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Business Runs In My Veins – Tayo Sobola

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Tayo Sobola is an actress with a fast growing fan base. Since her debut in Yoruba movie called ‘BELLA’ more than three years ago, her career has been on the rise. Now, she has added a studio and fashion label into her chores. The actress, who studied Public Administration, spoke with ROSELYN AYAM on her business acumen and her marriage.

How does your man cope with your busy schedule?

He understands. And the good thing is that he is a flexible person too. He can be anywhere at any time. By the way, my husband is not in the entertainment industry.

So you can’t marry an entertainer?
No way! I can’t marry an entertainer

Why can’t you marry one?
I understand the nature of our job and for a man to want to understand a lady who is into entertainment is a whole lot of work. So, you can imagine two entertainers in a home? It is not possible. One should be able to bend for the other. One should be able to calm the other down. But when both of you are hot at the same time, it is nonsense because there will be problem.

How did you start doing business?
I started at a very tender age. I just usually play with fabrics then because my elder sister used to make clothes at that time, not that I really wanted to do it or planned to do it.

What inspires your kind of design and collections?
Most times I just want to try new things and see how best it can work. My collections are out of the box. The brand will be a year in a couple of months.

Why did it take so long for you to officially come out?
There is this saying that, for you to throw something out to people, you should be able to test run it. You should be sure of what you are putting out to the public and that’s what I tried to do. I decided I wanted to run a proper clothing line and also decided that, I wanted to see how it would go. I wanted to see if I would be able to maintain it, if I would be able to go public, and if I would be able to sustain it. And that’s what I did. So, so far so good. I have done a proper running and have seen that fine, I can maintain it and it’s almost a year so why don’t I let the people know this is what I do.

You design most of these clothes. Where you a tailor at some point?
I was never a tailor. I never learnt tailoring. It’s not because I do not have money to pay people who make clothes. That is why I decided to start sewing what I wear but the truth about this is that most times I dress out, people look at me and say ‘Oh! I like what you are wearing and at the end of the day, it’s me doing the buying. It’s me doing the stitches. It’s me bringing the material. It’s me deciding I want you to do this thing for me and I am the one paying you. Then what am I using my brain for, and at the end of the day, you take my glory. So, why can’t I sit down, sketch myself, make it and make money? I don’t know how to sew. I stitch, I design. I have people who sew. So, in clean stitches, we sew what we sell but I don’t know how to press.

How do you source for fabrics? Do you go to market yourself or you order for it?
The truth is, most designers won’t tell you where they get their fabrics. It is a trade secret. But the truth about it is that when I see something that I like wherever I go, I will buy it but the most important thing is that it should bring out the style that I want to achieve with it. I buy fabrics outside Nigeria. I buy in Turkey. I buy in Dubai; at times I even buy in Lagos. And obviously, what we buy in Lagos is quite different from Turkey and some other places so, the nature or design I am making, will determine where I buy the fabrics.

How affordable are your products?
To be honest with you, it is extremely affordable. Even to the common man for as low as five thousand naira (N5000) because we make things from different fabrics, African fabrics and the rest.

Who are your clients?
I make clothes for lots of people, I just don’t want to mention names. I make clothes for wealthy people.

What makes your outfit unique?
For females, we buy make up even if we don’t want to wear them but we try to buy four different products, you get different feels from them. The difference between my product and others is that, mine are mild. I don’t know anything about others. There are some lipsticks you wear and your lips get dark. I’ve tried my products. Some of them even have ingredients that won’t make your lips darker. Whatever kind or shade of lips you have, you just have to choose which one to go for.

How much are the lipsticks?
It’s very affordable. It’s just a meager amount, as low as four thousand naira.

You are into fashion aside acting. What more should we expect from the brand?
I’m a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University and here I am, an actress, a movie producer, a former dancer. I’ve done almost everything in the entertainment industry. I read public administration in school. I have a diploma in law so someday; I am going to use my certificate. So, don’t be surprised one day when you hear I’m going into politics. I can venture into a whole lot.




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