Kenyan bespoke designer Sheria Ngowi is changing how fashion retail is done

Bespoke Couturier Sheria Ngowi used to be part of the rat race that was the East African fashion calendar, ever consumed by the struggle to meet the demands of fashion weeks, with the post production hassle that followed suit. Since Ngowi launched his flag ship store in 2013 and drew the collective attention and admiration of the international fashion media, his label has gone on to win the Vogue Talents on Set showcase organized by Vogue Italia and showed at the Mercedes Benz International  Fashion Week.

Ngowi is following the lead of several international labels and ditching the regularized retail model and making his own way. By opting out of creating collection per season for the perusal of potential clients, he is setting his business apart and attracting a different kind of clientele, the kind that truly values owning a truly bespoke piece.

But it isn’t as simple as that, Ngowi is also shunning the time old practice of wooing the customer through seasonal editorials. Instead he is micro-sizing the marketing of his brand using readily available social media channels like Instagram and Facebook to advertise his products and woo his customers. The immediacy of Instagram and the opportunity it gives designers to instantly gauge responses to design decisions is invaluable in this new business model.

 

Finally Ngowi has personalised his service experience so thoroughly such that through digital channels, every clients is offered a one-on-one meeting to discuss the design and personal quirks of the client. Every client gets to physically interact with Ngowi, allowing him that crucial chance to convert his potential clients from one time buyers to loyalists of the brand.

We hope that this business model catches on and many designers on the continent realise that there are many ways to successfully run a luxury brand. Ngowi’s ideas inspire us, and we hope it inspires others too.

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