In an exclusive interview we speak with Gerald Agbai, Head Designer/Creative Director of ElanWay about Success, how he makes his daily business decisions, long term goals.
Read the full interview below
VL: How did the idea for your business come about?
I have always had a passion for style and fashion, yet the trends I saw around didn’t reflect anything that interested me. I began doing research on fashion styles and took a particular interest in street wear. It amazed me how it captured so much individuality, inspiring me to start my own international streetwear brand that people could express themselves through my brand.
VL: What was your key driving force to become a fashion designer?
I felt the market lacked authenticity and I had ideas that I believed would change that. With a background of business and chemical engineering, i work with a lot of precision and those features of my character made me successful in becoming a fashion designer.
VL: How did you come up with the name for your company?
The name of the company is comes from the word elan referring to distinctive and stylish elegance. Our brand embodies these characteristics with its one of a kind style for anyone to rock.
VL: How do you build a successful customer base?
I believe the most important aspect of any business is a customer base. I have done research and hired experts to analyze where majority of my customer base comes from and what they are about. From that information, we have found innovative ways to advertise through various online platforms to better cater to them. But, growing our customer base doesn’t just stop at advertisements we value feedback from our patrons to keep them coming back.
VL: How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Our website and online presence is crucial to marketing of ElanWay. Leveraging online tools like Instagram and TikTok through content from influencers. They are a major source of our marketing techniques because they bring a fresh sense of creativity to our clothes.
VL: What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
The main goal in building my company from the ground up was ensuring I had a healthy work environment for my employees and I. By respecting their time and value as employees, I make sure to remind them how much their contributions to our brand mean. With our country being international, our collaboration between each other and customers has grown stronger building our reputation as a top retailer in fashion e-commerce.
VL: How do you define success?
I define success through the quality I produce. I believe reliability of a brand is what creates success, it makes me feel fulfilled as a business owner. I define success as challenging myself, growing, and learning. This gives me a chance to reflect on how much I’m helping my team and company. The truest test of success is considering results you achieve together and identifying ways to improve.
VL: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful fashion designer?
I don’t believe there is any formula to being successful in this field, but perseverance is a common denominator in achieving your goals. It’s kind of like the saying only the strong will survive; there will be so many obstacles to reaching the goals you may have but consistency is key.
VL: What is your favorite aspect of being a fashion designer?
Having my dream of becoming a designer touch the lives of so many. Seeing my designs come to life on the people who have so uniquely styled them, mixing and matching my pieces to reflect their individuality. This inspires me so much to keep going and finding new ways to cater to my customers.
VL: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There is not just one satisfying moment in being an entrepreneur. I have enjoyed the entirety of my experience, with being able to meet people from all walks of life to touching lives through influencing. I am satisfied knowing that i pursued my dream of fashion design and hope someone would be inspired to do the same in following their passion.