Wooot! Its Monday again...well that means back to work and school :( but it also means new possibilities and exciting opportunities...so there is a lot to smile about! :)
I am SO EXCITED about today's post because this is my first ever Bella Naija interview!
When I decided to begin doing interviews, the first person I thought of was Bisola Edun of Taé. Coincidentally, I was talking to my friend, Dammie and she suggested that I interview Bisola as well! So I just knew it was meant to be.
Bisola Edun is the Creative Director of one of Nigeria's top labels, Taé.
The Taé style can best be described as creative, fun and fresh.
Rockin' Taé will guarantee that you look absolutely stunning without looking like you are trying too hard.
Since the label was launched a few years ago, Bisola has been nominated for various awards such as the Future Awards 2005 for Entrepreneur of the Year. She has also participated in high profile fashion shows including the St. Moritz Style Selection and the Red, Bold and Jazzy fashion shows. I admire Bisola so much because despite her success, as you can probably tell from her interview, she remains very humble and bubbly.
Check out the interview and some exclusive photos from her last collection!
The Designer: Bisola Edun
Tell us about Bisola
I grew up in Lagos, the 3rd in a family of 4 kids. Went to FGGC Sagamu and then on to University of Lagos where I studied Economics. Worked for about 7 years before I decided to start Taé.
What inspired you to start Taé?
Childhood dream and a personal need. I found it impossible to shop in Nigeria because there were just no stores that you could walk into, view a wide variety of products and pick something off the shelf. So it was really frustrating for me especially as I’m on the petite side and getting my size was pretty challenging, so I thought, why not?
Taé is a very unique name, how did you come up with the name?
Actually, my partner chose it. We’d gone through a whole list of names and she came up with Taé, as a derivative of Taiwo, the first born of the Yoruba twins. Taiwo was the first to ‘Taste Life’ and is supposed to be the adventurous, mischievous and fun loving one, so it just kinda fit!
You left a promising and lucrative career in Finance for the uncertainty of the world of fashion design. How did friends and family react to this decision?
It was my family and friends’ reactions that convinced me I was doing the right thing. No one thought I was crazy, everybody encouraged me to go for it, and some people even expressed envy at my courage to go for my dreams.
What are the challenges of running your own label in Nigeria?
Where do I start? The Nigerian environment is just not supportive of small businesses; it’s hard to get decent and loyal workers, funding is a critical issue, the regulatory framework is really very fuzzy and getting information about such is just plain tedious!
Tell us about your proudest moments since launching Taé?
Every time someone calls to order more outfits because the one they wore to ‘so and so’ party stirred up such a huge reaction…… I’m proud. And I must say I get those calls QUITE often!
What is your personal style philosophy?
1) Comfort is KEY!!!! 2) It’s all about the accessories! I’m most comfortable in my jeans and I believe that with the right accessories, you can turn almost any outfit into a show stopper!
Do you have a muse or particular fashion icon that inspires you?
I love women who always manage to look effortlessly chic. I love Mrs. Nike Ogunlesi’s sense of style and there are loads of women who walk into my store and I’m like ‘how do you manage to look soooooo good, I’d never have thought of putting clothes together like that!!’ I also like the way Victoria Beckham puts her pieces together but then she always looks so contrived, not at all effortless and that totally ruins it for me!
In Nigeria, fashion designers are celebrities and are regularly featured in the media. How do you handle all this attention?
I find that it’s not as glam as it’s made out to be… I mean it’s not like I’m walking down the road and people are screaming at me and trying to tear my clothes off! Most times, no one even recognises me, which is totally cool. I’d rather everyone was raving about Taé as supposed to raving about Bisola.
You are so down-to-earth? How do you maintain this attitude despite all your success?
Ha! Trust me, my family and friends would totally slap me down to earth if I even THOUGHT of floating off for a few seconds!
You have been nominated for and won various awards, featured in many prominent fashion shows and exhibitions both internationally and locally and have a very strong clientele. What is your next move?
Ok, scratch the local and international awards thing, as well as the prominent fashion shows. Haven’t done any of those, but I do have a very strong clientele. So my next move would be to achieve all of the above and expand my product offering, starting with a more exclusive line.
What is your ultimate goal for Taé? New York Fashion Week? A store on Rodeo Drive?
Ahhhh! First Nigerian fashion business quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a Taé outlet in every major city in the world… Basically I want a company that would survive me till kingdom come.
Where can we order some fab Taé pieces?
25, Joel Ogunaike Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria. I’m working on being able to process orders online but that probably won’t be possible until later this year.
Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers?
If you’re good at it – and trust me you’ll know ‘cause your product will speak for itself – then go for it! Dig in your heels, prepare to weather the storms and just go for it! It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
Final question, it’s a very important one! What’s your favourite blog?
Hmmmmmmmm…….. would that be bella naija? ;)
Taé 2006 Collection
*no photographs from this post can be used without explicit permission*
That's it! I love all the clothes, I like the simplicity and the elegance of the clothes. I feel like I could dress them with accessories and heels for an event or dress them down with flats for a more laidback look.
Have a fab week! Pleasssse leave a comment and let us know what you think. If you have never left a comment on bellanaija, today is your day...lol! Thanks for the luv. MUAH!