Adebisi Adebowale has loved fashion for as long as she can remember. Her love of fashion led her to create the blog Beese’s Pieces and from the blog, she found the inspiration to launch her entrepreneurial dreams with DeBisi, a purse line that uses Ankara African fabrics to make one of a kind bags.
The 24-year-old entrepreneur said. She describes her style as “traditional meets modern.” The bright bold pinks, gold and blues of the Ankara fabrics, create a purse that would not go unnoticed on any women’s arm. (Ankara fabric features African print and has some Dutch origins. Details here.)
Not only does she use Ankara fabrics, she also uses leather and faux leather. Her bags range in price from $40 to $300 with her most popular designs – small- and medium-sized chain purses — run around $80.
Adebowale has been creating things for herself since high school and designing for three years although DeBisi has only been officially around since April 2013.
“I was tired of complaining about lack of money and people keep asking me do I make stuff for people and I would say no,” she said. “But I thought of it as a hint from God to get started and decided there was no time like present, I always wanted to be a young entrepreneur.”
Her love for fashion design was so strong that she even considered attending fashion school after high school. Her mother quickly said no and Adebowale went on to earn her bachelor’s in marketing and sports management from George Washington University followed by her master’s at the same university.
Based in the DC area, the young entrepreneur notes that has had quite a bit of marketing success so far.
“I’ve been pulling lots of African events,” she said. “The response has been good.”
To date she has done five shows in her area and one in Chicago since April 2013 operating under DeBisi.
But Adebowale’s success is not without its challenges. As with most small business start ups, finances and stocking up on her inventory has been difficult. Recently she also started a new job as an enterprise architect at Deloitte and finding time to work on her new line is often a challenge.
“I’m very strong in my faith,” Adebowale said. “I committed it all to His hand.”
Adebowale says she works from 8 am to 6 pm so “prayer is what allows me to get work done with the line.” She has also had to cut down on her social life, but the sacrifices, she feels are worth it.
“Some people think that just because they have a skill [business] will be easy, but it’s not at all. That doesn’t mean I should stop pushing.”
In five years she hopes to further develop her brand into a more recognizable name.
“My goal is to be a full-time entrepreneur,” she said. “I want to do this full time, want to see it grow, all over the nation and the world.”