‘How tailoring gave me breakthrough’ | Dailytrust

‘How tailoring gave me breakthrough’

Danjuma Mohammed Usman
Danjuma Mohammed Usman

Danjuma Mohammed Usman (39) has spent over 27 years working as a tailor in Tudun Wada area of Gombe Metropolis in Gombe State and said it was a childhood dream that came to fruition.

Therefore, immediately after primary education, Usman aka Kawu Tela, pursued his dream by learning the trade. About 27 years he now fends for his family of two wives and five children in addition to shouldering the responsibilities of many relatives with the proceeds of tailoring.

When Kawu Tela finished primary education in 1993, he decided to start learning a skill in order to continue with his education. The job he had in mind since when he was in primary school was tailoring. So, after his primary education in 1993, he took his uniform to a tailor to sew for him. He later requested to be trained in his dream profession and the man obliged him.

Kawu Tela said, “Since my primary school days I had a passion to become a fashion designer. So, I got the opportunity in 1993 after I finished primary school. What happened was, after I took my uniform to a tailor to be sewn, I informed him of my desire to learn the trade, he immediately agreed. Thereafter I sought for my parents’ consent and they gave me their blessing.

“I spent some years with my master before I moved out from his shop and opened my own shop here about 18 years ago.”

Tela’s shop is a modern one that specialises in sewing male clothes. Inside the shop are over seven youths working on modern sewing machines, known as “industrial”.

He said he had achieved many feats with the profession that was shunned by many people, especially youths, who preferred white collar jobs.

Kawu Tela further said, “The business pays a lot, through it I was able to marry two wives and I am blessed with five children. In addition to that, I have built two houses and also sponsored my children who all attend private schools.”

He said, “When I opened my shop I employed some youths who work under me. After learning the job, about five of them have left and opened their shops too. We are presently about seven of us working in the shop.

“I want to add that I don’t charge a kobo before I teach anybody that wants to learn this job from me. All I need is that such person must come along with his guardian that will stand for him.”

On the challenges faced in the tailoring profession, Kawu said, “First of all, any person who wants to take up tailoring as a profession has to be patient, trustworthy and put in a lot of hard work. Some people will come to your shop and insult you in the presence of those that work under you just because you didn’t finish their work on time. Some will give you work and after you finish they will collect it and go without paying you despite all your suffering.”

He said despite the economic situation, especially with dwindling of activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they still got patronage.

“We normally get customers during festivities like Sallah, Easter, Christmas, during weddings and other ceremonies. And sometimes we get customers through referral by our existing customers when others see the clothes we sew on them,” he added.

He said when he started 27 years ago, he was collecting between N200 to N300 per one set of male clothing “but now we collect up to N2,000 depending on the time and the style.”

Kawu said he was thinking of moving with the current trend in fashion designing, whereby he will produce ready-made clothes with a tag bearing the name of his shop sewn and put up for sale in modern supermarkets.

He, however, explained that to do that, he needed government assistance, especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic, which he said had affected them as the volume of people bringing clothes had significantly reduced.

He, therefore, urged government that, “A fund in the form of soft loan from the government will help us to rebrand and employ more youths that will be also self-employed.”

Kawu also advised that, “My call on the youths, even those that are doing white collar jobs, is to take craftsmanship as serious business because it will help and serve as a safety net after their retirement. And to those unemployed youths, it is better than staying idle at home. Learning a particular craft will reduce the vices faced in the society which are mostly committed by idle youths.”

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