She is pretty, young and very fashionable. She is not a pushover in the style department either and you would always give her a second look. A sight for sore eyes, Mrs. Gladys Owobu who runs the Pretty-you-couture store in Lekki, must have loved fabrics to have turned a fabric merchant in a highbrow area in Lagos, Nigeria.
A graduate of Economics from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, she recalls how she became a fabric merchant. “I went into the business because I love fashion and I love the beauty of our culture,” she enthuses.
Generous, committed to her business and the home front, she has successfully run her fabric business for over 12 years. Of course, she is not the vain-seeking type who makes noise on social media without a viable business to show, Owobu, boasts a clientele which spells class and high taste for fabulous fabrics. That must have been a plus for her because she would always consider her clients while sourcing fabrics anywhere in the world.
Just back from her trip abroad with lovely fabrics, her new arrivals would make your heart melt. With many customers trooping in to buy from the new stocks, her shop assistants are finding it tough handling the surging crowd. Need you blame them? Her store has sourced for ‘Aso Ebi’ for numerous parties, weddings and other soirees in Lagos, London and other parts of the world. One of such parties that she supplied the Aso Ebi was Nollywood’s Iyabo Ojo’s mum’s burial party.
The lovely royal blue sequined fabric mixed with gold added sparks to the party. So many guests bought the fabrics and made lovely designs of it. “Star actress, Iyabo Ojo is our brand ambassador and she thought it well that we should supply ‘Aso Ijo’ for her and her guests for her mum’s remembrance. We did and that had a great impact on our brand,” Owobu recollects.
“From that party, our brand, pretty-you-couture was on everyone’s lips and before we knew what was happening, our sales improved, and orders for aso-ebi are endless now. As you know, we sketch aso ebi designs to bring it to reality.” Owobu would tell you that seeing you wear her brand makes her excited.
“In fact, I got the name, Pretty-You for my business just by appreciating what women wear. Then, I would always pay compliments to the ladies who dress well. If you are wearing a lovely fabric, I would say, ‘pretty you’. That became like a trademark and everyone started calling me ‘Pretty You,” she recalls.
That also inspires her whenever she is sourcing for fabrics that she wants to sell. “ I think of my customers and how the fabrics would look on them.
I love seeing people happy when they wear my brand, so I put in all my effort to make sure I go for the best,” Owobu, who is renowned for selling exclusive fabulous fabrics, gushes. Is the business lucrative? She reveals, “Yes, it is. I agree that we are so many in this business now, but your client that knows your brand will always stick with you.” Advising young entrepreneurs on how to have a successful fabric business, Owobu who is married to a Yoruba man declares, “First, you must have a passion for fabrics.
You don’t think of the money you are going to make at the initial stage, just be driven with a passion to sell fabrics and make people look good. Then, you locate your niche and work at it. Be honest too. Don’t buy inferior fabrics and start selling at expensive prices, you would be labeled wrongly and that will affect your business.
“If you are selling China, tell your customers that it is China. If its Korean made, let them know. If you are buying from Italy, Austria or Dubai, let them know. Honesty makes a lot of difference in the world of fabric merchandise. Telling just one lie can cost you thousands of customers.”
For 2022, the brand Pretty-You-couture is aiming higher. Not one to be ignored among high end fabric merchants in Lagos, Owobu unveils her plans: “Pretty-you-couture has a lot up her sleeves in 2022. We aren’t taking things lightly at all and we are working towards making our brand one of the best in the fashion industry. We are introducing new businesses into Pretty-You-Couture this year and already that has started. We are doing it one step at a time,” she says.
Her style? “I love timeless pieces. My style is classy and exquisite. To me, less is more.”