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Meet Barbara Biosah of DUMEBI

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Biosah.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born and raised in London, UK of Nigerian Parents, I suffer from a health condition called Sickle cell Anaemia – an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. Many people who suffer from this condition may think they are limited and cannot live a full healthy life due to the complications that can occur including Organ damage etc…. As a child whenever I was unwell or had to go to the hospital, Fashion was always my escape it was my Hope. I remember as I got older, I would ask my mum to bring my sketchbook to the hospital so I could draw and it would give me so much Joy. It helped a lot with my recovery as I realised that at that particular moment in the hospital I may have been physically restricted but the very moment I am well nothing and no-one can ever stop me achieving my dreams as long as I take care of myself and know my strengths and abilities I could Soar.

My faith in God, Passion and Love for Fashion motivated me to get well and stay well as I had dreams of a bright future to look forward to. I also had a great environment and support system from my family that helped me on my way. When I was about 10 years old, my mother owned a clothing boutique in North London, she travelled to Dubai and Thailand and bought goods from suppliers which she then sold them in her store, my mother also bought materials and had tailors working in-store making custom-made clothing for clients. This is where my passion for tailor made clothing began. It was there I first learnt about sewing and found an interest in creating.

One of the longest periods I stayed home from school was when I was about 16 years old, I was doing my A-levels in Fashion and Clothing at a local school at the time but had to take two months off due to my health… I managed to stay active and work from home, my sister also helped me buy a mannequin. I binged watched Project Runway – A reality TV show finding the next top Fashion designer in NYC. I was obsessed, they filmed the show at World Renowned Fashion school Parsons the New School for design in NYC- it was my dream school and it became an achievable goal, from then on I worked extremely hard and got accepted into the Bachelor of Fashion Design Course at Parsons, This was a big eye-opener for me as I realised that with hard work any goal is achievable.

I then transferred to International Fashion Academy Paris to pursue my love for Haute Couture and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design & Technology in 2014. During that time, I worked for Various Prestigious Fashion Brands between London, Paris and NYC including Gareth Pugh, Roland Mouret, Cynthia Rowley and Alice and Olivia to name a fee. After working for Gareth Pugh who was celebrating his ten year anniversary at 33, I at the time was 22 about to turn 23 in just a few months, this inspired me to have a go at starting my own brand. I always wanted to have my own clothing brand and after working with these amazing designers, I learned a lot about running a studio so I took the plunge.

I opened my first Atelier in Paris late 2015 before officially launching DUMEBI in January 2016. Shortly after, I moved back to London and opened an Atelier in London in 2017, where I work from now with my small highly skilled team. I have been blessed to participate in Fashion Weeks & Competitions internationally including showcasing my collections in Paris, Shanghai Fashion Week, London fashion week and at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in 2019. DUMEBI has also collaborated with amazing prestigious fashion photographers, stylists and artists for breathtaking Editorials. I launched DUMEBI Bridal and have created Bespoke wedding gowns for special clients. Since 2018 I have been working back and forth between London and Los Angeles. My creations have been worn by Actresses and Musicians in LA. I plan to open a clothing store in Los Angeles – West LA.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely been a struggle and a challenge. But the beautiful thing about doing what you love and what your passionate about is that you get to enjoy the journey. I have been able to travel, meet and work with incredibly talented creatives. I think the biggest challenge for me was financing, I started this brand with basically no money but money is needed for everything in this industry particularly. In the beginning, I found it very hard funding trade shows, fashion shows, sales showrooms, PR showrooms- all very expensive and all very necessary in order to be successful and secure stockists and clients. So I collaborated with a lot of people. The most important advice I can give is to always be honest and always transparent. Never be afraid to reach out to people you’ll be surprised – (Ask and ye shall receive) I once reached out to an incredibly talented and established fashion photography from Milan – Gianmarco Chieregato for a collaboration, I was transparent and honest – New designer, no money, etc. and to my surprise, he wanted to help me he said he liked working with young talented creatives and so we created a fantastic editorial shoot with an incredible team that was published in Elegant Magazine. I’ve been privileged to meet many amazing people in this industry that have been willing to help me grow my business. Another challenge is knowing your brand and the market and what it needs.

For the longest time, I tried to do E-commerce, which honestly wasn’t working for me. The luxury fashion industry is very competitive and also very niche. I create bespoke handmade pieces for special occasions and due to the high-quality materials I use such as Silks, laces etc. and the high price points – my clients need to be able to touch, feel and try on products before they buy. This is something you can’t do with E-commerce. I have local clients that come by the Atelier and also have had international clients through direct referral but after every encounter, event, fashion show or pop up I am constantly asked where my products are being sold and where my store is located and I believe that it is time to open my first Bricks and mortar store in LA and London. This is a big investment and I would need help from Investors. Despite the challenges, obstacles and rejections- there will be many, I wake up everyday grateful that I get to pursue my dreams.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with DUMEBI – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
DUMEBI offers fun exciting young exotic luxury clothing straight from the runway for the Goddess in all women at a competitive price and tailor made service that doesn’t need to be watered down for stores. Mixing inspirations from Africa, Renaissance art with Western Silhouettes. All my creations are Ethically handmade at my workshop in London. I take pride in using the finest quality materials including Crystals from Swarovski, guaranteeing wonderful unique beautifully crafted clothing that can last a lifetime. We cater to clients that share the same passion and aesthetic for the importance of handmade luxury goods that offer not only the best quality products but creative and innovative genius Representing Diversity, Cultural beauty, Bringing the world together! My goal for DUMEBI is to eliminate the excessive use of mass production and bring back quality custom made clothing using the finest natural materials and amazing construction that are both artistic and wearable.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My goal is to open my own Boutique in Los Angeles – West LA and host exclusive events for fashion bloggers, influences, stylists and magazine editors and potential clients. I also aim to have my creations distributed in highly frequented luxury Department stores like Harrods, Saks, Selfridges and Galleries Lafayette, etc. I will continue to participate in Fashion Weeks, I was contacted by the organisers of LA Fashion week to showcase my creations – I think LA is a great market for DUMEBI especially Hollywood, the entertainment industry and the dynamic characters you find in this great city. Finally I plan to use my growing platform to raise awareness and shine a light on Sickle Cell Anaemia. “Tant qu’il y a de la vie il y a de l’espoir”

Pricing:

  • My Daywear/ RTW Collection DAYDREAM ranges between $300 – $900
  • My Couture Collections range between $2000 – $6000
  • Bespoke Bridal gowns start from $3000 +

Contact Info:

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Meet West LA Series Sponsor:

Megan Gallagher: Hi! My name is Megan Gallagher! I’m a 24 year old 2x TED speaker, #1 best selling author, afterbuzz tv host, mental health advocate & podcast host! I am very passionate about helping teenagers and changing the school system to have mandatory classes about self love, mental health and following your dreams! Growing up, I started struggling with anxiety as young as three. As a got older, I became more aware of my body and by 14, I knew that something was wrong and I needed help. It was really scary to be sitting in class(in High School) and all the sudden feel hot, sweaty, a fast heart rate and like I was going to pass out. These “episodes” happened every day, in all seven of my classes. After a few months of struggling, I decided to sit my parents down and vent to them. It was so scary and surreal, yet I felt so understood and safe. I then started therapy for three years and went on a journey to discover who Megan was. Now, having overcome it all and being in such a different place in my life- I have dedicated my life to being that person I craved as a teen. I speak at middle schools and high schools across the country in hopes of spreading positivity and inspiring teens to reach for the stars!

Image Credits
Image Credit: Stefanie Villers

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