We Make The Best Socks In Africa – Abiona | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Make The Best Socks In Africa – Abiona

Segun Abiona
Posted: Nov 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

 

Segun Abiona is the Creative Director and founder of Nicole and Giovanni Socks, a company that manufactures socks. He resigned from his banking job to set a company that has been acclaimed to manufacture the best wearing socks in the country. He spoke to Ikechi Nzeako on his company’s activities. Excerpts:

What does the company do?
We produce socks; we produce the best wearing socks in Africa. Our socks are comparable to others worldwide.

Where did the inspiration to start the business come from?

It is a divinely inspired business and I see it as the best opportunity. We are proffering solutions, styling men, enhancing their dress sense and raising their confidence level. It is a business that I am happy doing.

How long have you been in the socks making business?

I have been in the business since 2014; I returned to Nigeria in November of 2013. We have been around for about two and half years now.

How has the business fared over the years?

The business has been fantastic, the market for the brand has been great and the return on investment has been exceptional. It can only get better but the awareness about the product is what we are working on to improve everyday. We are currently present in all the geopolitical regions of the country. Recently, we participated in an exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany and also the GTB Fashion Weekend event which was a huge success. We are hoping that in the next 10 years the N&G brand would have birthed the greatest brands ever witnessed  and a force to be reckoned with.

What was the target market when you set up the company?

Our target audience was the man, woman and child who seeks to upgrade his style and build confidence. We attract the working class men, sports men and women, family, chief executive officers and people at the top echelon of management.

There is massive import of socks into the country, how do you compare the socks you produce and the imported ones?

When you talk about quality, we produce the best wearing socks; we go through a major quality control processes and procedures. Our socks are produced for the typical African man. They can’t be compared with socks imported from temperate regions. Our socks are breathable, strong and designed to keep you comfortable and not hot.

Everyday is an opportunity to innovate and we will keep giving all to see positive change happen.

How did you get the seed money to start?

Well there is no money anywhere; truth is money will come when your idea is ready to carry it. When it comes to funding, i made use of my credit card and joint contributions with friends (commonly referred to as “Ajo”). This is an interest free source. We have a lot of associations and groups that come together to pull resources; that is the best source of funding you can ever get. Over time when your company has grown you can start looking for funds that come with low interest to grow it further after validating your idea. For me, the bank is the last place I want to go and borrow money.

What challenges have you faced?

There will always be challenges in any business. There will be times you ask yourself if you are in the right business. Truth is you have to be focused; you have to be strong and determined. A lot of storms; what will separate you from others is your work ethic and the strength to listen to divine instructions. With absolute trust in God, the probability of failure is zero.

How will you describe the business environment in the country?

The business environment is harsh; everybody knows that. But the truth is what do you see? As long as you can see positivity, you will not go down. With a good plan and a good structure,  and great execution , you will stay relevant.

What do you want government to do to make the business environment better?

There are policies that do not support SMEs; they should be reviewed. The dwindling foreign exchange market isn’t helping either. However, many small business are springing up regardless of the state of the nation.