August being the month in which we celebrate women’s day, I’ve decided to collaborate with JIDEKA, a fashion label owned and run by a strong black woman by the name Pamela Ifeneme. Through our conversation, I could feel how genuine her love for fashion and how much she values expression through fashion. Here’s a short interview I conducted to get further intel on JIDEKA the brand, as well as the phenomenal woman behind it. In between all the action, I’ll be giving you a look into some of her pieces, one of them being the Nene Ruffle pants which I truly enjoyed. Black pants are an issential addition to anyone’s wardrobe, and it doesn’t hurt to play around with different designs. The ruffles from the knee down makes for unique feature to these snug fitting pants. [ Photographer: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi ]How did you come up with the name JIDEKA?
My Ibu name is NJIDEKA so I just dropped off the N. The name means “The one I have is greatest”
What is the mission of JIDEKA?
Our mission is to create tangible memories. We provide stylish clothing that are versatile, functional and that transcends well from day to night and season to season.
Many start ups find finance to be a big obstacle standing in the way of them either getting started, or simply moving forward to doing bigger and better. How did you deal with the issue of capital?
I started very very small, I only had money for my samples. I had some savings and used that, and my partner also lent me some money. For a period of time I wasn’t even taking care of myself, the money coming in went back into the business.
Briefly take us through the journey of getting Jideka up and running.
In 2015 I created my Graduate collection at Lisof where I was studying Fashion Design and Marketing. In 2016 while finishing off some courses at Lisof I decided to just get started with getting the business off the ground. Try out my collection in the market, see what’s working and basically have an opportunity to interact with people as a retailer. I did a trial pop up and it went pretty well, I got good feedback and made some sales. January 2017 I started working on my Autumn/winter collection. Finally in April, I fully launched the business and the website to the public. I still think however I’m in my trial and error period. Checking out what works and what doesn’t work, while still trying to have my own voice.Why design?
My mom is a dress maker back in Nigeria and owns her own store. When I was growing up I used to always go to her store to help her. I also grew up then making clothes for myself, for my dolls as well. By the time I was in high school back in Nigeria I started drawing images of other people’s clothing I’d see on magazines. Eventually I thought to myself why, don’t I now start drawing up my own interpretation of my own designs. So I also have a Diploma I obtained in Nigeria and then crossed over in 2013 to South Africa to study further at Lisof.
Are you the sole owner of the business or are you in partnership with anyone?
For now I’m the sole proprietor of the business. I’m open to partnership because sometimes it drives me crazy! I do the patterns, samples, fabric sourcing, marketing, PR… EVERYTHING! As long as we both know our deliverables, what we’re bringing in.
How does the production process work for you?
With my Autumn/winter collection what I did was I made all the samples. Because I didn’t have a lot of customers, once I got an order I created it and shipped it off to them. But this has to happen in seven days turn around, so it was always back to back for me.
Going forward, what can we expect for JIDEKA?
The African print was a try out for me because at the time in which I started it was trending, and worked for me as a way of entering the market. However, I don’t want to build the business on trends. I want to build a brand which outlives me and even outlives the next generation. In as much as African print may still feature in my next collection, it won’t be as dominant as it is now.
What do you think of customization? Are you open to personal requests?
Definitely! I actually stared off with customized orders, I’d never cut that part of the business off. You can never go wrong with making exactly what people want. They know the exact design and fabric they want, and so if I deliver well they’re always happy. And so why would you fix something that’s not broken?
Your store for now is strictly an online store. How are you finding e-commerce to be working for your store?
It’s going pretty but a bit slow because online requires a lot of marketing. With a retail physical store, someone can just pass by and stop over to have a look.
Still on the topic of technology, how has social media worked as a tool in moving the JIDEKA brand forward?
I use social mediation to showcase what’s new, to pass information to the consumer as well as just create a look and feel around the JIDEKA brand. It’s like an online Lookbook to get a feel of the brand. However, I’d really like to exploit it more.
Finally, what’s the next thing we should expect from JIDEKA?
I’m going to be launching my summer collection in September. I have an event coming up which will be a monthly event thereafter, through which we will celebrate women and fashion.
So where can we preview the JIDEKA range?
Instagram : @jidekaofficial
Shop online : www.jidekaofficial.com
I also have a blog through which I chat about trends and fashion, beauty, lifestyle, pop culture and my travels. Pamela Ifeneme – Business woman, fashion designer and blogger.