Exclusive Interview With Kevin Outa Founder and Design Director of Deep End Clothing
Where can we find your designs?
You can find most of our designs on Instagram ( @deependke ) and on Facebook ( Deep End Clothing ) You can also regularly find us at different pop up stores and locations, so make sure you follow us across our socials so that you get updates on when and where you can find us personally! It also doubles up as a good avenue for you to interact and engage with our brand.
What does ecommerce mean to you and your business?
As an online-based business, e-commerce is one of the most important things in Deep End Clothing’s business structure. The ability to buy and sell products online makes it possible for us to share our designs with potential customers in our immediate environment, as well as all over the globe. Our business reach is limitless.
Do you think ecommerce is important for African fashion designers that are trying to get
recognized and reach a global market?
The internet and the rise of e-commerce has provided upcoming designers and young entrepreneurs the opportunity and platform to display their products and services on a global scale. The benefits of this cannot be understated. In this digital age, as long as you have a product or service you think people might be interested in, you can post it on social media and get
You just have to be consistent and intentional in your efforts to ensure that you products get recognized. Competition is rife everywhere, especially in the global market. This means that although the platform to get your designs noticed is readily available, you have to work smart to guarantee that your products have a global reach.
How does your strategy change when running an online store to an offline store?
As with running an offline store, operating an online store requires you to have a solid strategy to put you in a better position to make sales. In both cases, you will have to consider how you display your products, branding, and marketing plan, among other things.
When you operate an offline store, you will also consider other aspects such as rent and miscellaneous expenses, store positioning (because of walk-ins), and hours of operation. On the other hand, if you run an online store, you have to consider which is the best platform to build a following on, how to get this following to engage with your online brand, and if you want to physically interact with this following.
You also have to think of the frequency of these physical interactions, as well as how you will deliver your products when people order from you. I believe that how you display your products online will contribute significantly to people engaging with your brand. This is because it is the first point of contact between you and your potential customer.
To this end, I have come to really appreciate the value of photography to ensure that you display all your products in an enticing and professional manner. You should also try to be responsive as possible to customer requests and enquiries to make sure
that you do not lose any potential leads.
Where do you see African fashion in the next 5 to 10 years?
With all the brands coming up, I believe that African fashion will have a very commanding presence in the international fashion scene. The number of people investing in and shopping with local brands will continue to grow considerably, locally and globally. I can attribute this to the growth of e-commerce as well, because with time, it will be even easier than it is now to sell and
ship your products to any part of the world.
What 5 pieces of advice would you give to young African fashion designers wanting to enter
the fashion industry?
- Never hesitate to create what you love. This is the purest form of expression, and slowly but surely, people will start to see the value of what you make.
- Do not be afraid to start small. It is very easy to put yourself off by thinking of what could go wrong, or feeling as though you do not have enough resources. Do not get lost in your head. Just start and bring your ideas to fruition. There’s nothing as satisfying as the feeling of seeing an idea or concept transform into something you can see and touch. We started Deep End Clothing with only two designs, then started building up slowly. You can do it too.
- Focus on yourself and your brand. You are likely to yield to the temptation of comparing yourself with more successful fashion brands in your space. However, it is important not to dwell on these thoughts; you should concentrate on building your brand, and use these established brands as your motivation to grow. They might as well be a very valuable asset in your network. Also, be sure to have adequate information about the business environment you want your brand to operate
- Specialize. When starting out, it is important to have a signature style that will be associated with your brand. This helps you attract the kind of customers that you want to work with, and ensure that you retain them as part of your community. It also helps when you focus on creating a strong product base, one collection at a time.
- Put your designs out there. Once you create something, share it. There are so many platforms for you to share your work with others. You will get honest feedback and even find people who might be willing to work with you. There is no need to develop something and just keep it to yourself; you should put it out there and always be ready for whatever people say. Absorb what you need to, and keep creating.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It is always difficult to share what you have created. You never know how others will respond to it, but I feel that if you have the need to create, you should do so and allow people to experience it with you. After all, sharing is caring, right?
Content courtesy of Deep End Clothing & Nairobi Fashion Hub