Hello! May we know you?
My names are Adelaja Temitope Adeola. The first child of Mr and Mrs Adeleke Adelaja and the only daughter born to a family of four. I was born on the 30th of November 1990. I am an indigene of Ilisan Remo in Ogun state Ikenne local government. I have my first degree as an industrial chemist in the Tai Solarin University of Education. I am an entrepreneur, a fashion designer.
Did you venture into fashion by chance or by choice?
I ventured into fashion by circumstance; I would like to share a story surrounding that. In my university days, I loved sewing a lot; I had lots of tailors surrounding me because I love to wear new cloth to church every Sunday. So I had an event and gave one of my tailors the cloth, he asked me to pay upfront; I gave him 75% of the upfront and asked me to come to pick it up on Friday. That Friday I planned to travel because the event was on Saturday, on getting to his studio to pick up my cloth so I can fit it since I was going to travel that same day by 6 pm. He was not around so I asked the apprentice to bring my cloth so I can fit it; they said they do not know the cloth that they have to call their boss. I just looked back and saw my cloth untouched, I did not know what to do, if I should cry, shout, fight, rant or scream. The next thing, I was tearing up because this guy just ruined the event and there is no other plan for the cloth as it is the one they picked for the function. I was so angry I could not attend. So I changed my mind to wear the cloth to church the next weekend. He apologized and I said no problem. I went back again the weekend he promised and on getting there, he made another style for me, the style he made was far from the one I picked, I was so pissed and angry. That was how the zeal set in that what is the big deal in this sewing thing, I can do it let me even try it out, that was what triggered my training.
Why did you decide to venture into fashion, as opposed to seeking a white-collar job?
I had always wished to have a white-collar job, but since I was denied of it, it made me discover myself more and I decided to pump more energy into the fashion business more which made me a full-time fashion designer today.
What were your fears before you ventured into the fashion industry?
A lot of fears, it took me years to overcome this. I was scared of rejection, scared of standard, scared of customers’ satisfaction but thanks to friends around who helped me build my confidence by giving me their clothes to sew. I had one friend then during NYSC, Abiola Bamgboye. Biola would collet her allowee and go to the market to buy materials and give it to me to sew for her, she would tell me “anyhow you make this cloth, that is how I will rock it”. She would wear it to church on Sunday and encourage me, tell me you can always get better and that has helped me.
Did you have any support, loan or grant when you started?
If yes, from where or from whom?
I got support from my parents. They got me my first sewing machine.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced since you started as a fashion designer and how did you scale through?
I would say customers’ satisfaction has been the most challenging; managing customers is a real deal because we have customers with different characters, but with the wisdom of God in place, I have been able to scale through in managing and retaining my clients.
At this level, what are the limiting factors you face?
The limiting factor the brand is facing now is a well-furnished studio for an official production because the dream is so big. Not just sewing alone but to run a standard fashionschool across the globe.
What prompted GratApparel, why did you choose to settle for that name?
The brand was called temmycraft before, so we decided to legalize the brand by registering with the CAC, during the period of the name search; we found out that the name already existed, so we had no other choice than to create another name. GRAT was coined from the word gratitude and gratitude was gotten from my name which means Temitope. It implies gratitude in English. Then Apparel means clothing being sewn and the brand is a clothing line so we decided to merge it and we have GRAT APPAREL today.
We observe that your customer base is quite large; at least, judging by the time you started. How did you manage to grow so much within such a short period?
It is just simple; we have been able to achieve this far with the help of God Almighty and the hands of referrals by our loyal and inestimable clients. Secondly, consistency and the spirit of never giving up at those dark moments kept us going.
As at the time you started, you must’ve believed that the fashion industry is a lucrative one. Did you find that to be true or were you disappointed after you ventured into it?
I am not disappointed, the Fashion industry is very lucrative and still lucrative, it gives rooms to display your God gifted talent in your capacity for profiting.
Do you have any plans of expanding your business?
Yes, we do, Grat apparel hasn’t gotten to its destination yet. Grat apparel is still on the move of growing bigger.
What’s the difference between the personality of miss Tope and the CEO of GratApparel? These two roles must demand different sides of you?
Yes, I would like to say God is the CEO, temitope Adelaja is just privileged by God to be the caretaker of the brand Grat Apparel on the earth. My personal life most times wants to cruise and enjoy but as Grat apparel wants to work, make a profit and establish a legacy for the brand, Merging this is tasking but with the wisdom of God, we always put through.
It’s obvious that your work is time demanding, how do you shuffle between your personal life and work?
Very Very demanding, the work takes more of my time. It is a 70/30. 70 percent goes to the brand Grat apparel and 30 percent goes to my personal life. I am just trying to balance it in that area.
Are you single or married? If you’re single, when will the wedding bells be jingling?
I am single and not searching. Very soon, the wedding bell is already jingling.
Does your boyfriend or fiancé complain that you don’t give him enough time and/or attention?
God has blessed me with an understanding man, he does not complain he would only advise me to take rest and never overwork myself.
You’re a pretty lady, how do you manage male clients or suitors?
I have set boundaries for male clients not to trespass.
What is your greatest fear?
God has not given us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind. The only thinking that pops up is when the brand would become a global entity.
What is your deepest regret?
Regret, No. The only thing I wish I had done was to have learned this fashion designing a long time ago.
Do you like or follow politics?
Not really, but I follow highlight.
Do you believe your vote counts?
Yes I know my vote count
If you were president for a day, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Wow, interesting. I would appreciate God for the opportunity. Firstly I would deal with unemployment by improving the agricultural sector and creating job opportunity.
What advice would you give potential investors or Nigerians abroad who intend to invest in Nigeria’s fashion industry?
You have made the right choice in investing in the Nigerian fashion industry because it is high time we promote our fashion heritage, enough of other county’s adoption of fashion. There are so many hidden talents embedded in Nigerian youth all we need is an investor to bring out the greatness and keep the fashion industry moving.
Thank you so much, thanks for this wonderful privilege, I feel honored and I have come to say thank you. The God that you have honored in my life would honor you in return in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much, I am grateful, Namaste.