Something stands out for us about this Craftstar and I’ll get to it pretty soon. You may know this or not, but in the business of dressing people up, skill is just not enough. It is important to have a package (product plus service) that appeals to at least one emotion in your customers.
Like we learned during #Augustmarketer ‘don’t ever feel it is the product you are selling. NO, IT IS AN EMOTION , a perception’. Well, Folashade is a master at this game and this is what attracted me to her on Instagram some time back and it’s been awesomeness since then.
That is beside the fact that she makes the most eye-popping and unique bags that aptly fit the description – arm candy. Well, I had a chat with Folashade Yusuph of January5ive Creations (J5C) and here it is in print. Enjoy!
MCM: Please tell us a little about you.
Folashade Yusuph: My name is Yusuph Folashade, a graduate of Mass Communication. I love to write (even though I hardly do that anymore. Lol) and I love creativity in whatever form it comes.
MCM: Awesome. The ‘writing love’ certainly shows in your social media posts. Well, tell us how and when you arrived at J5C, is it what you’ve always wanted to do?
Folashade Yusuph: Lol thanks. J5C actually started as a hobby. I used to work in an E-commerce company and I just used to make bags on the side. At the time, I didn’t even regard it as a side hustle. It was just something I liked to do and then I started enjoying it more than I enjoyed my job.
And of course, I was also getting great responses so I woke up one day and thought, why can’t this be a full-time thing. And that was it. I didn’t grow up thinking, “Oh, I want to be a bag-maker” or anything like that.
I work alone for now but when the need arises, I have a small ad hoc committee that I work with.
MCM: But you had some training in bag-making?
Folashade Yusuph: Yes, I did. From a friend. She didn’t even take it seriously. I’m not even sure she still makes bags because we lost contact a while ago. But of course, it gets better with time as with all other skills. And your level of creativity.
MCM: Yes! I’m guessing the name J5C comes from your birth date, right? So, how long have you run it as a business and has it been up to your expectations?
Folashade Yusuph: Lol. Yes, I love birthdays. To me, they signify a new beginning, so I wanted a name that would reflect a new beginning and still be very personal. As a business, January5ive Creations started in May 2015. It’s still a baby and as with all babies, we are still learning and still growing.
Expectation wise, I don’t think we have done badly. Yes, there’s still plenty room to grow but it’s safe to say that we are doing all we can to ensure that we are taking the right steps in the right directions.
MCM: Yours is definitely the kind of cheery baby that everyone wants to carry 😃
Folashade Yusuph: Lol! Thank you. I’d like to think so too
MCM: What are your materials of choice and why?
Folashade Yusuph: We have a preference for statement materials. Print fabrics (including African print), sequins and materials with details.
We believe that accessories are an integral part of fashion and we understand the need to turn heads with your outfit, especially as women. So with our creations, which are always a blend of a careful selection of materials and great attention to details, we ensure that we live up to our slogan ”if it doesn’t turn heads, we didn’t make it”.
MCM: That is quite interesting. Want to share any memorable moments or major milestones achieved for J5C so far?
Folashade Yusuph: Memorable moments… There’s been a few 😊; a couple of radio, newspaper and TV interviews. We also got featured by Stanbic Bank in their “A day in the Life” campaign.
And not forgetting a few features by social media bloggers. It’s actually been very encouraging. Goes to show we are doing something right.
MCM: Impressive! I sure hope this particular one stands out for you
Folashade Yusuph: It definitely will 😀
MCM: Then what peculiar challenges have you struggled with in your business?
Folashade Yusuph: The challenges are the same. Firstly, patent rights. It’s very frustrating for you to sit for hours, sometimes days, to come up with a design and then before you know it, someone copies the exact same thing and puts ‘Inspired by…’! Imitation, to me, is not a form of flattery.
MCM: Oh wow! Now that is another level. A lot of crafters that I speak with even wish to get the mention ‘Inspired by..’ when people copy their work. LOL!
I agree though. Those patent laws cannot get here early enough. People should get paid for their originality.
Folashade Yusuph: Exactly. This person you are copying, has the person even made money from this design? Or gotten any gratification for it?
MCM: Asides enforcing patent rights, what would you like to see the government and private investors do for the Handmade sector?
Folashade Yusuph: The government can help with small loans. BOI is currently doing that but it can get better. Every small business needs funds because the first few months of establishment may not actually bring in profits.
Private investors can also partner with small business owners and help with other areas like setting up infrastructure, publicity et al. The difference between a small and big business most times is infrastructure and that doesn’t come cheap.
MCM: Hmm. What would you like to say to other handmade business owners out there?
Folashade Yusuph: I live by two quotes;
1.) Keep doing you. The universe cannot resist authenticity. – Anonymous
2.) A creative mind is motivated by the desire to achieve not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand
To add to this, handmade business owners should learn to collaborate. Collaboration is the new competition. Find someone that makes complimentary products and work together.
MCM: And lastly, what is your vision for J5C?
Folashade Yusuph: My vision for J5C is larger than life itself. We are already working towards having a clothing line and that should be ready by early next year. We would also have more items for men and children.
MCM: So there’s going to be something for everyone in the very near future. Certainly something to look forward to. Thank you for your time today, Folashade. It’s been great chatting with you.
Nothing more to be said. You absolutely must check her out on her Instagram page. But meanwhile, drop your questions and comments for her in the comment boxes below.