We talked to Dennis Osadebe, owner of D&D Clothing and Tailoring in Dubai, UAE about building the brand from the beginning and maintaining a fashion business.
Dennis Osadebe founded luxury tailoring services for Africans in Dubai two years ago. And now It became a success business, slowly growing to a full ready-to-wear collection and tailoring services for more that 350 companies worldwide.
We discusses business, brand values and the importance of a team you trust.
Why did you come to set up the African brand in Dubai?
As an entertainer I have passion in fashion industry. I left Nigeria to come to Dubai to shoot movies, but I couldn’t afford it, so i used fashion to settled down myself in the city. After going around UAE I didn’t have that kind of money to invest. And being a fashionista I’ve chosen to create an african brand in UAE, because no one was doing that before. So I can use this opportunity to reach my brothers and sisters in Africa.
How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic?
Attention to details. I like that something simple but unique, and everyone can afford. Our mission is to be sure that I reached every African home around the world and they are really proud of my brand.
Is it easy to start business in Dubai?
It’s not (smiling).
What were your difficulties?
I didn’t know a culture, people, it was hard to understand the country. For you to start a business in UAE you must be a professional. You should know exactly what you are doing, because Dubai is very stylish and UAE like people who has an idea. Coming to Dubai alone and building wonderful team – that’s makes me happy now.
How have you grown the brand since you started out?
When we started nobody knows us. But you have to keep pushing business to every african person and now we are proud to be receiving every day around 50 african customers in our store. Apart from that, of course we have European, Arabic people who like our products. And we are starting now our online shop as well. We are so proud to be shipping our clothes around the world. Even the last custom made wedding dress we sent to Australia.
You know, Our brand has grown in terms of scale – working now all over the world with agents and distributors – and we are trying to grow, adding more categories like Accessories as well. But it is really important to stay true to our values and keep the same handwriting in every business.
What kind of business you have here in Dubai?
I’m into General Trading, I have D&D Travel and Tourism company, so we do visas for people around the world, inbound and outbound tours, but fashion business is my passion. Entertainment is my hobby, it makes me feel happy. You can not do something you don’t have passion about.
How do you balance your travel business and fashion?
I like travelling as well, so i decided to see how I can introduce Africa in Dubai. Africa is a big continent, and it’s a big opportunity to introduce them any country. And I have a really good team, both for tailoring and for retail, and I prioritise my time accordingly. It’s important for me to know my customer, so I make sure I spend at least three days a week in the store.
Is traveling regularly also an important aspect of your creative process?
When we travel, everything we’re experiencing, all these new things, whether it’s something we see on our bikes or if we’re traveling in a car, all of this informs us, it triggers different ideas in our minds. Art, film, music, a trip, it could even be a video game, in all honesty the inspirations come from everything other than fashion.
Who choose a design for your shop?
I have amazing designers from Europe, Asia and Africa. That’s makes our product so unique. They are people, who sacrifice their time to make sure that we are reaching our goals.
Are you going to exhibit your brand in another countries?
I would love my brand to be everywhere in the world. We are getting calls from Paris, New York, and London, and this enables me to research other countries. It’s important to make our clothing look different and add new collections every season.
What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
Never take anything for granted. As well, UAE government makes your business easier with their smart network, so everyone here wants to help you grow. It took us a while talking to people to understand the rules and regulations here regarding trade licences and exporting. It’s been a big learning curve but once we secured our licence, our business was up and we already was known as D&D Clothing and Tailoring.
Do your growth plans include opening a boutique?
Yes, for sure. We have small shop in the same Tailoring Shop, But I want my brand to be in a whole world.
How has the business adapted in two years?
We have seen a huge increase in sales. Initially everything was reinvested into the business as we grew so quickly; we constantly needed to up our order quantities and increase the breadth of our range. Online selling is strengthening in the UAE, but we still love direct contact with customers and we get a lot of new business because of our images on Instagram and Facebook. As well, we have now our production in a different countries, like Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Is it a challenge maintaining quality control with overseas suppliers?
Because we are passionate about fabrics and styles we were very particular in the beginning about the quality of manufacturing. We focused a lot of energy toward finding the right people, who shared our passion and vision. All our dress fabrics are either sourced or hand screen printed in Indonesia and some of our tailors based there. We have a very close relationship and visit our manufacturers and screen printers two/three times a year to check on production and start the process for printing new designs. We are constantly in contact via email and text.
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid to produce?
No no, we are up to everything. Nothing is impossible.
Are you wearing just own brand or you like any others as well?
For dresses yes, The last two years I use just my own brand, but for shoes I prefer Gucci or Louis Vuitton.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
From the beginning of the year I planned to open one more branch, so I achieved it by September. And that’s makes me proud.
Where are you getting your fabric from?
Our fabric is coming from Italy, England, Turkey, Japan, sometimes I source locally as well.
Was it difficult to found your team?
Yeah, it was not easy to search for the right people, but time shows who is becoming your family.
What was your biggest mistake in Dubai
Of course working with a wrong people. But it’s your experience. And I’m thankful for that. Now we have an amazing team, and it makes me proud.
What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
Somebody who has passion, who believe in the same dream .
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Highly important. Social media has had a very positive impact on the fashion industry. And not just fashion.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want people to feel confident when they are wearing my clothing. Because now What you wear now shows who you are. I think the most important thing, is that clothes should give you confidence. And our clothes definitely do that.
We are inviting you to visit our shop at Dubai, UAE. To make an appointment call or Whatsapp +971543061765