Q. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Isinguzo Franklin, Creative Director/CEO of ‘Sperie Customs’ and M.D. of Brayprints.
Q. Tell us a little about your educational background.
I attended St. Catherine’s Model Nursery/Primary School, Lagos; Federal Government College, Minna and The University of Ibadan, where I studied Political Science.
Q. You are into clothing and fashion, when and how did it all begin?
It all began in 2005 when my love for custom made apparels and passion for fashion grew stronger than normal.
Although, when I was in High School, I used to use permanent marker to inscribe the Sean John logo on fellow students’ uniforms in exchange for Cabin biscuits, Doughnuts or anything good they had they had to offer (You know what they say about the boarding school life… Lol.)
Anyways, I started making designs on my Plain Tees and people loved what they saw and wanted some for themselves… that’s how it all began.
Q. I have spoken to many young, talented individuals, and many complain about capital to start up their businesses, what was the source of your startup capital?
Well, I started with 50 naira and I used my sitting room for production. For emphasis, 50 naira was the money I spent on buying a leather material to make the first design on my favorite shirt. I had to draw on the leather material; cut it out with a scissors and use glue to stick the design on my shirt; then I got a tailor to sew it on permanently to the shirt.
I actually started charging people 500 naira or a least 350 naira to put a design or customize their names on a T-shirt.
Gradually, I started growing and I increased my fee. In fact, I remember the first time I was able to save 2,500 naira, I was so happy to give my mum a stipend out of it… Lol.
My mum was the same person that bought me my first computer and I started learning how to use Corel Draw all by myself.
It was a slow and steady growth and my family was very supportive. My Dad later gave me a space in a corner of his balcony and I got a desk with locker drawers. That was my office as at 2005/2006… Lol.)
I started writing to companies so I can brand their T-shirts or Polos and the first major job I did was for C & I MOTORS.
I believe so much in pushing your limits because only lazy people find excuses for failure. I kept pushing and to my huge surprise, my Uncle, Mr. Odoemelem Kingsley, whom I have so much respect for, gave me my first car ever as his own way of supporting me.
Believe me, that has been the story until today. It has been support from people here and there, including clients that have become friends and business partners.
People who I’m not even related to have been there for me and I must confess, I have amazing friends (although I have more female friends than male friends… Lol.)
Well today, by the special grace of the Almighty, I can beat my chest and say that ‘Sperie Customs’ is a known brand with a humble beginning.
Now, I have a partner, Ade Raymond, who is one of the busiest men I know and I run two companies; ‘Sperie Customs’ and Brayprints. We now have the machines and provide services for other T-shirt makers , individuals and cooperate bodies that need any form of printing services.
Q. There are so many other designers in the market, what strategies are you employing to make your products distinct?
This is where I thank God for social media. I put my business online and it has been working for us.
We organize exhibitions in different states which helps us expand our market.
Then I PRAYYYYYY!!!
Q. Who are your target customers?
We make apparels for kids from age 1 to teen ages, youths, adults and if u need an apparel for your grand mum or dad, we can fix that… Lol.
Q. How would you define Fashion and Style?
It is strictly Urban. Everything we create, has a touch of the New School (You know what I mean).
Q. Have you displayed your designs at any fashion show yet?
Yes and we do exhibitions.
Q. What are some of the challenges that you are currently facing?
Money is never enough… Lol. The company is growing and we have more number of staff, so we need to expand.
Meanwhile, the cost of production in Nigeria is on the high side despite the fact that getting very good materials is still a big challenge.
It’s so bad that we can have orders, and I may spend the whole day scouting for good fabrics without getting what I want; which means I would have to continue my search the next day.
And errm… I think the federal Government and cooperate organizations need to start investing in Nigerian fashion, especially in our sector because we are gradually reducing the number of imported apparels simply because Nigerians are beginning to appreciate “Made in Nigeria” products and at the same time, we are creating employment opportunities for young people.
Q. Where do you see your business in the nearest future?
We are on a mission of taking over the urban fashion industry. God has been our pillar and with his divine grace, we will become the number one brand and a source of inspiration to entrepreneurs in general.