Have you met Titilola, the lady who started her Fashion Accessory Business with no startup capital from neither friends nor families, but her 2 months NYSC allowance?
In our exclusive interview with Titilola Bello, CEO DLGENT an award winning Fashion Accessory Designer – she shared her entrepreneurial journey with us it’s so inspiring…
Can we meet you?
My name is Titilola Bello, my friends call me DLGENT, and I am an award winning Fashion Accessory Designer – I design accessories that add finishing touches to outfits – Accessories like Handbags, Jewelries, Wallets, etc…
I was born June 25th, 1991 & hail from Ogun State, Nigeria.
I have my educational background in Applied Zoology at the Olabisi Onabanjo University.
I love singing, helping people, crafting, and I love adventure/challenge..
I own 2 businesses – Accessories by DLG (a growing handcrafted fashion accessory manufacturing company in Lagos, where designs are crafted to life) and D-Fish Crumbs (a startup processed/smoked catfish business)
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey
I started my business with no startup capital from neither friends nor families, but with my 2 months NYSC allowance (#40,000).
After my Nysc in Dec 2015, it became impossible to further my education due to financial constraints. At that moment, I realized that it was my absolute responsibility to become whatever I wanted to be in life, so I job hunted twice, didn’t work out, and then decided to settle for that one thing God gave me if I were to be without anything save one – “Crafting”.
So, I continued growing my skill, with no books nor internet to bank on, it was just my intuition, my Nysc basic bag-making skill I learnt in 3 days, and my sewing background, until around mid 2017 when my life started calling out to me for more.
I stumbled on the phenomenal Femi Handbags on IG, reached out to her for training and fortunately she had just posted an application for a 2 week intensive leather bag making course. I took it as an advanced course for me, got trained, and emerged the best pioneer student (That! was my very first cloud of confirmation that I would do well on the path I’ve chosen) and I’m still pressing on with grit, determination and much passion to build a sustainable accessory brand.
My next call is definitely to have a professional training beyond the walls of this country, at the heart of Fashion and Design – Italy!
I’ve had few thrilling moments in my journey, such as – Best Pioneer Student at the Femi Handbags training in 2017. Won Emerging Designer Award 2018 at the Lagos Leather Fair (the biggest leather fair in West Africa). Won an equipment grant in 2018 courtesy.
The Fashion Souk. Exhibited my products at few events like The Lagos Leather Fair 2018, Lagos Fashion & Design Week (courtesy NEPC) & The Fashion Souk 2019, amongst others. Also won a scholarship to attend a 4 week entrepreneurial course at ICFES (Issachar Centre for Fashion Entrepreneurial Studies) in February 2020 sponsored by Eventful Nigeria. I have also been privileged to train over 200 people (women and mostly teenagers) in accessories making via free and paid trainings. And I see more coming
Tell us about your brand and what makes you special/different?
Accessories by DLG is an African brand that manufactures handcrafted fashion accessories, such as but not limited to Handbags, Wallets, Jewelries, Footwear, Souvenirs,etc., that add finishing touches to your outfits – in Leather, African & Contemporary Prints, for men and women who love edgy fashion styles.
We adopt both machine stitch and handstitching methods in the production of our accessories.
Our Vision is to have a one-stop house of innovative fashion accessories online and in Lagos, with multiple franchises across Africa, and thus become top on mind and destination for clients who love edgy African accessories.
We have been around for 2 years officially, since May 4th, 2018, when we had our very first Exhibition, and presently we are a team of four.
We have 3 focus areas at accessories by DLG;
We CRAFT (Product Development), We TRAIN (Capacity Building), and We REVAMP (Environmental Conservation/ Upcycling expired shoes and bags into Afrocentric accessories)
At the core of what we do are -Social Impact, Individualism, Product ranges & lines, excellent craftmanship, originality & functionality of designs and great customer service.
At Accessories by DLG, we are that brand that loves to strike a chord of Individualism and confidence in our customers whenever they rock their handcrafted fashion accessories made by DLG.
What inspired you to start a fashion accessory line?
I remember how I loved to carry my mum’s handbags in Uni, and most times, it did not sit well with her. I loved them, but I couldn’t afford as many as I wanted then.. so, when I found out in my final year that bag making could be learnt at NYSC SAED program, it became my primary goal at the orientation camp. I was intrigued to learn ‘to pepper my mum, lolzzz’ and guess what, my mum was my biggest fan when I started, she even had more of my bags than I did..lolzzz.
This was her journey so far. It’s so inspiring. Are you inspired by her Story. Drop your comments.