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Why I don’t make dresses for celebrities who speak ‘English’ – Mercy Aigbe’s Tailor, CEO Luminee

Popular celebrity designer, Abiodun Folashade Tokunbo, the CEO of Anjy Luminee Couture, also known as House of Luminee has revealed why many of her A-clients are major actors from the Yoruba movie genre.

CEO Luminee in a chat with Seye Kehinde also disclosed that she did not learn to tailor from anyone!

“When God gives you talents from heaven then it makes things easy for you because I didn’t learn this, Nobody can come out and lay claims to the fact that I once learned to tailor from him or her. It was a gift from God. Most times when I have plans of making a particular design after cutting, I end up getting another masterpiece. I can’t even explain where the inspiration comes from.  I even get really surprised at some of my designs after adding one or two things together, it always turns out beautiful and they end up looking like clothes designed from abroad.

Most of my clients don’t choose designs for me, they only give me fabric and have trust in what I will make out of those fabrics. So, it is just God’s gift right from when I was little.

My mum had always wanted me to be a Lawyer but she didn’t have any idea of what I have on my head, but I feel more free and comfortable with my dad around, he allows me to exhibit my talent, I pick teddy bears and make clothes with newspaper gradually my interest started growing more from there I moved to Lagos, I use (Okirika) fairly used clothes to learn more about how clothes are been made abroad and that was how I perfected my sewing.

mercy-and-luminee-1

What were you doing before you set up your fashion house?

After my secondary school education, I worked as a Sales Girl in Ado-Ekiti, I lost my mum after my secondary school education, so I refused going back to my village to avoid being deceived by boys and take advantage of me, I saved all the money I made from doing Sales Girl when Ibadan Polytechnic from came out, I obtained the form because I wanted to fulfill my late mother’s dream to become a Lawyer when I finished my ND, I told myself I don’t want to go for HND but rather go to the University, so I took direct entry to Lagos State University (LASU) and finished from Lasu but I still have problem with English Language but there is no hand work you will give me that I won’t deliver perfectly but when it comes to book, I don’t know anything, I don’t even know how I graduated from University, trust me I still graduated with 2.2, I was even wondering who marked my papers and how did I do it, my certificate is inside my house I am not doing anything with it.

I have achieved a lot with scissors, at least I am happy I was able to fulfill my mother’s wish by going to school and I always promise my father that I build a house for him, I vowed that my husband must be educated and my children must go to the best schools and thank God today Angel is making me proud, she is not yet in primary 1 but she can read already she can read things that I could not even read when I was in S.S2, I am happy today that from this my handwork, I have been able to build a house for my dad, I have a building inside my father’s compound whatever your heart desire is, God will grant it, just believe.

What has been your experience in the fashion industry?

Sir, you know I have been working with lots of stars and they always want me to attend to them personally so it has not been easy but it is well, I don’t have any friend because if anything happens I won’t be able to express myself in English, so I avoid friends who understand English more than I do and I avoid anywhere they argue about international designers because I don’t want people to misunderstand me, I am very original and with this little English, I understand they mock me with my English but I don’t care, all this packaging won’t give me money, my work speaks for me.

I have had so many experiences in this industry, some will bring clothes and wants it ready within 3 days, I will collect it and find a way around it, if you don’t train yourself to be a champion in this field your workers will misbehave and run you down, then the students too coupled with family issues but I give God all the glory that I am married to a wonderful husband, most times I tell myself I don’t deserve such a man, he understands me, even as a doctor he makes out time for me, there are lots of jealousy and envy in the industry, the moment they see big clients with you, they start getting angry forgetting the fact that it is not my doing but God’s grace, life is turn by turn, imagine designing for over 100 people with different designs and they will all be looking good, it is not easy at all.

I am seriously working on my English and with the help of my husband I will be coming out well. So, please don’t mind my English.

How do you satisfy all your clients?

It’s not easy, but I know I am blessed if it is the book I will have F9, but if it is nylon I am given to make a dress it will come out excellent, God has blessed me with that, I went to Mountain of Fire for 7 days for prayers and fasting before I started my work because I don’t want to make mistakes in life, I have a lot of talents and didn’t know which one to settle for so I seek for God’s grace to make the right decision, I make my hair, makeup myself I always go to God first before making any decision, without tape rule, I can make clothes, lots of clients are not even in Nigeria, some I have never seen them for years but yet I make clothes for them and we have not had any issue the only thing I ask for is their measurement and people don’t come back to my shop for amendment, no matter the shape I will make a good dress for you.

What about your charges?

Before you start charging people so high, you have to start from somewhere, when I started this job, I was collecting 1,000 naira but honestly, it is not all about the money but I am happy someone is wearing what I made, to me, it is a privilege but later it was 5k, then from 20k to 30k.

It all depends on their job, I charge 500k, 1 million, it all depends on the nature of the job, I am not just collecting money but people or clients will see what they are spending so much on, people complain I don’t respond to messages but it is not my fault, I am not arrogant, as I am talking to you I have over 10,000 messages on my phone which I have not responded to, I always try as much as possible to finish a particular job before collecting another so I can concentrate and the workload won’t be much, I derive joy seeing my clients happy, if you come to my house you can see traces of sewing clothes in my house because I don’t like collecting too many clothes at the same time.

How did you come about your brand name Luminee?

It was from my dream anytime I make clothes for people they always compliment me saying oh the dress looks beautiful gorgeous different standard and that they are looking looming,I got interested in the word looming so I checked up in the dictionary for the meaning which means unique and different so I decided to stick to it I started using it but after I had my baby Anjolaoluwa I decided to register the company’s name as Anjy Luminee because of the strong love I have for her, she is just 6 years now but already have attributes of a fashionista she knows how to combine colors and even help me out with some fashion tips.

What is your advice for the younger ones who want to be like you in the industry?

I always say this to people if you don’t sow you can’t reap so to grow in the industry you need to stay focus and be discipline don’t get carried away with social media lies if you follow that you will get into trouble, some will rent house and say they just bought it, some will borrow car and say they just acquired it please don’t follow trend stay true to your crafts and be patient once you know what you are doing and you are hardworking and you put God first in everything you are doing you will definitely be successful.

I don’t follow the trend or copy people I invest in insurance and don’t compete with anybody I celebrate people but don’t get carried away with things happening around me I know how much I save monthly and in all I know it’s by God’s grace that I am what I am today.

I would advise them to be real and don’t copy fake life on social media am not from a rich family am from a remote village where we only get to eat rice once in a year which is Christmas but I trained myself to become what I am today even this little English I am speaking I learned it myself I didn’t know I will be able to communicate with people in English considering everything that happened back in the village where farming is our major priority and we give little or no attention at all to education so I urge you to please stay true to your crafts and your handwork will speak for you and above all be very prayerful.

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