|John Uche Jesus, Founder & CEO, Diamond Ark|
Bureau: When did you decide to take the path of ‘entrepreneurship’ as your
career? Do you remember any special incident?
Uche Jesus: It has
been my desire to be an entrepreneur and global influential figure. My coming
to India offered me a huge platform to realise my dream. One incident that remains ever green in my
heart was the day the Director of the fashion school I attended introduced me
to the President of FDCI Mr. Sunil Sethi at 2011 Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week. The
FDCI President encouraged us (students) to work hard and be focused in order to
excel and be able to compete globally. Meeting him was a boost to my career.
Bureau: Can you briefly tell us more about your startup?
Uche Jesus: Starting
up without capital or sponsor was a big challenge. It all started after my school
fashion show in July 2011. A friend approached me to make a shirt for him. I
nervously accepted the order and when I finished the shirt, I got six suits
orders which automatically turned my sitting room into a mini studio. Mint
newspaper was first media house to tell my story before I was able to save
money and got my first showroom in Safdarjung. It was not an easy journey.
Bureau: How big is your team at
Uche Jesus: Currently
I have about 25 staff in India and 3 staff in Nigeria. We are still growing. We
are just 5 years in this industry.
Bureau: Did you get any funding for your
startup? Are you planning to attract funding in the near future?
Uche Jesus: No
funding at all. I’m self-made. Surely I am building a global brand. My plan is
to make Diamond Ark a leading brand in Africa and also a major player in global
fashion industry which requires huge funding. I am working hard to attract government
funding in order to actualize my dream.
Bureau: What challenges do you face in
your daily professional life?
Uche Jesus: My
biggest challenge comes from my clients. I have built a fraternity of fashionistas
that wants to look outstanding at every function; therefore, Diamond Ark has
become a lifestyle to my clienteles and fans. They want to see new designs and
many wants to be the first to wear the newest design thereby forcing me to
create new things day by day. They want to wear that is not available in the
market. So I must think out box daily.
Bureau: How do you see yourself in next
2 years from now?
Uche Jesus: Two years
from now I will be more famous, the brand will expand more. I will be better
than what I am today because my today is better than my yesterday. So Diamond
Ark will have more clients and more fans with more superior and luxury
Bureau: What are your hobbies in your
personal life? Which is your favorite holiday destination?
Uche Jesus: Since I
become a designer I never had time for holidays. Last time I travelled to
Nigeria for holidays it was like a working visit. It was a homecoming, and every
day I met new people especially fans who had not met me before. Upcoming
designers always come around to tap from my knowledge. Many requested me to
share my story in order to inspire them. Today, inspiring younger designers has
become a hobby to me, creating new designs, reading biography of self-made entrepreneurs
is also my hobby.