Hi, my name is Oluwatosin Lewis.
I started on the fashion accessories and home accents journey several years ago by indulging my love for designing and making colourful accessories. It was a hobby that gave I and my family and friends great pleasure as I ended up gifting a lot of the things I made. Somewhere along the line offers to buy items and bespoke orders came in and I started thinking business as opposed to hobby.
I was self-taught, basically learning by doing and failing over and over again, so I looked for some training courses online I could take. I took a City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Creative Techniques in Textiles course by Space2Create. – www.space2create.net and a Diploma in Jewelry Design and Repair by Ashworth College – www.ashworthcollege.edu as starters. Sometime later I spent a few days one on one with Katherine Pogson of Designer Courses learning designing and making leather handbags – www.designercourses.co.uk
After a couple of years I attended the Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University where I obtained a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management At the end of that course I got into the keenly contested Top Breed Group of the Diamond Bank Plc, Building Entrepreneurs Today program.
I was however very unfulfilled and quickly realized that my business had no focus. I was not targeting any particular market and neither did I have an ideal buyer concept. I simply created what I found pleasing and needless to say this attitude and way of doing things was a recipe for disaster.
I also came to realize that creative entrepreneurs did not necessarily benefit from mainstream business advice as each creative was in business for different purposes and had different definitions of what success meant to them. Mainstream business advice had done me more harm than good as I kept trying to benchmark my accessories business against brands who were very different from mine and were in business for totally different reasons.
I knew something major had to change in how I operated and in my thought process. My business had failed and the joy of being a creative was gone. I knew though that all was not lost and that I needed to refocus and regroup and step out of my comfort zone.
I bit the bullet and shut down my operations for almost a year. I took the time to reflect on why I had started out as a creative and what were those things that gave me the most pleasure. I defined what success meant to me and what would fulfill me as a creative.
Part of my journey led me to Milan, Italy where I obtained a certificate in accessories design and a certificate in trends forecasting from the Milan Fashion Campus. I quickly realized the enormous fulfillment and pleasure I had in designing accessories and the rush I felt in teaching others to design their own accessories.
I have a vision of my accessories brand being a global name someday, but it is no longer my driving force. My real passion lies in the design process and success to me is not only to design accessories of my dreams but to also help other brands by designing their collections and teaching others how to design and make fashion accessories and home accents.
I have facilitated several bag and accessories design and making workshops for groups of women who want to learn from the scratch and I am presently a facilitator on the Creative Entrepreneur Course run by Bogobiri House. I am a verified merchant of www.bellafricana.com.