Victoria Eruogho is an amazing fashion entrepreneur who sits atop the fashion brand, LSC Designs.The bubbly youngster got dissatisfied with her job at a portfolio management company, and then she took the bold step to start her own fashion enterprise. Today, Victoria’s clientele ranges from entrepreneurs, entertainers, leading ladies and people from various walks of life .In this interview, the passionate alumni of Edge Business School reveals the secret behind succeeding as a fashion entrepreneur, why she quit her job to start her business and a lot more…
Q. How did you become a fashion entrepreneur?
A. Growing up, my choices for clothes were always different from what the regular person my age would pick. I would ask my mother to take me along with her whenever she was going shopping for me, just so I could pick my outfit myself. It was my passion! Looking good made me happy right as far as I can remember and I couldn’t explain why. However, I never knew I would end up a fashion entrepreneur. I was obsessed with the world of science and so wanted to become a computer scientist…a programmer precisely. Being a solution oriented person, I thought sciences will help me explore this strength and my imaginations. Back then, I would come up with the most ridiculous imaginations and ask questions about them, I’ve always felt that every problem should have a solution so I kept asking questions.
I graduated from Lagos State University with a B.Sc. in Computer Science and started working as a marketer in a Fund/Portfolio Management firm. While working there, I demonstrated my business interests by engaging in several businesses alongside my job which centered on trading of goods. I’ve sold everything that can legally be sold, I tell you. I guess my sanguine nature and experience as a marketer made it easier to get people who would listen to and patronize me. One of those businesses was wholesale selling of fabrics for special occasions (popularly known as “asoebi”).
I decided to make clothes with the fabrics I sold when I had an exhibition that required my making outfits out these fabrics so I could better showcase them. Those outfits I made have been worn by my family and friends at different exhibitions. My main aim of making the outfits was to get the fabrics sold at the exhibition, but surprisingly, customers were more interested in the outfits I made with the fabrics than the fabrics themselves. That’s when my interest for making fabrics ignited! Lots of people asked if I could make similar designs for them. I didn’t hesitate to say yes; even though I knew I couldn’t sew and all I could do then was make sketches – which was a natural talent. I was blessed to have someone interpreting my sketches into clothes…this was how my journey of designing or being a fashion entrepreneur started.
While working at the investment firm, people started noticing that my suits and dressing were always different. Even my bosses noticed too and made me their personal stylist (I did render these services for them free of any charge).
For me, being a fashion entrepreneur is turning your love for fashion or style into a business, that is, turning your hobby into a business; doing something you love and making money out of it. That is precisely what I am doing right now.
Q. What inspires your designs?
A. A lot of things inspire my design.
Truth is, time inspires my designs. Each passing day, each mood, each experience, each thought, each place, even the dumbest things influence me. Generally, life’s events and people inspire me as a designer. I believe that every style or design can be made better so I try to inculcate this spirit into every design we make.
Sometimes, I look at a design, fault it, re-design it with a view to making it better.
I also believe that Simple is Classy! I often design my clothes with a certain sense of class in it. I have an idea of what class is so I try to let my designs purely express class and elegance.
In a nutshell, I try to make every LSC design stylish and classy. I loved the way my kid sister (Ruthie) puts it after we made her an outfit, in her own words, “LSC is a mixture of class and style”, I heard it, smiled and said “exactly!”
Q. What will you regard as the high point of your business?
A. I would say that the high point of my business is when people started recognizing my designs. To hear people say “I saw that dress or that male outfit and I just knew it had to be an LSC design”, I would laugh and ask why and they’ll say “there is just something about the outfit, a certain style and class”.
Don’t get me wrong though. It feels amazing for celebrities to trust and wear your designs. That a Reality TV Show such as ‘MTN Project Fame’ would see my design on a gospel celebrity “PITA” and contact me to style most of their male contestants for three consecutive seasons of their show, meant a lot to me. Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to have clothed other celebrities such as Lolo1 of Wazobia FM (Radio/TV presenter), Timi Dakolo (musician), OC Ukeje (Actor), Eva Alordiah (Rapper), Matilda Obaseki Mozia (Actress), and Mildred Okonkwo (Pastor). Leading Nigerian actresses also wear LSC designs on movie sets and it is so inspiring to see that.
What is the greatest price you have paid for pursuing your dream?
The greatest price I have paid for pursuing my dreams would be that I was crazy enough to resign from the investment firm I was working for, after becoming a junior manager just three months into my employment, though I resigned after three years.
Secondly I will have to say my constant quest to know more, to learn, to invest in the knowledge of my craft. I am still learning and I will never stop learning. I am not shy to say I am a learner any day anytime and will keep paying the price to learn and get better and better.
Q. Whose advice has been instrumental to your career?
A. My precious and loving Father, Late Mr. Godwin Onoriode Eruogho’s pieces of advice have been instrumental to my career and success. He did not just teach me but also showed me how to be a hard worker. He showed me how to believe in something and work at it. He taught me never to procrastinate. I still remember how he would say “Victoria go and get it done now, not tomorrow, not next week, right now”. He also taught me how to use my imaginations and how to be creative, he would give me loads of task to execute within a short time period and if I fail, he would ask me to do it again. He taught me how not to quit. A lot of people often wonder why I act like a man sometimes, here you have it, it is my dad’s influence in my life.
Also, my mother, if you think I’m too extroverted that’s because you have never met my mom. In business, you can’t underrate the place of customer service, as a business person, that should be your number one goal. Even though this attribute can be developed, I think it’s best when it is inborn. It’ll come naturally to you and trust me when I say customers can tell when you are genuinely nice and concerned about them.
Be nice, loving and sociable, it helps every business! Smile a lot also, it costs nothing.
Mrs. Mildred Kingsley-Okonkwo is my pastor and mama. She has been a great source of encouragement and support, my number one fan; it was her singular piece of advice that led me into designing today. Right before my fabric exhibition, she said, “Victoria why don’t you make some clothes with those fabrics of yours and have it worn by your friends so your customers can see what they can do with your ‘asoebi’ fabrics before they buy it”. I followed her advice and I have no regrets about it till date.
Q. What new projects are you working on?
We are working on LSC ready to wear and LSC casuals. Before now, we were solely designing bespoke clothing – these are mainly clothes you wear for a special or important occasion. Now, I see the need to produce a more casual and ready to wear clothing line. I can remember vividly, not so long ago, how every now and again, my pastor, Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo would ask me, “Victoria is that LSC you are wearing?” Most times, I would say “yes” and at other times, “no”, and that’s because we were only making ‘dress clothes’ at the time. Even I, as a designer, cannot be wearing red carpet clothes all the time, let alone our customers. This prompted us to want to produce a more casual clothing line that will, of course, be more affordable.
Q. Can you share with us your tale of triumph?
A. This would be that, I have surrounded myself with good support systems and that I always listen to good and constructive advice. I have never been ashamed to ask questions and learn. But more importantly, I stoop to conquer, there is no failing or quitting in me. It doesn’t even matter what I am doing. I have a die-hard spirit that I “Inherited” from my dad.
My tale of triumph would also be that I always take advantage of every opportunity that has come my way. I take it and run with it.
Q. Final words to our readers
A. I need you to know that where ever you are at now is not a mistake; it’s preparing you for your own path. But you need to know what that path is. Believe it. Learn about it. Develop it and act it. By acting I mean run! Grab every opportunity that comes your way. Never give in or give up.
Surround yourself with good mentors. Have the ‘God Factor’ because by strength shall no man prevail. You can’t do it alone. You need the favor of God. I’ve enjoyed so much favor in my business. I don’t pay for most of the things people pay for in business. It has just been favor upon favor; that can only come from God. How do you explain having to stock your designs in the most expensive and commercialized part of Lagos without paying a dime? It is called favor from God. Seek Him.
Gallery of some of our designs
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