Wonderfull Abuah’s first name is a perfect ice-breaker. She is co-founder and partner of Sew Easy Workshop (S.E.W), which she runs with Folasade Dan-Oketola. S.E.W is an online school for all things fashion, providing courses that are easy to digest and super easy to implement. Wonderfull’s journey into the world of fashion design started post-NYSC (National Youth Service Corps).
Depressed over the fact that no job was forthcoming, she jumped at the opportunity to acquire sewing skills at a vocational centre where she met Folasade. Prior to co-founding S.E.W, Wonderfull spent her time making & selling outfits. With S.E.W, Wonderfull Abuah is living out her lifelong dream of impacting others.
Would you say it’s important for fashion enthusiasts to go to fashion school?
I would say it’s important for fashion enthusiasts to attend a fashion school. It isn’t mandatory, as we have some renowned fashion designers who are self-taught. However, times have evolved.
A fashion school has a comprehensive curriculum that one can benefit immensely from. It saves time, energy and effort attending a fashion school rather than spending hours searching online or reading necessary and unnecessary books.
How do you teach women to make money from sewing?
At S.E.W, we teach women how to make money from sewing via an intensive coaching program. In this program, we cover their products, the quality and relevance to the current season/trends.
We also deal with their pricing model and online/offline sales strategy. We literally show students how to properly position themselves as a brand that would attract the right target market. For example, we always emphasize product quality to the women we coach. Tailors already have a negative brand image around so it’d be catastrophic to be branded as “one of them”.
By “them”, we mean tailors who disappoint their customers with poor finishing, poor customer service etc. We believe women should first of all, work on the quality of their products, then work on the packaging and marketing strategies.
Our curriculum is created for absolute beginners and women with intermediate skill set. Our desire is to see women acquire this skill from scratch and be able to trade it eventually. We ensure that whatever we put into the curriculum would be suitable for a novice with zero knowledge about dressmaking.
You’re a virtual company. What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe that one can learn fashion skills without a teacher looking over their shoulder?
We are aware that many women in this part of the world are used to the traditional way of learning; i.e. physically with a tutor. And so we decided that our online teaching model would be as visual as possible and super easy to understand.
However, our biggest breakthrough has been the testimonials from the women who dared to sign up for our online tutoring. This has been a major factor in convincing so many other women in our online sewing community to opt in for online sewing courses. We’ve had a wide variety of women use our program; from women who have 9-5 jobs,women who have children, young ladies freshly out of university and even students.
We have received tons of tear-jerker messages from women who have taken our free and paid courses. It’s hard to pick one exactly because we have touched them in different ways.
There are women who have had no extra time to enroll in a school and then discovered us and suddenly their dreams can come true, finally. We have stay-at-home moms whose kids are toddlers; they have no time to leave the house but with us tutoring them, they have begun mini sewing businesses from home.
There are others who live in far away countries and discovering us has been an answered prayer. The scenarios are different but the results are same. We rekindled their dreams!
How did you meet founder Folasade? What do you think compliments the both of you so S.E.W runs smoothly?
I met Folasade at a vocational institute in 2009 where we both acquired dressmaking skills. We became good friends and kept in touch afterwards. She went on to intern with high profile designers and then established her sewing business, even as a banker back then.
Last year 2015, Folasade called me and told me about her idea of us teaching women online. We had taught several ladies physically before; we did this separately. I loved her idea and we created our online group the same night! We added our family and friends (forcefully I might add) and then they added others. And that’s how we grew.
Our partnership has been of great value. Folasade is the level headed one. She thinks through each proposal we create. She’s very practical and patient. On the other hand, I’m the instantaneous one. So we compliment each other so well.
Folasade helps me slow down when my adrenaline is too high and I want to make decisions rashly. I also nudge her a bit more when we seem to slowing down on our goals. It’s been awesome working with her.
What are the challenges in running a fashion school that is based online?
Our challenges in running a fashion school online have been eye-opening. We have had to win the trust of women who were strangers via free online tutoring. About 5 months before we launched a paid course, we offered free online tutoring. We still offer free tutoring monthly within our sewing community and we’ll always do so.
Eventually, we have been able to gain their trust. We have also had to deal with being present almost at every hour, answering questions from our online sewing community. We had to set a schedule for this to avoid burnout and to remain valuable to our students.Wonderfull Abuah used free online tutoring at S.E.W to gain the trust of women to her brand Click To Tweet
Any New Year resolutions for Sew Easy? Were you able to meet your resolutions from 2016?
We definitely have great plans for Sew Easy Workshop come 2017. We intend to reach out to many more women, mainly through referrals and social media marketing. We want to help them conveniently acquire dressmaking and business skills via our online tutoring.
And yes, we were able to meet our 2016 goals, most of them. For example, we successfully launched our website despite many technical challenges. Nonetheless, we did it. And we’re still tweaking it.
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