SAP 010 - Chiroma Banks; building a renowned fashion brand, selling over 15,000 items so far and staying relevant in the industry

Chiroma Banks on the #socialAfricanshow.png

Chiroma Banks is a fashion entrepreneur. He was born in Manchester, England and Grew up in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 

He's the founder of Chiroma Banks Clothing a clothing and lifestyle brand. They've sold over 15,000 items since their launch, 5 years ago. 

Chiroma lives in the United Arab Emirates and owns a clothing shop in Nigeria as well. He is passionate about creating jobs for his people.

Personal life

"I grew up in Nigeria but later I realised I had to go where my heart belongs which is the United Kingdom. I did my university in the UK, did a bit of working and then I moved to the UAE. I launched the Chiroma Banks brand in August 2012 and we've been doing it ever since."

"I’m a family man. My wife Victoria and my son, Weli."

What sets the Chiroma Banks brand apart?

"Consistency. We’ve been here for 5 years. And, the nature of our designs too, we are boldly African with our designs.

The lowest of the low

"In 2015, originally, we focused on the Nigerian market. It was a period where the economy was stable. The sales were coming in heavy. But after the change of government, the economy went into a recession."

This actually led to us re-negotiating with our distributors. We didn’t have a website, we were very comfortable with the benefits of third-party distributors like Jumia and Konga doing an excellent job. We just sat there and they give us the money, all we needed to do was stock the warehouse."

"Obviously, the recession affected them so they had to downsize and we, in turn, had to adjust to this change."

Lesson from this low point

"If you’re a businessman, don’t get too comfortable. Always go big."

That light bulb moment when it all clicked

"My mother was an accountant with the government, she had a side hustle as well, where she goes to Onitsha, in eastern Nigeria and buys textile to sell. As a kid, I would imagine what I could do with the textiles and I even made sketches. So, it has always been there."

"My first salary from working in UAE, I split it into two and ordered samples, this was around August 2012. I put the samples on, took pictures and they went viral. I had a lot of support from friends and family and that was the kick-start."

What’s got you buzzing right now?

"I’m diversifying to the leisure industry. We are in the process of buying a 2-acre space. We are creating a leisure establishment."

Lion’s Den

  • What is the best African Saying you've ever heard?

If ear no wan hear wetin mouth dey talk, the day when dem cut the head, ear go follow the head go.

"The moral of this is, you need to listen"

  • What was holding you back from building your brand?

"Lack of information."

  • Which is your social media platform of choice and why?

"Instagram, because it is very visual" 

  • Share a tactic you use on Instagram

"You need to get your personality out there. People need to know you, to buy from you."

  • Recommend for the Tribe to check out?

"The West and the Rest of Us by Chinweizu Ibekwe"

  • If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?

"I’ll spend time with my family. I’ll probably look at my son for hours."

Words of wisdom

"Stop talking and start doing"

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