Being a 'bespoke' nature of business, I did not need so much capital to start out - CEO C'amaka Bespoke Pieces & Nuptials

By Kemi Mobuse - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Meeting the CEO of C'amaka Bespoke Pieces & Nuptials actually happened by Chance. when i was privileged to attend a colleague's wedding. I noticed the fresh bouquet his bride held at the reception,there was just something refreshing and captivating about it. I realized there and then that; i haven't featured anyone making bouquets on my blog.

Trust me, I immediately set to work . And the amiable lady obliged me a very interesting exclusive  interview. trust me, it's a must read.....

KMB: Can we meet you?

C'amaka : My name is Chukwuamaka Esther. Everyone knows me as Amaka.

KMB: What do you do?

C'amaka :I make bespoke wedding accessories (fascinators, bouquets, boutonnieres and hand fan) and I plan/coordinate weddings alongside.

KMB: What inspired your going into this field in particular?

C'amaka : None of my products did I look at twice in the past. I had no interest in any of them. I did not even know what some of them were.
My case is as written in ‎Proverbs 16:9- 'In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps'. 
I had my career path and life all plotted out. Wow! It looked so pretty and I was pursuing it.
Tell me I would not be within the four walls of an office, making decisions, shooting mails, smiling at clients, signing papers, etc. and watch yourself become my enemy for life!
Entrepreneurship?! What's that please?! I hated it‎ with a passion. Please I would rather work for one. 

Two weeks after my discharge from the NYSC scheme, I had a clear revelation; 'fascinator', as a very strange word was given to me. When I woke up, I went searching the dictionary to find out what it was as I had not heard of it before. Google finally sorted the puzzle with pictures and details. I fell in love with all I found. 
I did not attend any (physical) tutorial classes/trainings to learn what I do (well, I had about a week training for fascinators but it was extremely basic. Nothing close to all I read prior to enrolling. I got super bored and I left without completing the training. I cannot say I still apply anything I learnt from there today).‎ I took to YOUTUBE afterwards, watched videos, practiced a lot and read up stuffs
The rest of the stuffs I make just came to me naturally. I simply figured things out my way. 
(OGE Couture insisted I make a hand fan for her sister-in-law after I made her some ankara accessories for an exhibition. Almost immediately, a friend I met in NYSC camp had me make her a bouquet and boutonnieres after she ordered some hairpieces for her bridesmaids. 
I refused these orders but both parties insisted I make them. So I jumped on them. So that was how the trio came into existence in the brand). 
Heaven inspired this course, absolutely!

KMB: What is the name of your brand and how old is it?

C'amaka : My brand name is C'amaka. There is C'amaka Bespoke Pieces (CBSP) and C'amaka Nuptials. The latter is for the planning and coordination aspect of the business. These two are activities I perform when the need arises.‎ I do not place it above/before  CBSP. 
By the way, my first name means a lot to me so I just cannot do anything without involving it.

I took my first order on the 2nd of December, 2012, so I would say that the brand is about 4 years old unofficially. It became a brand officially in 2015 after God had me resign from the corporate world on the 1st day of November, 2014. 
Imagine for how long I dragged my feet!

KMB: How was starting out, capital wise?

C'amaka : I saved some money during my NYSC days.
But being a 'bespoke' nature of business, I did not need so much capital. At some point, I got a 'white collar job'. 
It was not a business I took seriously like I earlier mentioned; but finance was not a challenge. 

KMB: How can you say the market reception has been since inception?

C'amaka : The wedding industry has a good number of people offering the same kind of services, so it seems scary at first when you wonder how things would turn out.
It is funny the way 'quality' is placed least in this part of the world. But the few, who appreciate it still exist. Nonetheless, reception was and still is wonderful, especially since I went in full-time.
I simply have created my own niche and kept at it.

 KMB: What can you say, being an entrepreneur has taught you?

C'amaka : Patience!
I am naturally not a very patient person. Infact I am still working on that aspect.
It is also teaching me tolerance to a reasonable extent. I deal with all sorts of individuals, with diverse temperament, so I must be patient and tolerant. 

KMB: What in your own words stands out your brand from others in same field?

C'amaka : Attention to details. Uniqueness. Tidiness. Pleasant client relationship. ‎Care & support, etc.  Well, I cannot score myself but I gathered these from my clients' feedbacks over the years. 
Additionally, I always say, 'there's no space for me in the 'bandwagon'. I don't follow the crowd when isn't called for. I do me. 

KMB: What major challenges have you had to deal with since inception and what has it taught you?

C'amaka : Challenges abound but most of them are not the type that I should learn lessons from. They are mostly factors I have no control over. A few that stare at me often are:
•the business is basically bespoke so I have no spare time to produce samples/do a look book like some people have suggested a few times. 
•Availability and cost of raw materials. This affects pricing a great deal.
•Poor power supply. My business is basically online so I am required to have my devices powered all the time. ‎Consequently, the alternative source of power milks my pockets. 
•Most photographers are a huge challenge to my business. 
I have lost count of jobs I did and never saw photos till date. It is very frustrating because I cannot attend all the weddings just to take photographs; especially the ones outside my state of residence.
I do take photographs of my pieces before dispatching them; but sadly, it has been discovered that appreciation of the pieces only happens when they are seen on/with the end users. 
•Another very heartbreaking part is seeing my jobs posted and no credit is given! This happens a lot on Instagram.
I hear a lot of politics is involved in this. I just shake my head. ‎At the end, God wins! (winks)

KMB: What is your favourite part of what you do?

C'amaka : I actually do not have a specific favourite part. Every moment is special and interesting (from negotiation to production to delivery‎/follow-up). 
However, the peak I would say is when the pretty feedbacks, words of appreciation & prayers come. I always feel so fulfilled at this point. 

KMB: Since the inception of your brand, can you pinpoint your most memorable moment?

C'amaka :They are too many to count. I cannot specifically choose one. 

KMB: Any advice for future entrepreneur?

C'amaka : Involve God every step of the way. Pay your tithes & sow seeds (smiles). 
Be you, diligent and consistent. 
Integrity is extremely essential. ‎Embrace it all the way. 
If it is basically to generate income, do not do it! You might thrive in it but you won't last in it. Passion for what you do drives you at that point when there is no financial reward. 
Wisely prepare for the hard times. They can be very ugly.
Stay open to learning from any positive means possible. Learning never stops.
Keep records.

KMB: Lastly, how can you be contacted?
‎ C'amaka : Whatsapp- +234 705 988 2708
Call- +234 803 680 8551
Text- 2BCB7BBE

More pictures below;

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  1. I have known you to be very creative. Kudos to you!! May God continually Bless your hand work...

  2. Beautiful work C'amaka. Truly breathtaking pictures. Kudos! U are surely going higher...Bee

  3. Brilliant pieces of art, admire your tenacity to work. A real example of an empowered woman. Stay true, stay blessed

  4. I still have my fascinator pieces over 3 years now and they are still in one piece, people still ask where I got them. I've known you to be persistent and hard working, the world is your oyster, kudos!!!

  5. Wow!!!! Creativity at its peak. Jisi Ike dear

  6. Wow!!!! Creativity at its peak. Jisi Ike dear

  7. Brilliant pieces of hand work kudos to u

  8. C'amaka we've had a very cordial working relationship and appreciate your persistency. Featured your work quite a number of times and its always a pleasure showcasing jobs that are brilliantly crafted. Keep doing you like you said!! God has just started with you. Anin A. BRIDESMAIDFACTORY

  9. C'amaka we've had a very cordial working relationship and appreciate your persistency. Featured your work quite a number of times and its always a pleasure showcasing jobs that are brilliantly crafted. Keep doing you like you said!! God has just started with you. Anin A. BRIDESMAIDFACTORY

  10. My very own Amaka God bless ur wrks love u soo much

  11. Sweet! Go girl am a witness, God bless u ewal big

  12. After working with u, I have always look forward working with u again, u know why? Bcos of ur patience, diligent,Kindness, tolerant. .... Continue with d good heart n d sky wl be ur starting point... .

  13. After working with u , I have been wanting to work with u again, u know why? U re a golden lady with a heart of Gold.U re so patient, diligent, tolerant with pipo u work with.. Keep up d good work... D Lord has just started with u...

  14. I can attest to how unique your pieces are. After seeing some of your amazing pieces I dreamt of you being a part of my big day and you made it a reality. My girls and I rocked your pieces, we looked amazing. Keep up the good work C'amaka, you're going places.

  15. Amaka dear... am so proud of u... rmbered d last time we went for an interview together I never knew I was beside a CEO.... go girl

  16. Amaka dear... am so proud of u... rmbered d last time we went for an interview together I never knew I was beside a CEO.... go girl

  17. I can attest to her detailed creativity...her passion for co-ordinating...and her selfless service. She was all that and more (my traditional and white wedding). Only God can truly reward you, Amaka. I really still feel I owe you.
    This is only a scratch of the beginning!

    Anuli (Abuja)

  18. Great job! Don't know you, but love your work. Keep it up

  19. My fluffy, I thank God dat d world knows ur name, n it will not be4gotten in a hurry. May God continue to bless you with more ideas. Amen. Wen we talked about dis whole idea in 2012/13, it was like ajoke but now, it's turned real. Fluffy wait a min; did u really skip the d SAX tin in your interview? Hey! You shld also tell d world dat part of u.(AMASAX). God is really great. My fluffy, cheers.

  20. Great one. May God continue to bless you

  21. Beautiful work C'amaka. Keep soaring higher and higher.

  22. God bless you more darlyn.... (brenda)