Fast forward the conversation, after detailed explanation of why I wanted to become an apprentice at Mr. Eddy ‘ s sewing shop, my father finally gave me the money. Truth be told, I was under the pretense that I was only learning to pass time. Dad had no clue that someday, I had the intentions of turning my sewing lessons into a lucrative business. As I reflect on my experience, I believe it was purpose and destiny colliding with each other.
The book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 illustrates that there is a time for every activity under the heavens. As a Christian, I truly agree !
And so the journey of my sewing lessons began. I was so eager to learn. Literally soaking up every atom of knowledge, like a sponge bob. I was that student who showed up 30 minutes earlier than the required time. Talk about an overachiever. Lol! I couldn’t believe that my fantasy was becoming a reality.
A typical day at the shop started with cleaning and dusting the sewing machines, roll calls, motivational speech by Mr. Eddy aka ‘Oga’ on the expectations of the day. Someone was appointed to buy the matching accessories for each fabric as per client orders. Technically, the advanced students assisted in sewing some of the client’s fabric while the beginners spent most of their time learning the functions of the parts of a sewing machine, sewing straight lines, zippers, buttons, ironing, etc. We also practiced how to cut various styles with brown paper. Fun stuff!
I’ll never forget my first sewn skirt-it felt like heaven kissed earth in that moment!
As I became more knowledgeable, my confidence level increased. For the first time in my life, I felt validated, worthy, and useful to my community. It also felt good to know that the success of someone’s wedding or social gathering, depended on my creativity to make them look good. Shout out to every step-mother out there doing a good job! My intention is not to generalize, but from my personal experience, living with step-mothers for the most part, is dramatic and chaotic. I rest my case !!!
Hence you see why, the art of sewing became a safe and therapeutic place , for me to forget all my sorrows. Lol! My reality checked in at the end of the day, after each sewing lesson.
Mr Eddy is still a genius in the fashion industry located in Port Harcourt. He taught us that we could sew what ever we put my mind to. We specialized in custom made wears, business, wedding, casual etc. you name it! Clienteles came in from far and near.
We also learned the business side of sewing. I discovered that you could have a cordial relationship with your clientele, until you miss that deadline, you guys become temporary enemies. So interesting, how it is quickly resolved, the moment you complete your assignment. In sewing, you discover the personalities of people, women are so passionate about having an hour glass shape. I don’t know why, lol! Men don’t care!
The art of sewing is like a romantic relationship.
You meet clienteles that have lost trust in custom made wears because their ex tailor messed up their fabric. Here they are meeting you for the first time, with trust issues. You have to work through the process of gaining their trust and confidence in your skills. If you exceed their expectations, you guys become ‘bread and butter’ and of course gain more recommendations.
Festive periods were my favorite moments at the shop. How can forget the adrenaline rush of meeting deadlines?
I was engrossed in my passion for sewing until one day the rumors of ASUU calling off the strike began to spread. Immediately I listened for the 2100 pm local news for any updates and sure enough it was called off!
At this time of my academic career, like most students in their final year, the expectation is to finalize my results and sign up for NYSC. You see the chances of getting a professional job in Nigeria depends heavily on the people you know aka you had to have some type of connection. It’s not uncommon to see graduates dressed up in their best suits with brief cases, scouting the city for jobs, endless interviews,pretty much every .
Truth be told, Nigeria is my mother land but, your chances of getting a job, I mean the one that you actually studied for is slim, without bribery and connection. Selah! I was afraid that nobody will help me find a job. I had an idea to transform my passion in sewing into a money making venture and bump this whole NYSC stuff. Fast forward, my action had consequences y’all! Numerous criticisms from family and friends.
“Bump NYSC! If I perish! I perish!” I thought to myself. I was so determined to take the risk!
to be continued…..!
››∗∗∗For the record: It is important to complete your NYSC∗∗∗‹‹
NYSC: a community service-National Youth Service Corpers
Oga: shop owner
‘Bread and butter: good friends
Photo credit: online source