Despite the nature of my work; my man understands me-Tayo Sobola
With my clothing line; I am not in a competition with anyone- Tayo Sobola
Light skinned actress, Tayo Sobola better known as Sotayo is one of the leading actress in the entertainment industry, a model and film producer who made name in Yoruba Flicks that includes Arewa Onijogbon and Copper Jide among others.
The actress cum movie maker attended Olabisi Onabanjo University where she bagged a degree in Public Administration. Sotayo also obtained a diploma in Law from the Lagos State University and rated as one of the hottest Yoruba actresses in recent times is an indigene of Ogun State admits she is restless and versatile. A woman of many parts; Sotayo doubles as the CEO of her own production outfit; Sotee Entertainment that handles most of her movie productions. Not relenting, Sotayo recently unveiled her two new brands ‘Clean Stitches’ (Clothing Line) and Pop It ( Acosmetic line) amidst pops and glam. In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, Sotayo open up more on her new businesses, why she is not in competition with any of her colleagues,
How did it all start with doing business?
I started at a very tender age. I just usually play with fabrics then because my elder sister used to make clothes then not that I really wanted to do it or planned to do it.
Most of your colleagues are going into clothing line, lip stick and others. And now you are into it, is this a competition?
For me, it’s not competition. Most times I wear makeup and people tell me oh! I love your lips. So maybe it’s because of the shape of my lips that wants to make me start my makeup. I’m not in competition with anybody. This is what I feel like and I know I can do. It’s not about starting up a business, its about sustaining it, by sticking with people who will help you achieve it. A whole lot of people start and fail an that’s why I do test-run for all my products before I bring them out. Even when I had my own, I saw people unveiling theirs and I was busy testing my own.
How do you intend to balance acting and fashion knowing that your profession is so demanding?
Well, it’s about employing more hands because right now I do a whole lot of things. It’s not just the clothing line which is just a year neither is it the PopIt lip stick that am trying to unveil. The truth about it is, you just need to employ more people, empower them to work with you as well and do the needful. I don’t see the reason why I cannot handle what I have around me while I’m acting. For me, everything is under control.
What inspires your kind of design and collections?
Most times I just want to try new things and see how best it can work. My collections are out of the box. The brand will be a year in a couple of months.
Why did it take so long for you to officially come out?
There is this saying that, for you to throw something out to people, you should be able to test run it. You should be sure of what you are putting out to the public and that’s what I tried to do. I decided I wanted to run a proper clothing line and also decided that, I want to see how it will go, I wanted to see if I will be able to maintain it, I wanted to see if I will be able to go public, I wanted to see, if I will be able to sustain it. And that’s what I did. So, so far so good, I have done a proper running and have seen that fine, I can maintain it and it’s almost a year so why don’t I let the people know this is what I do.
You design most of these clothes. Where you a tailor at some point?
I was never a tailor. I never learnt tailoring. It’s not because I do not have money to pay people who make clothes that I decided I want to start sewing what I wear but the truth about this is that most times I dress out, people look at me and say ‘Oh! I like what you are wearing and at the end of the day, it’s me doing the buying. It’s me doing the stitches. It’s me bringing the material. It’s me deciding I want you to do this thing for me and I am the one paying you. Then what am I using my brain for? And at the end of the day, you take my glory. So why can’t I sit down, sketch myself, make it and make money. I don’t know how to sew. I stitch, I design. I have people who sew. So in clean stitches, we sew what we sell but I don’t know how to press machine.
How do you source for fabrics? Do you go to market yourself or you order for it?
The truth is, most designers won’t tell you this is where I get my fabrics from. It is a trade secret. But the truth about it is that when I see something that I like, I will buy it wherever I go but the most important thing is that it should bring out the style that I want to achieve with it. I buy fabrics outside Nigeria. I buy in Turkey. I buy in Dubai at times I even buy in Lagos. And obviously, what we buy in Lagos is quite differently from Turkey and some other places so, the nature or design am making will determine where I will buy the fabrics from.
How affordable are your products?
To be honest with you, it is extremely affordable. Even to the common man for as low as five thousand naira (N5000) because we make things from different fabrics, African fabrics and the rest.
Who are your clients?
I make clothes for lots of people, I might just don’t want to mention names. I make clothes for a lot of people. I make clothes for wealthy people.
What makes your outfit unique?
For females, we buy make up even if we don’t want to wear them and they are trying to buy four different products, you get different feels from them. The difference between my product and others is that, mine are mild. I don’t know anything about others. There are some lipsticks you wear and your lips get dark. I’ve tried my products. Some of them even have ingredients that won’t make your lips darker. Whatever kind or shade of lips you have. You just have to choose which one to go for.
How much are the lip sticks?
It’s very affordable. It’s just a meagre, as low as four thousand naira .
You are into fashion aside acting. What more should we expect from the brand?
I’m a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University and here I am as an actress, a movie producer, a former dancer. I’ve done almost everything in the entertainment industry. I read public administration in school. I have a diploma in law so someday I am going to use my certificate. So don’t be surprised one day when you hear I’m going into politics. So I can venture into a whole lot.
How do you take out time to rest with all these in place?
Truth is, I work a lot. I really don’t look like someone who works. I’m like someone who sits somewhere and they bring money to her and then I lavish. I’m the kind of person that can work three weeks back to back, sleep at 5am and wake up at 8am, am that mad. I hate distractions. The only time I relax is when I’m out of the country, that’s why I work a whole lot. I can work for three weeks and travel to relax for five days. It’s not so easy though.
Clean stitches is an online sales store, PopIt is also an online sales store. You can get everything you want online, you can order online and also connect via social media. You can do follow a follow up on Clean stitches and the PopIt lip stick. Our online sales representative will get everything across to you.
How do you intend to build that relationship between you and customers or with your representatives and the customers?
So far so good in the last one year, there has not been any kind of complain and it’s a business that I do proper check on. Once a while, I go on the page to see what’s going on and I have well groomed staff that attend to people very well, so there hasn’t been complain so far, we manage what we have.
How does your man cope with your busy schedule?
He understands. And the good thing is that he is a flexible person too. He can be anywhere at any time.
What is the one thing you cannot restrain yourself from doing?
Ahh my phones… I am addicted to my phones. I cannot stop pressing my phone for one minute and I enjoy it.
What is that one thing you can’t be caught wearing?
I doubt if there is anything I can’t wear. I wear just about anything because I know how to always make it work for me.
What is your favorite fashion accessory?
Wow, I love wristwatches. Even if I have a million wristwatches, I will still buy (more).