His love for fashion has resulted in the establishment of a business that has currently become a household name in Ghana’s fashion industry. At the Senior High School level, he initially read Science, and later Accounting when he switched schools.
Dear readers, meet Edwin Obi Wilson of Ed Obi Fashion House, our Trail Blazer for this edition.
BizzAfrica: We are delighted to feature you and your business. Kindly introduce yourself for the benefit of our readers.
Edwin Obi Wilson: My name is Edwin Obi Wilson. I was born on 15th August, 1985. My parents had two children and i happen to be the guy amongst the two! I had my lower primary education at Tafo Methodist School and later at Neumann International School (both in Kumasi, Ghana). I then attended Tanoso Anglican Junior High School where I wrote my basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E). My Senior High School education was at Asanteman Senior High School–Kumasi, Ghana, where I read Science. I later moved to Sunyani Technical University where I read Accounting. I love reading and listening to music.
BizzAfrica: What do you do for a living?
Edwin Obi Wilson: I am a fashion designer.
BizzAfrica: Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? If yes, what businesses or startups have you started?
Edwin Obi Wilson: Yes. I see myself as an entrepreneur. I started Ed Obi Fashion House and we haven't looked back since.
BizzAfrica: Tell us about your business.
Edwin Obi Wilson: Ed Obi Fashion House is basically a clothing brand located in Kumasi, Ghana. The brand is noted for churning out unique and innovative designs. Social media has been our main marketing tool and about fifty percent of sales are done online. Our clientele is scattered across the globe. We do delivery irrespective your location.
BizzAfrica: What was the inspiration for this business?
Edwin Obi Wilson: During my national service, I had someone who was sewing customised clothes for me. My colleagues (also service persons) started telling me they loved my personal outfits. They told me they needed some, and so I bought a fabric and gave it to my tailor to sew one of them. I couldn't take their measurements at the time(because i didn't know how to use the tape measure!). In order to sew for one of my colleagues I got someone who looked like that colleague and showed him to my tailor who in turn took his measurements and sew for my colleague. It was perfect. Another colleague came and I did same for him too. In a short while, I had done it for about six people and so I realized I could make a business out of it. I informed my colleagues that I wanted to put my profit margin on it because I'm making it my business. They told me they were willing to buy.
I started buying fabrics for my tailor to sew so I could sell. My customer base started expanding so my tailor couldn't handle the number of orders coming in. I decided to look for more people to sew for me. I got two more people on board but I still needed more hands. In my quest to get more people to sew for me, I chanced on one designer and i realized his works was better than all I had seen. I told him I wanted him to sew for me so I could sell. I also told him I wanted to learn how to sew. He obliged.
I knew I would establish a fashion company with employees. Initially, the motive was to learn how to sew so that I could supervise my staff in order not to sell substandard products. I gave the learning process my all. In three months I could sew. I remained with my boss to perfect my skills. I came to love sewing and so eventually, I decided to sew my products personally. The company was therefore born.
BizzAfrica: Impressive! What is your target market; and how feasible is your line of business in today’s African market?
Edwin Obi Wilson: The modern African has taste and class and is able to relate with products which fit that criteria. Our target market is therefore individuals who are mostly found in the middle and upper class bracket who have such taste and class.
BizzAfrica: Tell us about funding. How are you financing your business?
Edwin Obi Wilson: We started very small with a meager national service allowance. We ploughed back our little profits into the business in others to expand. We haven't taken a bank loan till date.
BizzAfrica: Any challenges?
Edwin Obi Wilson: Yes, a lot of challenges. Notable among them is frequent power cuts which come as a result of load shedding. High cost of production is also a major challenge. Electricity, raw materials, rent, etc. come at a higher cost.
BizzAfrica: How do you see your business in the next five( 5) years?
Edwin Obi Wilson: We want the brand to be a household name in the next five (5) years with presence in most cities around the world.
BizzAfrica: If you had the chance to send a message to the President, what would it be?
Edwin Obi Wilson: My humble appeal to His Excellency will be to restructure our educational system for entrepreneurship to be taught in basic schools up to the tertiary level. With this, the child is wired to be an entrepreneur straight from the word “go”, in the absence of a job when they grow up, he or she can easily adapt and establish a business.
BizzAfrica: Thank you for your time.
Edwin Obi Wilson: Anytime.