Summer has come and gone and it’s time for our newest Member of the Month! Introducing Bismark Djima, who tells us all about his passion for shoes and his upcoming launch event for his line, Djima London.
Hey Bismark! Thanks for letting me interview you today. If you could just start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I’m the founder of Djima London, which is a shoe brand that specialises in men’s loafers. As you can already guess, I’m very passionate about shoes, and that’s how I got started. I always used to be asked, and still do, where I got my shoes from and always received compliments on them. I have a very specific style, and people seemed to like it, so I thought to myself, why not create my own designs and my own brand.
I hear you’re launching soon, can you tell me about what you have planned?
Yes! I’m very excited about it, I’ve been working so hard to make sure it’s going to be as perfect as possible. There will be a lot of entertainment, even a fashion show with a red carpet catwalk. There’s also going to be giveaway competitions, and of course, I’m going to reveal all my designs. It’s definitely going to be an amazing night, so be sure to come it! It’s on the 22nd of September at 7 pm here at Launch22.
Sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. So what is your experience here at Launch22 and being on the scholarship programme?
My time here at Launch22 has been really great, and it’s really helped me a lot. I started off working from home, but it was terrible, I couldn’t stay concentrated and was less productive. So I came to work in Launch22, an organisation that helps guide you and allows your business to grow. One of the key things that helped me specifically is the Launch22 events. It’s a great place for networking and meeting different people in the business sector. As a result, I’ve built up so many contacts that have all helped me in different ways, and in turn who I’ve shared my ideas with.
Further to this, Launch22 also has mentors who are experts and knowledgeable in different areas so you can always find someone to answer a question you have. For example, marketing was really important to me so I spoke to Neil Donald, a mentor here, and the guidance has been invaluable.
I would like to say thank you to Georgina, the community manager here at Launch, she’s been the best support and she is always ready to lend a hand and do whatever she can to solve something for me.
So if you’re looking for somewhere to start your business, or to give your start-up a home, Launch22 is perfect for you.
Launch22 is such a great place, you immediately feel comfortable and there are not many working spaces like that. What are you planning to do after your launch event?
Well, I’ve been getting a lot of women asking me where my female line is, so my next step would be to launch that. I’m planning to do some samples and some researching about creating female versions of the loafers I have. Following that, I’m hopefully going to expand my brand into clothing as well, such as suits and shirts etc. Those are my next two plans, there’s a lot of work I have to do to get there though, but I have so many ideas.
I’m sure you’ll reach all your goals Bismark, you’re very dedicated. Have you had any struggles or made any mistakes you’ve learned from in your path to creating your own line?
I’ve definitely had a few troubles, for example, I made the mistake of using the wrong material when I was designing my shoes. I had to go away and look more into it, research as much as possible in order to find the right tools I needed to create my vision. There’s a lot of small details you can trip over, and I’ve learnt a lot about creating and manufacturing.
Okay, last question! What advice would you give to someone who is looking to create their own line?
If it’s your passion and your dream, and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, my advice would be to get started as soon as you can. I personally had the idea in my head for a long while before I actually pursued it and I wish I had started a lot earlier
You will face some struggles and some obstacles, but there are no boundaries to what you can do, so just go for it. It’s an indescribable feeling when you get that first sale of your service, it motivates you to do more because there’s nothing that compares to that. Also, when you do start, there is a lot of support and guidance available to you, so you won’t be alone in your pursuit. The Sky is the limit.
Follow Djima London on Instagram: djimalondon
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By Roda Musa