In an interview with Diamond Woman, Mrs. Folake Folarin Coker, an iconic fashion enthusiast and business expert; brings us into the world of Tiffany Amber. She shares the nosiness and creative dynamics of sustaining a world class business and the need to keep the dream alive in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
YOU ARE UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER LABELS IN AFRICA, HOW DID IT ALL START AND WHY DO YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE STILL HERE OVER A DECADE LATER WHERE SO MANY OTHERS HAVE FAILED TO HAVE STAYING POWER?
It was constant dedication to building the brand. As an entrepreneur, I don’t see obstacles. The constant drive is to make a success of the business side of it. The creative side was less challenging because creativity I think is innate and the boundaries come from within. Whereas, the business side, is dictated by your surroundings. So it was the constant dedication to keep it going and not allowing anything come in the way of making the brand a success.
I continue to reinvent myself without changing the DNA of the brand. “Continuously reinvent yourself but don’t change the DNA of the brand” –that’s what I believe, everyone knowing what the Tiffany Amber look is, is what has kept us.
Well, I think the key is to be able to strike a balance between the art of fashion and the art of business. I believe this is where my strength lies. I often get asked this question and what I said then and what I say now is that the fashion business is a process of seduction that ultimately leads to desire. In the process of trying to seduce your client, you throw money out the window and if it lands in the right place, it comes right back through your door. The key thing is to know which window to throw at.
Without a doubt, my brand will outlive me because I don’t work for the present, I work for the future. If I didn’t do that, I would have closed shop a long time ago because there have been many obstacles but I had a dream to have a fashion brand and that dream has come true and this fashion brand has been established. After this I need it to outlive me. We want it to become the premiere African lifestyle brand and I think we are very well on our way to it. It is not about fame for me, It is about the proper structure and having a proper business.
2013 was an extremely busy year for us, we launched our accessories line, denim range, our online store will soon go live and this year being our 15th in the business, we have many more exciting projects coming up, so watch this space!
In terms of talent, I think the Nigerian fashion scene is on par with the rest of the global fashion scene. However, there is still a lot of work to be done on the infrastructure. We need to work towards a common goal which is working together to ensure our environment is right to have a thriving fashion industry. The effect the Nigerian designers are having on the global fashion scene can be seen on the pages of many international publications. I have been watching the prospect of African fashion and its influence for some time now and I think something pivotal will occur within the next two to four years.
It’s always very encouraging to be recognized in a positive way however small or big the recognition is. But as a matter of principle, I try very hard not to believe the hype as it can very well get in the way of one’s success. But hey, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate it because I do.
No designer likes to reveal their plans but I can tell you that Tiffany Amber is working on fully expanding the brand to offer an even wider audience a bit of luxury in their lives. We are after all the premiere African luxury lifestyle brand and I don’t see why Tiffany Amber should not be part of your home, travel and work….your general everyday living. It is personally important to me that we have a presence all over Africa and ultimately every major city of the world. This is my heart’s desire but at the end of the day I gratefully submit to God’s will.