The ‘’glitz and glamour” image of the fashion industry often draws us in. However it is highly complex and it takes a lot more than just being talented to be able to survive. There is nothing that can shape our perception more than walking in someone else’s shoes to understand their business journey. ElleAfrique managed to catch up with the very stylish, Tanzanian born Anna Lukindo, Designer and Stylist at Anna Luks on ‘Minding Her Fashion Business’.
Tell us about the Anna Luks brand
My brand is about experimenting. I believe there is no right or wrong concept and I am certainly not afraid of mistakes. Anna Luks clothing is feminine but with an edge. I like to use environmentally -friendly fabric, yarns, cords, ropes and I also make my own prints. Zippers are an essential signature in my designs, I like the effect. My style is unique and Anna Luks clothing is for anyone who wants a creative difference.
Have you always been working in fashion and is this your first business?
Yes, I always had a hand in designing my own clothes. I remember asking my mother and sisters to sew clothes for me, until the time I was able to make my own which made me very proud, in a good way of course! This is my only business for now and I celebrate in being different.
How did you come up with the idea for Anna Luks?
‘Anna Luks’ it is a nickname that derived from my surname Lukindo. My closest friend came up with that name and the rest is history. The brand Anna Luks was really something I always wanted. My vision was to create designs for those who wanted something different with more style rather than ‘Trend’, ‘if you know what I mean’.
Did you write a business plan? If yes, can you tell us the importance of that as an emerging designer starting their business?
I have an amazing business plan professionally done by an accountant. It is the heart of any business, and in my case it has totally gone beyond what I initially put on paper. The time I spent answering questions from the accountant was indeed worth every penny. A business plan is your best friend and the radar to your business.
I understand you operate your business from home. Ware the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Indeed I work from home at the moment. I am a mother and find there are many challenges working from home, need I say more. The good thing about it is I get unlimited time, I can work right into the early hours of the morning without having to worry about distance or time restrictions. However, I know this will have to change sooner or later.
It is all about ‘’Green’ at the moment. Can you tell us about your designs and incorporating ‘green’ practices?
Quite right! I think “Green” is truly becoming a lifestyle now which is fantastic. One thing about the organic fabrics is they might not look as appealing but I can assure you, that is my play ground. I like having the freedom to create something beautiful, and the materials I use do just that.
With the current economy always fluctuating, what cost saving tips would you have for new Designers?
My advice is just to be mindful! I personally love bargains and I am always on the look out for them.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I stay within my budget, but at the same time being creative and producing quality unique designs which customers really appreciate.
Has your experience in running a business been different f rom what you expected?
Yes indeed. Running your own business is very demanding if you want to be successful. I must admit that in the beginning I did not take it seriously because I thought that I could control my time, but actually it is the demands of my work that control my time and I find myself putting more hours than I would if I had to work for someone else.
What advice would you give to upcoming African female entrepreneurs? Are there specific advantages and disadvantages of being an African female business owner in the fashion industry?
At the moment, my business is certainly growing from strength to strength, certainly not what I expected. My customers are happy with my work and I am recommended by them as they go out there wearing Anna Luks. This is good for now. My advice for upcoming entrepreneurs is simple “Strong motivation and perseverance are very important in this industry. Do not be easily discouraged or intimidated”.
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