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Our Brand Is Well-known In South Africa Today – Biobaku

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Madam Oyenike Abioye Biobaku, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hat Arena, a fast-rising outfit, currently operating from the United Kingdom (UK), with offices and representatives in South Africa and Nigeria, speaks extensively in this exclusive interview with African Examiner, on her company’s exploits in the fashion industry. She also bares her mind on the challenges, achievements, the uniqueness of her brand, how the whole journey started for her, tips on how to succeed in the business as well as other related issues.

Can you please tell us more about yourself?

I was born into the family of Late Mr. and Mrs. Biobaku in the city of Lagos in the year 1981. Growing up was not easy but I thank God for seeing me through those years and up till today. I attended Community Primary School Ado-Odo in Otta Local Government Area of Ogun State. I had my secondary school education at Ransom Kuti Memorial Grammar School in Yaba, Lagos State. I later proceeded to the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), where I studied Vocational Studies under Faculty of Education.

Tell us briefly about Hat Arena?

Hat Arena is a fashion-based business operating from the United Kingdom (UK) with offices and representatives in South Africa and Nigeria. We specialize in making all types of hats, including both Fascinators and Hatinators. We also produce and retail everyday wear to occasional caps for men, women, and children. We produce custom-made hats and caps for all ages and price ranges.

How did the business start for you?

It was not easy when I started because there were a lot of things, I had to grapple with which happens to every one of us at the beginning of every venture in life. For me, I faced a lot of discouragement and disappointments but I give God all the glory for seeing me through. I actually started the business while I was studying in the university. I had to combine my studies with learning the craft of Fashion Design simultaneously. It was not an easy task. Interestingly, I learnt the skill from my sister

What are the challenges you have faced in the business?

As I mentioned earlier, it was really very challenging for me at the initial stage due to the huddles I had to cross. It is gratifying to acknowledge that the grace of God saw me through that phase. Honestly, the first challenge I faced was that of combining both education and business. At a point, I also had to deal with the challenge of relocating from Nigeria to South Africa, where I eventually took the bold step in growing, nurturing and expanding the business

How were you able overcome these challenges?

By the grace of God, those challenges are now history. I can confidently say without sounding immodest, that my brand, Hat Arena is a well-known in South Africa today. When it comes to the major players in the field of hat making and designing in South Africa, I am one of those at the top.

Can you share with us the achievements that your organization has recorded since its inception?

By the grace of God, I have been able to design hat for a number of prominent people such as Miss South Africa, the wife of the former president of South Africa, just to mention but a few. Our brand is really a very innovative and pace-setting one in South Africa.

What makes Hat Arena different in the fashion-based industry?

Hat Arena is different in the fashion industry because we design and make our own style in a unique way. Our growing customer base and clientele is indicative of our success so far in the industry.

Do you plan to expand and explore other new markets?

The UK is a good location for me to expand my business and products, I just started the UK outlet not long ago and I believe this move is going to give me a robust platform to further explore and optimize the growth of our company just like in South Africa.

How important is innovation and creativity in your type of business?

In my business it is very important for someone to be creative and innovative. You need to be coming out with new and unique designs every time because our customers want unique designs that they would love to buy and be proud of, any time, any day.

What is your advice for anybody who wants to venture into Hat making business?

Anybody coming into the business needs to be very passionate about the fashion and design in the first place. He or she should persevere and exercise patience, stay focused and be creative as well.


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