Malam Sani Idris is the owner of Perfect Touch Fashion and Design, specialised in sewing men’s clothes.
The 50-year-old tailor who owns a shop along Ozolua street, First East Circular Road in Benin City, said creativity made him relevant in business of tailoring after three decades.
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“I started tailoring when I was 20 years old. So, I have been in the business of making people look good in the last 30 years.
“In order to remain in the business, I discovered that if I had to stay in the business and grow, I had to follow the new trend and be in the 21st century instead of still living in the old order. This is why I am still on the job, but many we started together have fizzled out.
“I opened my shop in 1993, and today, I am still in the business due to my creativity. And if you want to stay on this business, you have to be creative because it is your creativity that will give you an edge over your competitors.
“I learnt this trade under someone for three years. After my graduation, I worked for another person for three years before I opened my own with my brother – Abdulaziz Ali, from what I was able to save for those two years.
“Tailoring business is good though we are still managing since we don’t have enough money to expand the business,” he said.
Idris, who specialises in men’s attire said, “I sew both native and English attire including Niger Delta attire.
“My vision is to own a big fashion company and employ many youths.
“But despite all that, tailoring business has been so good to us.
“I am married with four children, and I have been taking care of them with this business and I am training them in school from the proceed. One of them will enter the university this year.”
Explaining how he managed to open his business, Idris said: “I bought one machine while I was still an apprentice and after graduating. I worked for someone in his tailoring shop, earning N300 monthly and from the salary, I bought my first machine and opened a shop.
When asked about the profit-making, he only smiled and said the business is good.
“Once you are hard-working, you would not lack in tailoring business,”
On the challenges on the job, he said the greatest challenge is lack of finance and the enabling environment to boost productivity.
“Any Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) now, without electricity, you can’t make much progress because we need power to work. Also, there is no encouragement on the part of government in terms of loans like in other climes.
“Those of us who are into this kind of business are supposed to have access to loans to grow the business but this is not the case. The last time I wanted to get a loan, the condition for accessing the loan pushed me away.”
He said though he has achieved much from tailoring, he has not yet got to where he would love to be.
“I want to own a big fashion and design outfit in the country. That is my vision if I have the means.
“I also want the government to focus on the youth empowerment because they are the power hub of the nation, and neglecting them is like a time bomb waiting to explode.
Idris called on the youths to embrace skill acquisition so as not to take to illegitimate earning.
“At the moment, I have six apprentices learning under me. It used to be double of that but because of quick money, many of them have left,” he said.