Company Name: N’Damus LONDON ‘Hand-made leather bags & accessories with a twist or three…’
Location: London, England
1. Tell us a little bit about your background?
I have a 1st degree in Biomedical Science. I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a number of years. My creative side has always been there and actually started with photography.
2. Tell us how you started your business?
I actually started making bags for myself due to my love of high heels. A good friend of mine back in university used to say to me “Nneka, your shoes must ALWAYS match your handbag!” That stuck with me and I did that until one day decided to make my own bags because I couldn’t find the bright yellow, red and orange bags I wanted to go with my rainbow coloured shoe collection. People would stop me in the street and ask about my bags so I decided to see how far I could get with them.
3. How long have you been in business?
I started making bags back in 2007 but officially launched my business in 2009.
4. Did you know how you were going to make money with it? How did you do it?
In all honesty I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. I calculated the financial risks and started small at Spitlefields and Brixton markets in London and was amazed at the positive response and took things from there.
5. What was your inspiration?
Personally I love things which are unusual and go against the grain somewhat. I’ve never really followed ‘standard’ fashion per se as I am very much inspired by the unusual normality of the things we see around us.
6. What was your highest moment?
I actually think that is yet to come. Sometimes I sit back and look at what I’ve achieved on a shoe-string budget and the positive responses which have emulated from my vision. That in itself is a high. In one year I started off at a market stall and within that time have had celebrities such as Nia Long, Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes) & supermodel Ajuma Nasenyana carry my bags, national publications including TIME OUT London, The Evening Standard, and New African Woman Magazine write articles about my venture, boutiques in London and Italy stocking my products and now I have my own store in London.
7. Were you ever scared? How did you overcome it?
Absolutely! Having your own business comes with great responsibilities. At times you wonder how things will be achieved, i.e. with financial constraints as well as pleasing your customers. My attitude to that is to NOT be afraid to grow. What’s the point of holding onto fear? It’s not your friend!
8. What’s the best part of your job?
When a customer tells me I’ve made them happy.
9. What is the most important lesson you learned along the way?
Surround yourself with positive people who are there to support you and assist in your growth and that of your business. Everyday I learn something new which is great.
10. What piece of advice do you have for other business owners out there?
I often look at highly successful business people such as Richard Branson and Dyson and see that their success came as a result of knowing where they wanted to be and that struggles would be there but would be overcome with the right attitude and drive. Do the basic things seen in all business models, i.e. understand your market and customers, etc. The route to success is a journey and not simply a destination. The mind is a powerful thing so make sure you ARE positive and set realise achievable goals which you can look back on and smile when you are on your yacht.