Tell us about your startup/business.
1.What’s your 30 second elevator pitch?
Iye’s Modest Collection is a start-up company mainly focus on designing and producing, locally made African, Modest and trending clothing for Muslim women. We also provide modest styling consultancy.
- What need or problem are you solving?
Unavailability of locally made, cultural, trending, affordable and modest Muslim women clothing of standard quality. As imported modest dress are expensive to purchase and most out of cultural style in Sierra Leone. Pain point: Some of these dress do not fit into our whether condition, culture and are expensive.
- How did you come up with the idea for the business? Personally it was hard for me to get modest dress that fit my cultural sense of fashion style and I started making dress for myself than buying imported modest dress. After a while my close friends requested I make dress for them and I finally decided to make it as a business.
- How did you validate that your solution was viable?
After doing feasibility studies I confirm that the same personal struggle I have been having to get cultural modest dress is the same to vast majority of other young women.
- What stage are you at and what’s next?
I am currently in designing and producing small quantity of my products and sell to available customers. I plan on having a fashion studio that will not only make modest dress but also train and empower young women into modest fashion designing.
- What is the biggest win you’ve had so far? My biggest win is to be selected for a national competition on fashion design at Freetown pitch night, this really expose my brand even though it’s at startup stage but I learnt so many things and network with other fashion designers. And also to be selected for this UNDP acceleration lab first cohort.
- What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a startup founder? My biggest challenge is to scale-up my business, as I have been struggling to get enough money to scale up my business.
- What needs do you have to grow and take it to the next level?
I need to secure a place for my fashion studio, acquire sewing machines and printing machine for t-shirts and other materials that need printing on them, increase the quantity of locally made fabrics ( Gara and country clothes).
- What’s your take on the local startup scene / entrepreneurial community? What has been helpful?
It has help startup to get the exposure they need and attract potential investors to their business.
- What do you think as an entrepreneur would be more helpful to have here in the region?
There should be similar projects like the UNDP acceleration lab, to search for innovators and turn them into entrepreneur and give them grant for their startup and expose them to them to potential investors.