We had an interactive session with the CEO of Dzine Dzakuma. Dzine is a very determined, focused and passionate Fashion Entrepreneur. One who is not afraid of change and therefore, a risk-taker. A woman who wants things done to perfection. One who upholds standards and works with structures. She is a Christian and married with three children whom she enjoys spending time with. In her words “Since I am in the fashion industry, I would like to raise the standard of sewing in the country, bring to the fore all the potential there is in the industry and make people see fashion as a serious business that can transform Ghana rather than something you do when you don’t pass your exams”. Dzine Dzakuma clothing are timeless, smart, and versatile everyday-clothing for the Ghanaian man and woman made to the highest standards of tailoring. Using both quality local and foreign fabrics, we’ve designed classy ready-to wear clothes that define your individual style and has been in existence since October 2014. Read more below.
TnbGH: How did you get into design?
DD: Design came to me by accident. I had to totally switch from my career as a Development Expert to making clothes full-time. I was pursuing a PhD programme in the University of Sussex in the UK in 2010 and had the opportunity to come home to Ghana for holidays and that was when it all began. There was a lot of advocacy on the radio, print media and also from the government to embrace entrepreneurship i.e. urging citizens to establish their own businesses because of the enabling environment we had in the country and also for the fact that there was a job deficit. I thought this was a good idea to pursue so I put my post-graduate studies on hold and rather trained for one year in garment design and construction to know and appreciate all the technicalities of the clothing business before I established my own.
TnbGH: What makes your brand unique?
What makes us unique is this: the quality of the stitching and our perfectionistic attention to detail ensure that every Dzine Dzakuma garment is a masterpiece. The tailoring is clearly international. Because we’re a ready-to-wear brand, our clothes come in many sizes and so we have sizes readily available for everybody. We also fit and alter garments as required by our clients so every item bought is just perfect. It’s an experience to walk into a Dzine Dzakuma shop: the ambience, the colours -just amazing. The shop is spacious and well-lit. Customer satisfaction is guaranteed because of our excellent customer service. We put premium on feed-back from our clients.
TnbGH: As a RTW brand, what has been your greatest challenge? And how have you overcome them?
The greatest challenge for us has been financing. As a ready-to-wear company, we bear all expenses, from procuring fabrics all the way through to production. Until the garments are bought, your money is ‘stuck’. But our excellent customer service ensures that customers who come in to buy often become repeatitive and loyal customers so we recoup the money invested. We also make new and interesting garments for all to enjoy again and again. Clients are assured of new garments every week they visit the shop. Another challenge we had was that some body types did not easily fit into standard sizes especially for those endowed at the bottom. We have successfully overcome this by producing garments that have flowy bottoms as in gathered, pleated or flared bottoms.
TnbGH: Share with us your experience as a development expert and how you intend to fuse it into fashion design.
As a Development Expert, I’ve worked in NGOs (Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA) as a Programs Manager and embarked on various projects in 40 African countries to create awareness of preventive measures on HIV/AIDS. I also joined the UN and worked with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) where I was in charge of a National Migration Profiling Project for the country. After having worked with projects that impacted lives, I see myself as someone who can use fashion as an avenue through which I can empower the younger generation and professional persons. I have always talked about the huge deficit in clothing we have in Ghana which has led to our continually importing clothing all the time. The middle and upper classes also are not very satisfied with the services they get from the fashion industry here and usually go abroad to fulfil their clothing needs. We have therefore come into this business to bridge that gap. Being a Development Expert fuelled my desire to see Ghana and Ghanaians become self-reliant. We’ll have to try and produce everything we need here in this country to the highest possible standard. That is why my company is raising the standards of sewing in the country and working steadily toward gaining a competitive edge and a bigger share of the market in the industry. Once people begin to look up to and imitate our high standards, they are empowered to do their best at all times for their products and the country as a whole. People in this industry have to adhere to certain sewing standards in order to satisfy their customers and also compete with products coming from abroad. When people begin to have confidence in made-in Ghana clothing, there surely would be a total reliance on it and imports of cheap and second hand clothing from China, USA and the UK would be curtailed.
TnbGH: Are your clothes mainly for the high end of society?
Yes, they are. As I said earlier, this is a kind of niche market intended to serve those of the middle and upper classes and all who prize premium-quality tailoring and garments. So if you want clothing made to very high standards and which gives value for money, then Dzine Dzakuma is the place for you. Currenlty, we have eight collections, counting from 2015. From now on though, we’ll release about 4 each year, one collection per quarter.
TnbGH :Share with us your regular day in your life.
I get in at 7.30 every morning, have my quiet time, look through our schedule and see what we need to do for the day. At 8 a.m., I plan our work for the day with my team and then I go to the production department to see what outstanding work has to be done by the tailors as well as what new projects we have to work on. Then I spend some time designing/illustrating based on what we’re doing for our present or new collection, honour scheduled appointments, go out and source for fabrics and notions where necessary, spend time in the shop and assist customers with clothing (fitting) and do managerial and administrative work as well before I end the day.
TnbGH: A lot of people want to just quit their jobs to start up something for themselves, what advice would you offer anyone who’s about to take that step?
Starting your own business is an awesome idea. However, there are certain things to consider before quitting your job to be a full-time entrepreneur. One is Finances, because business requires money. And you’d also need a very good business idea that is worth pursuing, would solve a problem and appeal to your target group too.
Training and research are also a prerequisite. Do a SWOT analysis so you know the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in your chosen field. You should also do well to know the competition and how you can penetrate this competition to get a fair market share. Have the passion, the determination and the drive to be a successful entrepreneur.
TnbGH: Where do you find inspiration for each collection?
My determination to lift this industry: raise the standards, stop the mediocrity in the industry and develop the country all inspire me.
TnbGH: Where do you see Dzine Dzakuma in 5 years?
I see a very strategic and structured expansion of the business within Accra and in some regions of the country. I also see us adding new clothing lines such as children’s and menswear.
Inspire us in a sentence
Run with your passion and be the best you can ever be.