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Posted: Mar 23, 2016 at 8:14 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Mrs. Omolara Aromolaran is the chief executive officer of Crown Natures Nigeria Plc, a company that manufactures consumer-garmenting products and apparels that are everyday wears.

In this interview with Ikechi Nzeako, she says the company produces consumer apparels that are worn on a regular basis and are not necessarily produced for a particular person but are mass-produced based on different sizes and purchasing power of clients. She states that the company manufactures branded and unbranded headwear such as baseball caps, polo caps, bucket hats, crown hats, special visors, Fidel Castro caps, sun visors and other textile related items.

She says company’s state of the art factory is equipped with the latest and modern headwear and apparels machinery to deliver high quality products to clients.


What led to the establishment of this line of business?

We observed that there was a gap in the garmenting line of production whereby most of the clothing materials that were used in the country were mainly imported from China. What makes the Chinese economy to thrive is their ability to produce the products that they need and export to other countries. China also has the technology and the population to produce for the local population and export the excess to other countries. Nigeria is a country that has the labour force that can produce for the economy of the country to thrive. We believed that we could fill that gap by producing high quality clothing materials for Nigerians at affordable prices. What really makes an economy to thrive is the capacity to use its labour force to produce what it needs and the population consumes what is produced and the rest is exported to other countries. Nigeria is one country that has the population that that can be used to make industry to thrive. There are three key elements that can lead to the industrialisation of an economy: labour, infrastructure and market demand. These three elements are available in Nigeria. This is what prompted the setting up of the company.

What exactly do you produce?

What we produce is consumer-garmenting products. In other words, we produce apparels that are everyday wears; we produce consumer apparels that are worn on a regular basis and not necessarily produced for a particular person but are mass-produced based on different sizes, purchasing power of clients to buy the products. We have the labour force that produces the products and we have a ready market in the country and we also have the infrastructure in place, although not at the level want it. What we have can lead to achieve industrialisation in the sector.

In addition, when you go in this direction, you are enabling the economy to grow, create employment, create wealth and become innovative and the economy continues to grow and you have overall development.

What has been the experience since you started the manufacturing the company?

It has been a wonderful experience since we started. Naturally you do not have everything that you needed at the beginning. Yes it was tough when we started, Nigerians did not believe that it was possible to start a cloth manufacturing company in the country then. Importers, who go abroad and import cheap and low quality products into the country largely dominate the cloth industry in the country and Nigerians believe that anything that is manufactured overseas is superior to the ones that are made in Nigeria even if the reverse is the case. When we started, many Nigerians did not believe that we could produce the quality that they required, but day-by-day we continued to improve on the quality of our products and we have proved that we can meet the standard of imported clothing materials and even surpass them.

What is the quality of your products relative to imported ones?

The quality of our products relative to imported ones is about the same and in some instances, the quality of our products is higher than that of imported clothing materials. We have been able to match the imported ones terms of quality and when you see our products, you will think that they were imported into the country. One thing that we did at the beginning was to make sure that our products were of high standard because we knew that the market we were targeting had a preference for imported materials.

In terms of pricing, how do the prices of your products compare to those of imported ones?

Our prices, despite the situation in the country, compare favourably to the prices of imported ones. In fact, based on the quality difference, our prices are lower than the prices of imported products. Some of the products that are imported into the country are low in quality and they are sold as high standard products. But we are producing goods that are of high standard and the prices are still affordable.

How do you source your raw materials? Do you get them locally?

We source our raw materials from Nigeria; most of the raw materials that we use come from here. One of the results of industrialisation is that it impacts value chain. When there is an end like us that produce the finished products, we buy from the producers of raw materials. We have the textile companies in Nigeria who produce the fabrics that we use.

There are funds and schemes that government says it has provided for small and medium enterprises. Have you been able to access any?

Yes we have been able to access funding under the Cotton, Textile, and Garment Fund from the Bank of Industry and we are still hoping to get more support because what we intend to do is mass-production. We are not at the level we want to be and we want to be able to meet the demand of the local market. The demand in the local market for our product is huge. So we still need more support from the Bank of Industry and the Federal government to enable us meet the local market and earn foreign exchange for the country. This because what we are producing can compete in terms of quality and price with every other good that is out there in the global market.


What is your assessment of the Nigerian business environment?

The business environment is quite tough because there are some good policies that if implemented, will make it easier to do business in the country but those that are saddled with the responsibility of implementing the policies make it too cumbersome and the business community does not benefit. But with perseverance and determination and focus, you can still achieve you objective of going into business in the country.

What advice do you have for operators of small and medium enterprises in the country?

First they must know why they are in that business; they must know what they want to achieve in that business. When you have a clear vision and know what you want to achieve on a long run, you keep at it. Do the best that you can do; ensure that you improve your processes. Ensure that what you are offering has value; value sustains any kind of business; every business must add value and must strive to increase value. If you continue to add value, this is what will make the business to stand the test of time. If you go into a line business, you must know why you are in it, it should not be about money all the time. You must know the basic reason for going into any line of business and the reason for going into the business determines how far you can thrive in it. Make sure that your customers get value, that is what they are paying for and that is what makes the customer to return you after the initial purchase of your product or service.