International development professional Shari-Julianne Hammond unpacks the challenges and solutions…
Founded by Birmingham-based entrepreneur Michelle Bediako, NASB Stitches (New Age of Style and Beauty) is a fast-expanding elegant fashion brand established in 2014.
Michelle, a former health care assistant (pictured above), launched NASB Stitches last year after sewing an impromptu Nigerian outfit for a friend – despite having no former fashion experience.
Motivated by her impressive first attempt, Michelle continued to stitch designs for family and friends who spotted her natural talent and encouraged her to start a business. After creating an Etsy page but suffering no sales for a few months, the venture took a surprisingly positive turn in March 2015.
‘Earlier this year I decided to stop working part-time in health care to put all my focus on NASB,’ Michelle told AB2020. ‘Once I did that the company grew rapidly, and within 12 weeks I’d received 1,800 Facebook likes. Business just started flowing in.’
Now, the single mum of a three-year-old manages an average of one customized order per day. ‘At the moment I’m doing everything on my own; designing, cutting and sewing. It’s shocking to think I taught myself by watching YouTube videos – learning how to stitch bit by bit,’ she admits.
‘There were times I’d receive an order request and have no idea what to do. At those times I’d just pray, and eventually achieve it. It is God who has carried me through.’
Next year, NASB Stitches is heading to Africa – branching out in to Ghana; teaming up with fashion bloggers in Nigeria; and partnering with a bridal store in Tanzania. ‘I’ve been asked to provide items for a boutique in the US, which I’ll do, but it’s time for me to get on to the Africa scene,’ Michelle says.
AB2020 creator Akosua Annobil was styled by NASB Stitches during her recent trip to Accra. See the photo gallery below for their Betty Smith Blazer, Aba Daisy Skirt and Shekinah Glory dress.