If you love fashion or are some kind of entrepreneur then get in here as we interview Uche Oti. He is the brains behind L’ouche Clothiers, a mens clothing brand. The culture of the company and the way they cater to their clients (his company refers to clients as kings) is just one of the impressive things that make L’ouche a brand to watch.
Howfana: How would you describe your brand?
Uche Oti: It’s a male clothing line. We provide clothing solutions, helping them experience the air of excellence and prompt service delivery.
“It’s my Oil and Gas, it’s my hospital, it’s my chambers.”
Why only men’s clothing or is that just for now?
I felt that the men weren’t been given too much attention when it came to tailoring services. Everybody felt that to be successful as a fashion entrepreneur you had to provide services to the female customers because they are perceived to be the ones who patronize tailoring services more. I thought differently and so far I think we’ve been able to change that perception. And we do not look forward to servicing female customers anytime soon because I haven’t been able to keep up with the demands of the men yet.
How did you land on this career path?
“People won’t see it beyond the way you see it, or value it beyond the way you value it.”
I had no intention of becoming a fashion entrepreneur but we live in a society where there are a lot of untapped potentials. There are challenges and if anybody decides to rise up and provide a solution you might see a side of you that you didn’t know existed. After secondary school I spent a year or two with my mom who happens to be a seamstress and I learned a few things from her. I had always been someone with a good dress sense, and coming to Port Harcourt [from Calabar], I realized that people didn’t impress me when it came to what they wore. So I just offered to help them provide solutions in that area and somehow word went round.
I kept having people call me up to tailor stuff for them and advice them on what to wear and how to combine their clothes. That made me realize that there was something missing in this area. Plus, a lot of people felt that the solutions to these problems were in Lagos. I thought, why don’t we have something like that in Port Harcourt? We started by rendering services to people and making sure that it was as good as what they would go outside to get. I am happy that majority of the men in the South South don’t have to go far anymore to look for solutions when it comes to tailoring services. Even in places like Abuja and Lagos we have a huge client base because of our values as a team.
L’ouche has existed for five years. What lessons have you learned that could be of benefit to any entrepreneur who is at that painful beginning stage of their business?
Patience; a lot of people are not patient. Also you need to place value on what you do. I used to say to people that this was my own Garden of Eden, my own garden which God has given me to tend. It’s my Oil and Gas, it’s my hospital, it’s my chambers. As much as some professions are seen as very important, this is my own everything that they assume theirs to be. I have a high sense of value. The value you give to your business will determine how much you will be willing to invest and how far you will be willing to go regardless of the challenges. People won’t see it beyond the way you see it, or value it beyond the way you value it. If you come around our premises today you’ll wish you were a tailor. Also I would say, building capacity is very important.
“Let’s play down on the glam and focus more on being productive and doing business as it ought to be.”
Is there any other brand that you’re are fond of these days, perhaps someone who makes something that you don’t make?
In terms of the person’s approach and growth pattern, I admire Seyi Vodi. He is not really about the glam, he is a business person, and that’s the type of person I am. Seyi is someone I respect so much. We don’t know each other on a personal level but I follow him and I see his growth pattern. He is someone who does something which I like to do; he is constantly evolving and building capacity. That is something I think every fashion entrepreneur should do. Let’s play down on the glam and focus more on being productive and doing business as it ought to be.