your throat, they are forced to sit up. I have found out that a lot of vendors say they are so glad they worked with us because they must have learnt a lot from us.
So, when you are able to maintain a standard, stay focused and be steadfast in your belief and your way. You will be able to drive people to the same objective and mission. People will be willing knowing that it’s only good for their business and it will make them better in what they do.
What are the gains of your businesses, you have told us about the pains?
I don’t really see that much pain because when you do something you are very passionate about, the pain don’t weigh you down because there is a lot of joy in what you are doing since it’s passion driven. The gain is always when a client walks up to me and says thank you. I see that satisfaction in my client. It’s not about the money but that you are satisfied with the service that I delivered. That is the biggest gain. The satisfaction that I derive keeps me going.
Where do you see Enthyst Event in ten years?
Enthyst Event would have opened more branches, not just locally but internationally. We have opened a branch in Enugu and Abuja. So, we are growing and we are looking to opening outside Nigeria within Africa, before we take it outside. Expansion is the next step, then diversify into other businesses. As long as you are alive and you’re kicking with good health, you just keep going. For me, I dream it and I try to do it. Every time something new is in the pot cooking, I never stop. Whatever I dream must come to life, that’s what keeps me going.
How do you juggle work and motherhood?
That’s one gift God has given women, being able to multi-task. The truth is that every woman has the ability to grow in whatever she does. Having a good support system is key, and that is your husband. That’s what I have been blessed with. I have a husband who is amazingly supportive. He understands that as long as this woman dreams it, she is definitely going to make it happen. So, he always encourages me, that way my dream never dies. Although, I don’t think anybody can stop me because I have got that drive that keeps me going. It’s also important to have somebody that shares that with you and let you live your dream, let you fly as high as you want. If your husband is like that, your children automatically follow. My son who has just left has been working on this site. Me, my husband and my son put this place together. My son is excited, he loves it and when they see that I derive joy in what I am doing, it rubs off. If I use to go home sad and angry, my kids will definitely never want to follow my line or do what I am doing. As long as you enjoy what you are doing and I say to men, once your wife is happy the home is happy. It’s very important that you let her do what makes her happy. For me, that’s the secret.