People see you having sold to a celebrity on Instagram but they often do not realize the journey one undertakes in making it happen. So today I thought I’d go ahead and write a post to articulate to my fellow clothing entrepreneurs the art of selling to a Kenyan celebrity. I hope it inspires all my fellow and upcoming fashion designers to do their thing and grow their beautiful brands.
About a year ago I was scrolling through Twitter. I always follow all my customers on Twitter through a ghost account. I’ve found that it helps me anticipate their needs better. Anyway, as I was doing so, I came across this post.
As soon as I saw it I got excited.
First and foremost I was excited for the man himself. Boniface Mwangi truthfully loves this country. If you haven’t watched Softie go ahead and do so. His genuine love for the country will inspire your patriotism to new heights. But more so, I got excited about how we could make him look should he opt to buy his awards ceremony tux from us. I knew the first part (making him look spectacular and respect-earning) would be easy. I don’t mean to brag, but it’s what we do for the King’s we serve.
The second part, however, getting him to buy it from us as opposed to the multiple options he had at his disposal as a celebrity? Well, that would be a lot tougher. I realized that from the get-go. And considering we don’t give discounts of any nature, I knew we had our work cut out for us. So I did what any true entrepreneur would do. I started hounding him (gently) from the day he made the announcement. Providing as much value as I could muster with every interaction.
Sometimes twice a month.
Occasionally thrice a month.
For a whole year.
And even then I was still extremely lucky to get the order. Two things, I believe, pushed the sale in my direction.
- I stuck with it. I stuck with it because I really wanted him to shine. Money aside, I really really wanted him to shine and believed no one could elevate his aesthetic to the next level as we could. Whereas the other designers dragged their feet, I was there every step of the way. Even on the day when he eventually paid the down payment to get started, he told me, “The early bird catches the worm.” And in this case, we were the earliest birds by a long shot.
- About a month before the event, we came up with a strong innovation that we believed Kenya’s Kings might like. Custom metal buttons for the jackets. So in Bonnie’s case, we came up with these beautiful pieces that showcased his patriotism and love for Kenya.
Now he didn’t get to see these until the day I delivered the tuxedo to him. But the mere thought that it’s something I could pull off I believe helped my chances a little bit.
So I went ahead and delivered to him the tuxedo.
He loved the buttons, paid me my balance and I went home. I had done the absolute best I could and was happy that the client was happy. I didn’t think much of it.
Then 3 days later a friend of mine texts me like, “Yo, dawg. Bonnie posted your tux on IG and niggas are going gaga over it!” (Yes, unfortunately, that’s how my friend and I talk)
So I ask him to send me a picture and I see this.
And as is always the case with a King Sidney masterpiece, the effect is even more severe offline than it is online. The wow factor can often be so intense, that it’ll have random pretty women trying to holla at you.
I was truly humbled. I love how cool it looks when he wears it unbuttoned.
And how sharp he looked as he was getting ready.
And how powerful he looked as he was delivering his speech and dedicating the award to his mum.
The biggest takeaway as a luxury fashionpreneur? If you do things for the customer with your entire heart and soul, God will reward you accordingly.
We tend to have it backward. We do things for Instagram and nothing comes out of it. Forget the hype, my fellow brothers and sisters.
Focus on your craft.
And your customer.
And on innovation.
If you do that, the applause shall be inevitable.
On a side note, Bonnie called me at 12:48 am the night (morning?…) before he flew out. He couldn’t find his Kenyan flag bow tie and was wondering where I’d kept it. This was barely 48 hours after I’d lectured my sales lady and finished with the line, “Even if a customer calls you at 12 midnight you fucking pick it up. I’m not your boss, he is. And I will not condone missed calls from our bosses!”
It’s funny how God will test your principles the second you utter them out.
I can tell from his look below that he didn’t find it. So for the few trolls on Twitter talking about how he should have worn “something small ya kuonyesha kwamba anajivunia kuwa mkenya”, pardon me.