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The Spark Profiles House Of GDI

The Spark Profiles House Of GDI

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Evelyn Aligba is the Founder and Creative Director of House of GDI, a lifestyle design brand. 

She started the House of GDI in January of 2017 after working in another fashion house as a business manager for almost two years. She describes herself as a creative entrepreneur constantly seeking new ways to express her creativity. Her company designs and creates female clothing which includes work wears, bridals, ready to wear as well as bespoke tailoring. They also create leather fashion accessories like footwear and bags for the stylish individual.

“The thought of making an efficient production to client experience gave birth to House of GDI. We are here to answer a single question, “how do we make elegance a personalized experience?” such that when you wear a House of GDI piece, whether an outfit or an accessory, it truly expresses who you are elegantly and confidently.”

She admitted it has not been a smooth sail all through.”Some of the basic challenges we had while starting out were; funding for the business, others were difficulty with getting competent human resources, epileptic power supply, building a client base and many others.”

Despite the challenge of funding, Evelyn started out not subscribing to the belief that one cannot establish a business in Nigeria without access to a large pool of capital.

“I’m not a big believer of that line of thought. Even though funding is important, it’s not all there is to starting and running a business. Is the business idea viable? How can you scale it down to the smallest bit such that funding isn’t the primary focus? Start there and then grow fast from there, that’s my thought.”

Social media has gone a long way in helping her business, she readily admitted. “When it comes to reaching new customers, nothing does it better than doing so online, using email marketing, Instagram and WhatsApp which are faster and easier. We have serviced clients whom we have never seen, thanks to the internet. They have also referred others as well, which has translated to more sales.”

“Many young people on social media feel comfortable conversing through Instagram DM, WhatsApp chat or voice call; we recognized this behavior early and made it a key part of our sales process. Email is for outreach, invoicing and receipt delivery (every sale is invoiced and documented by sending the client invoice), WhatsApp for follow up, feedback, and negotiations (we have clients around the world, and this medium is most preferred), Facebook is just to maintain a presence for now; we don’t do much engagement on it. We plan to include e-commerce to the business as we have plans to reach the rest of Africa.”

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On what sets them apart, she mentioned the ethos of the brand as seen on the website, houseofgdi.com; “You are, Becoming beautiful daily, deliberately. Until your beauty becomes contagious, affecting everything around you (your living spaces being beautiful as you are), you only get better. You are special, one of a kind. Cherish your uniqueness, celebrating every day as a process of living beautifully you. #HouseOfGdi”. That is what you get when you encounter House of GDI, it reflects in everything we do, from consultations with our clients to production, social media, and of course delivery. That is what sets us apart.”

As for what the government can do for the fashion industry, she asserts, “When the economy becomes better, when power supply becomes better, the government is helping the fashion industry. But more directly, I would say when there are policies that enable private participation in the economy, these private industries will thrive and in turn grow our economy. Funding for businesses will also help as well.”

Giving advice to start-up and potential fashion entrepreneurs, Evelyn says, “starting out isn’t usually easy especially when you’re starting out without funding. I would say, once you have an idea you believe can translate to business, believe in it strongly but be open-minded enough to test the idea, this gives you an insight into what people who would probably become clients think of your idea.”

“Once you’ve tested the idea and it looks viable to you, influenced by the results you came up with, please go with it head on and keep at it with everything. Surrounding yourself with positive minded people is very important as well. Keep learning, keep growing, don’t be scared to make mistakes but learn fast from those mistakes and move forward.”

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