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“I’ve achieved something amazing through my fashion business”

Elizabeth is proud of her fashion store.

“I’ve achieved something amazing through my fashion business”

My name is Elizabeth. I returned to Nigeria at the end of 2019 after not being granted asylum in Germany.

Life was difficult for me when I came back to Lagos. I didn’t have any money or anywhere to live and was moving between addresses for several weeks. I also had debts to repay. For a while, I lived in emergency accommodation provided by a church. A friend then told me about the Nigerian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (NGC) and the help that they give to returnees. The NGC gave me a very warm welcome. The team even helped me to find somewhere close to the centre to live for a while.

Training in the fashion industry

The centre arranged dressmaking training for me and organised various courses dealing with the fashion industry. I learned how to cut and sew clothes so that they fit perfectly. I also learned how to attach gemstones onto clothing. And they even taught me the best way to market the clothes that I make.

All in all, the training courses meant that I could extend my knowledge and become self-employed as a fashion designer. My new professional opportunities mean that I’m now earning a regular income. I’ve come to see that I really can lead a good life in Nigeria.

Self-employed with my own store

The support I got from the NGC meant I could open my own store in December 2021. The centre helped me after the training courses by providing a sewing machine, a weaving machine and a machine for attaching gemstones onto fabrics. In addition to this equipment, the centre paid the rent for my store for a whole year.

My decision to take part in training for the fashion industry was the right one, because I really enjoy this profession. I got my interest in fashion and design from my sister. She has been selling clothes for a long time. She gets them from other countries. Just a few years ago, I’d never have imagined that one day I’d be running my own fashion store.

“Now I’m very happy as an entrepreneur”

Business is now good after a few difficulties at the start. My work is based in Ayobo, a suburb of Lagos. People there love the clothes that I sell. They are very happy with them, which means that my business has grown. I feel like I’m at home there. Now I’m glad to be a self-employed entrepreneur.

I feel strong. And I like thinking about my business. It makes me realise that I’ve achieved something amazing. What’s nicer than waking up in the morning and going to your own shop?

Working with her sewing machine has given Elizabeth a new outlook on life.

Next goal: developing the business

My goal is now to develop my business. The first thing I need for this is a backup power generator, because we often have power cuts here. And I can’t use my machines during a power cut. I’d also like to extend my product range. For example, I want to include ladies’ bags and shoes. My customers often ask for these products. I dream of having a larger store that attracts people from near and far.

I’d also like to train other people in future, so that they could enjoy career prospects in the fashion industry. I’d like to show them that there are lots of opportunities for them to be successful in Nigeria – if they’re prepared to work hard.

As of: 10/2022

This text is written in simple language. We want to make sure that it’s easy for everyone to understand.

Just a few years ago, I’d never have imagined that one day I’d be running my own fashion store. Now I feel strong.
Elizabeth, Nigeria

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