Chinedu Akpunonu is the creative director of Dafscourt, a fashion outfit that tends to the needs fashion needs of women between 0-80 years. She recently launched her ready-to-wear line, DImmortalWoman; an extension of Dafscourt, that caters to trendy, eclectic and contemporary pieces for the modern woman. Chinedu also runs a bespoke line for children- Pinkies and Ruffles and a fashion school where she trains people on sewing and pattern drafting. Having begun sewing at 11, Chinedu is proof that talent/creativity can be nurtured and expressed in many different ways.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
My name is Chinedu Akpunonu. I am a fashion entrepreneur and Creative Director at Dafscourt. Dafscourt is a fashion outfit that tends to the needs of women from age range 0-80 years old. We also have a fashion institute where we train people on the art of pattern drafting making them professionals in a space of 6 months to one year. We recently launched our ready to wear line DImmortalWoman.
Looking at your profile, you’ve made a statement around fashion, which includes distinctive designs for brides, corporate, kids etc. Can you share what inspired you to go into this particular business and what inspires your designs?
I have always had a passion for fashion designing. After leaving my job, I felt that was a good plan. I have always loved to create things. I have also always wanted to be in business. I started business at the age of 11, stringing beads for my mum’s friends and that pushed me into tailoring. I actually started sewing at age 11 during the long vacation while waiting to get into secondary school. My designs are basically inspired by my everyday life. Things I see in my environment, online and through my thoughts.
When you launched your business, did you have prior knowledge of how to run a business? How did you make it work?
I had no prior knowledge about the business when I started, but I learnt along the way. I made mistakes and I learnt from them.
Why entrepreneurship and what’s the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship that you’ve heard?
Entrepreneurship for me is “power”. The fact that you can manage your time, create employment, contribute to society and make money whilst adding so much value. The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship is that is an easy journey to embark on.
The fashion world is ever evolving, what new innovation have you introduced to your business recently and how has that worked out ?
A new innovation I introduced to my business is Pattern drafting. Pattern drafting is the art of creating templates using the measurements from a body form or an individual. This gave my business a total turn around by helping us achieve designs that we thought were unachievable, making cloths with perfect fits.
As an entrepreneur, you must have encountered different kinds of people, what have you learnt most and what will you say has been the highlight of your journey so far?
I have learnt that procrastination is indeed a thief of time. Do not leave what you can achieve today for tomorrow. I have also learnt tolerant towards the people I come across with in the course of my business.
What will you say is responsible for your success?
God first and good customer relations
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Yes, there are some unique challenges female entrepreneurs face. Work-life (family life) balance has not been easy. Constantly been a shape shifter, mom at home, wife by night, Boss by day.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
In 5 years time, I intend to have expanded on all angles of the business, I also hope for my brand to be a house hold name in the fashion industry.
Can you share some strategic and helpful tips for upcoming female entrepreneurs who want to be successful in this path?
Get proper knowledge. Invest in your skill. Understand that learning is a continuous process, do not stop. Most importantly, be patient. Understand that being successful is a journey and that you are on your own path.
Bonus Question: Walk us through your Self care routine
Wake up, Pray, Exercise, Drink a glass of water, write out my To-Do for the day and get to work.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.