Femina Ideas- Do Big Stay Small

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The key to this entrepreneur’s success has been to keep her product exclusive, even if it means losing a few sales. When South African travel agent Michelle Okafor travelled to Nigeria in 2009, she fell in love with the colourful fabrics that Nigerian women wear. “You couldn’t get fabrics like that in South Africa,” she said. “I wanted to create everyday wear with them, and so I brought some fabric home and put up ads on Gumtree looking for freelance designers and seamstresses who could help me.” It wasn’t long before Michelle started getting complimented on her unique and unusual clothes, and she realised there was a market for these bright clothes. In 2012, she launched Michelle Okafor African Designs. “I had a lot of people asking me if I do matric dance dresses,” she says. “But you can’t be everything to everybody. I’m creating a niche brand.”

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