HALIMA ABBA: LINGERIE MAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE TALKS TO 1ONE4 MAGAZINE ABOUT UNDERWEAR MAKING AND MUCH MORE

From time immemorial, Nigerians have bought foreign made underwears, and it looked like no one ever thought of producing these very essential pieces of clothing around here. It was thus refreshing when we ran into Halima Abba at a fair in Abuja recently. She is indeed passionate about what she does and it was wonderful to know someone could make a bra that is of exact fit. She has over 200 sizes on offer! With proper training she floated Malabis Lingerie in 2005 and we sincerely hope this small but vivacious label makes waves and becomes the number 1 underwear maker in Africa. Halima talks passionately about her queer business and lots more. Enjoy! Tell us about yourself ? My name is Halima Abba. I graduated from the university of Maiduguri with a degree in Biochemistry. I then attended courses in bra making, bra pattern cutting and grading, bra fitting at the De-Montfort University, Leicester, U.K. I also did a course in lingerie making at the London College of Fashion When did you start Malabis Lingerie? Malabis lingerie started commercially in 2005 Describe your business? Malabis lingerie is a small scale lingerie manufacturing/retail company based in Abuja. Our aim is providing women with \"right fit\" quality lingerie at affordable price. We have retail outlets in Abuja and Kano. What brought about the name? The full name is Malabis u dhakhaliya, which means undergarment in Arabic language. For ease of pronunciation we shortened it to Malabis (garment in Arabic) Why did you start this business? I had issues/problems getting bras that fit right. So I did research on bras, fitting, styles etc. I noticed that a lot of%20women around me (my sisters, friends, relatives) also had similar problems. I learnt how to sew clothes growing up but I didn\'t want to make clothes. So, I thought \"why not go learn how to make underwear\". As they say necessity is the mother of invention. What is needed to be in this business? Faith, dedication, perseverance, passion and the professional knowledge of the trade How profitable is this business? Alhamdulillah, it\'s profitable if done properly, like all businesses. What advice would you give others who would like to go into this kind of business? Know why you are going into the business. Be very sure this is what you want to do. Write a business plan, yourself, if possible. Go learn it professionally. And have a passion for it. You will need a lot of patience and perseverance. Times will be very tough and difficult especially at the beginning, but perseverance pays at the end. What are the challenges you face in this line of business? The challenges faced are getting qualified staff%2C finance, sourcing for fabrics, accessories and the appropriate machinery. We have to import everything we use. What do you love most about the work? The aspect I love most about what I do is seeing the look of satisfaction on our customers’ faces and when they are happy with the products What are your personal goals/long term plans/vision? Our goals and long term plan is to make Malabis lingerie the no 1 destination for quality lingerie at affordable cost. To have Malabis lingerie outlets in all%20major cities in Nigeria and beyond. Who are your role models/mentor? Our Nabbiy, Mohammed (salla Allahu alaihi wa Salam). He has taught us all we need to know about how to live our lives, how to conduct our businesses etc. if we all emulate how he conducted business we would all be successful. What is your daily mantra? \"izhad fii Dunya, ahibukka Allah, izhad fii ma Inda nas, ahibukka nas\", leave the world (don\'t be attached to worldly affairs) Allah will love you, leave people (don\'t inconvenience them, don\'t trouble people), people will love you. What qualities do you need to be successful? Faith, dedication, patience, perseverance and passion How did you break into the market? Initially convincing women that lingerie can be made in Nigeria was a challenge. Alhamdulillah. We attend fairs, advertise in magazines/newspapers and conduct interviews. At the same time we get customer feedback or complaints. This has helped us to improve on our products. <span%20style=\"font-weight: bold;\"="">Do you really love this job? YES. I love this job. Do you have time for leisure? If so what do you do? We all have to create time for leisure. I like to read. I do karate, belly dancing, and I sleep early. How do you combine Malabis Lingerie with family and your regular work? Malabis lingerie is my regular job and my family (for now). Do you train (or plan to train) others to produce underwear in Nigeria? Insha Allah, in the future, when we are fully established, we plan to train people in underwear production. www.malabislingerie.com

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