By Agnes E. Nantaba
Joel Suubi has become popular for making hand-made bags, card holders, wallets and anything that can be made from African fabrics. The diploma holder in Textiles and Fabric Decoration combined his professional skills with the traditional knowledge of weaving and making crafts to produce designs from African fabrics and other materials. He complemented this with watching fashion shows of different African designers to get a feel of the latest designs. Suubi launched out in 2012 with Shs 5 million as initial capital to open shop at the African Crafts Village along Buganda Road in Kampala. “The few years I’ve been in the business have made me discover the need for extremely sharp business acumen and a clear idea of your target market so that you know what and how to make it suit the interests of the target market,” says Suubi.
His greatest challenge is the failure of most Ugandans to embrace the beauty in African fabrics, which is depicted in how little they are willing to spend on his products.
Success tips; specialize, optimize location
Suubi says women embrace fashion more than men, the very reason he has concentrated on them. Furthermore, it is best to locate the business in an area with a heavy flow of target consumers. “Specialize in a particular area of fashion, which can be either gender or size. It can be a trendy women’s line that also considers adding plus-sizes that no one else in town carries,” he adds.