Maryam is an Igala lady from Idah local government area of Kogi State. She started her educational career at Federal Polytechnic Staff School before proceeding to Federal Government College, Ugwolawo. She is a graduate of Mass Communication from Caritas University Enugu and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she had a Masters degree in Strategic Communication. She owns a clothing outfit.
My name is Maryam Achimugu. I am from Idah local government area in Kogi State. I am Igala. I was born into the family of Mr and Mrs Achimugu on December 28, 1990. I am the first of five children. I started my educational career at Federal Polytechnic Staff School Idah. From there, I went to Federal Government College Ugwolawo, in Kogi State. After secondary school, I proceeded to Caritas University Amorji Nike, Enugu State, where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. Due to my quest for knowledge, I went to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State where I did a part-time master programme in Strategic Communication alongside the training for fashion designing, just to be self-reliant. I presently own a place where I sew and sell fabrics under the brand name, Ellez Exclusive Fabric and Stitches.
WHEN DID YOU START THE BUSINESS?
Though I started business in the year 2017, I would say it has always been a part of me. When the opportunity came, I took it and never looked back.
HOW IT ALL STARTED?
I went into business to put an end to boredom and so I can be productive. I chose fashion designing because I have always wanted to be one.
WHO TAUGHT YOU?
I learnt from Mallam Mohammed Usman Ihiezu, the owner of Asla Ventures Tailoring Unit in Zaria, Kaduna State.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM COMPETITORS?
To stay relevant in the fashion business, I do not just work with what I learnt. Instead I explore other options. Creativity is priority for me and it should be for anyone who wants to break even in the business world.
The growing rate of unemployment fuels my desire to be successful. Being the first child, I want to be a role model for my siblings, though it is not an easy task for people especially when family members look up to you but it is possible and I am doing all I can to set the standard.
In Nigeria, Deola Sagoe, Folake Coker who is the founder of Tiffany Amber, Lisa Folawiyo and a whole lot of others. They are trendsetters with global recognition. On the international scene, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Coco Chanel and the likes, are people I want to exceed someday.
I want to be a perfectionist as a fashion designer. I do not ever want to disappoint my customers in any way, though some might still be disappointed in the long run, even when all your best is invested in serving them. I also try as much as possible to meet deadlines.
I recently got my own place for the business and presently have four apprentices who will be professionals someday with hard work and determination. I am self-employed, which makes me able to pay my bills and help in the home where necessary.
Electricity has been a setback in my business because of the constant need to iron fabrics. I am still young in the business and I do not see myself giving up soon, I am that optimistic. I believe electricity will be stable soon, hopefully from the proceeds of the business, I will relocate to a better environment where electricity is more stable.
In a few years from now, I see myself on the international scene competing with top designers and having top models wearing my designs. This, for me, is achievable with God, hard work and determination.
So far, no regrets whatsoever.
I love to have a good sleep after a day’s work because I deserve it. Besides, after rest, I usually feel refreshed and ready for work the following day. Music aids creativity for me especially when my thoughts are crowded. I am an indoor person so when I am not in the shop, I stay home after chores and watch movies.
MOST MEMORABLE DAY
The day I lost my mother to the cold hands of death. I miss everything about her, she was nice and is missed by all.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BUSINESS AND FAMILY LIFE?
It has not been easy finding a balance because I have to prepare my boy for school, make breakfast and lunch before leaving for the shop but in all, I am doing my best as the mother of the house. My siblings are very supportive whenever they are home.
Every woman should learn a skill or trade because it pays in the end.
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