Tailors and vogue designers in several elements of the nation whose craft suffered a reversal of fortune towards the backdrop of lockdown and ban on social gathering to include the lethal coronavirus pandemic, have discovered solace within the manufacturing and sale of facemasks with tales of booming enterprise, report KUNLE AKINRINADE; KOLADE ADEYEMI, Kano; ERNEST NWOKOLO, Abeokuta; JUSTINA ASISHANA, Minna; RASAK IBRAHIM, Ado-Ekiti; TOBA ADEDEJI, Oshogbo; MIKE ODIEGWU, Port Harcourt; BISI OLADELE, Ibadan & OSAGIE OTABOR, Akure



Behind each cloud, they are saying, there’s a silver lining. That a lot is true of the darkish cloud the unfold of the lethal coronavirus constitutes to humanity. Whereas the virus has contaminated tens of millions of individuals worldwide and brought on the deaths of lots of of 1000’s others, it’s not solely a narrative of gloom and tragedy because it has led to a turnaround within the fortunes of many individuals, notably in Nigeria the place facemask enterprise is booming amongst neighbourhood tailors.

Clearly, the storm that introduced catastrophe into the paths of some is clearing the paths of others to success. Samson Ademuyiwa was shocked a number of days in the past when his spouse, Omolola, provided to mortgage him the sum of N35,000 for the household to restock their dwelling with meals. Samson, a 42-year-old electrical contractor, had been left crestfallen after his hope of recovering the sum of N60,000 a consumer owed him was dashed. The stated consumer had hinged his incapability to pay the Oyo born contractor on the lockdown arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Omolola’s gesture got here at a time the household had exhausted their inventory of foodstuffs, prompting Samson, a father of three who additionally had three different relations holidaying in his residence, to go away his Abule Egba, Lagos dwelling for his debtor’s place within the hope that that latter would pay his debt. He, nevertheless, returned dwelling disenchanted.

Understandably, the frown on his face gave approach to a smile when Omolola, a backstreet tailor, advised him that she might afford to help him with N35,000. No matter doubt he nursed about Omolola’s gesture vanished after he took her in his automobile to the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of a close-by department of a industrial financial institution to withdraw the stated sum and subsequently purchased the wanted meals gadgets from the close by Ile Epo Market.

Omolola would later disclose to her husband that the cash she withdrew from the ATM was the proceeds of the quite a few facemasks she had sewn and bought because the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Omolola stated: “On the onset of the lockdown, I used to be lamenting that clients had stopped bringing materials for me to stitch for them. Within the first week of the lockdown, I returned dwelling empty-handed every time I went to my store as a result of there have been no garments to stitch. However the consciousness about facemasks modified all that as emergency merchants began bringing supplies for me to stitch face masks which they in flip bought to different individuals.

“It’s from the roles that I’ve up to now made greater than N50,000 as individuals preserve thronging my store due to my artistic designs, which embody utilizing designer denims, damask, ankara and satin materials to stitch face masks.

“Now, I work very late. I’ve additionally needed to have interaction my apprentices greater than their work hours simply so we are able to ship the masks to my teeming clients.

“It was a lady in my neighbourhood who launched me to a dealer in Oshodi. The dealer had appreciated the design of a masks the neighbour purchased from me and subsequently contracted me to stitch particular masks for her and one other buddy of hers.

“I sew between 2,000 and 4,000 masks weekly and so they even pay me in full earlier than gathering their jobs. The pandemic has actually affected social life and I pray that it ought to finish earlier than lengthy. Nevertheless it has been a blessing in disguise as a result of I’m making good cash each week.”

However Omolola shouldn’t be the one tailor that has discovered a ‘gold mine’ within the manufacturing of face masks. There are others like 40-year-old Lydia Osarewhen who has been making good cash from the enterprise too. The Edo born tailor and single mom of three, who plies her commerce within the Agege a part of Lagos, stated the enterprise was the one factor that had saved her dwelling intact.

Osaremwhen stated: “In the previous couple of weeks, I’ve produced 1000’s of face masks for merchants round right here. Face masks have turn out to be good enterprise. I consistently get orders from merchants. It was from the proceeds of the roles that I used to be in a position to renew my lease of N50,000. Even my landlord was shocked that I paid at once for the primary time.

“Since clients have stopped bringing their private materials and aso ebi (ceremonial uniforms) as a result of the ban on social features continues to be in place, face masks manufacturing has turn out to be an enormous compensation for me.

“It has greater than put the meals on my desk as I’ve been in a position to do charity or palliatives for poor neighbours as effectively.’’

For one more dressmaker, Hakeem Owolabi, the danger he took veering into face masks manufacturing has paid off in the previous couple of days. Earlier than then, Owolabi, who runs a store off Afariogun Road in Ikeja, had suffered low patronage for his craft. However the 38-year-old artisan stated that face masks manufacturing has introduced him good cash these days.

He stated: “However for the cash I’ve been making from producing face masks, I’m wondering how I’d have been ready to deal with the lockdown.

“The precautions towards the unfold of coronavirus pandemic, together with social distancing and ban on public gatherings, have put a cease to events and social occasions on account of which individuals often carry materials for us to stitch.

“The pandemic had affected my earnings degree a lot in order that I needed to beg a few of my pals for cash to top off meals in my home, till I used to be launched to face masks manufacturing by a colleague and it has been a worthwhile enterprise up to now.

“Now I make between N5,000 and N7,000 weekly from face masks as a result of my designs are very catchy. The truth is, my clients who promote the masks in elements of the metropolis have deposited cash for his or her jobs in order that I can ship the masks on time.”

A tailor across the Railway Line space in Agege, Hashmi Ibrahim, stated he had switched to creating face masks after seeing the massive sums his contemporaries have been making from the enterprise.

“In case you can’t beat them, you be a part of them,” he stated.

“Since clients have stopped patronising us, I made a decision that the very best factor was to hitch my colleagues who’ve switched to the manufacturing of face masks and making a lot cash from it.

“I’ve since been creating wealth from masks. I make between N5,000 and N6,000 weekly as a result of the distributors who promote the masks have turn out to be so many in order that I now shut late from my store, which is correct behind my residence.’’

Brisk enterprise in different neighbourhoods

Like their counterparts in Lagos neighbourhoods, manufacturing and sale of face masks is a booming enterprise for tailors and hawkers within the historic metropolis of Kano, the industrial nerve centre of northern Nigeria.

Even earlier than Monday’s flag-off of the distribution of two million face masks to eight metropolitan native authorities areas by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, using the protection masks had instantly turn out to be stylish in Kano, opening new enterprise alternatives to each tailors and distributors who now use it to make a residing.

The large consciousness created by the state authorities on the tough realities of COVID-19 pandemic coupled with their private experiences has inspired residents of the traditional industrial metropolis to make use of face masks, amongst different precautions, to forestall being contaminated with the lethal virus.

Buoyed by the style grandeur related to it, not a number of Kano residents now sew face masks to replicate the color of their attire.

Within the Fagge and Sabon Gari axis identified for clusters {of professional} tailors, face masks enterprise is having fun with a increase. Tailors in these areas should not solely jostling to win contracts from spiritual organisations, they’re additionally doing so from non-public people and organizations who place orders for masks which they in flip donate to individuals.

Face masks of various sizes and shapes have since flooded markets in varied elements of Kano metropolis. Though a lot of them are poorly produced, residents are shopping for them even at exorbitant costs. An inferior face masks in Kano is bought between N300 and N500 whereas a reasonably good one is bought between N700 and N1,500.

A preferred tailor at Fagge, Malam Abdullahi Haruna, advised The Nation that he was making “actual cash” from face masks manufacturing. He stated he had for now deserted stitching plain garments for masks manufacturing as a result of the demand for the latter is excessive and the revenue margin may be very encouraging.

“Enterprise has not been dangerous. Earlier than this COVID-19 factor, I used to be promoting recharge playing cards and making little or no revenue. However since I began this face masks enterprise, my life has modified for the higher,” a hawker, Ibrahim Shuabu, stated.

A teenage face masks vendor round Brigade Quarters in Gama, Jibrin Mustapha, 13, stated: “I derive pleasure in promoting face masks. I began the enterprise not too long ago. My elder brother named Mubarak, a tailor, launched me to it.

“With the lockdown, l transfer from place to put to promote the masks, and I make between N1,000 to N1,500 every day. “Mallam Abdullahi Tele of Bakin Kasuwa, Gama, Brigade Quarters, stated his face masks commerce has introduced him success in the previous couple of weeks.

“I’m into large manufacturing of face masks on the market. I bought out to hawkers at N50. With one yard of textile materials, I can produce 10 items of them.

“I make between N5,000 and N10,000 weekly, relying on how enterprise strikes. With this, I’m completely satisfied that I’ve one thing doing somewhat than being redundant.’’

Facemasks flip the tide in Ogun

Because the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria surfaced in Ewekoro, Ogun State, on February 27 and the next lockdown of the state like different elements of Nigeria, companies had taken a downward flip earlier than using facemasks turned the tide for a lot of business-minded individuals within the state.

Mr Femi Osipitan, an Abeokuta-based dressmaker, believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is a blessing in disguise as he has redirected his vitality from stitching designer wears to creating facemasks.

He stated the diversification was a response to the calls for of the time and was helped the extra by state and federal governments’ directives mandating everyone to put on a facemask in public, making a veritable marketplace for facemasks within the course of.

He stated he makes facemasks in response to the order positioned by shoppers. He stated since facemask turned a difficulty, he had employed two individuals to assist him deal with the amount of orders that come.

Though he was silent on his revenue margin, he stated one of many boys he engaged earns N3,000 every day whereas the opposite, an apprentice, earns N1,000 per day.

Osipitan reckoned that if one aggregates the N3,000 every day for a month, the determine surpasses the nationwide minimal wage, leaving the readers to make their very own inferences on face masks enterprise.

He stated: “COVID – 19 and the lockdown have affected individuals’s demand. I’m into vogue enterprise however no one comes anymore asking to purchase garments or sew trousers or shirts. The emphasis now’s on what’s going to assist them to remain protected and alive. So, I’ve diversified into making facemasks since that’s what individuals purchase out of necessity. And due to the federal and state governments’ instruction on face masks, individuals are additionally asking for it.

“I produce primarily based on order. The order could be three dozens, six dozens or extra at a time. I’ve employed two individuals to help me within the manufacturing. Whereas I pay one N3,000 every day to at least one, the opposite earns N1000 every day. Put that collectively for a month and consider the nationwide minimal wage,” he stated.

Additionally, Najeem Bello, one other tailor in Abeokuta, advised The Nation that he had thought that each one was misplaced due to the lockdown till he hit on the thought of constructing facemasks.

Bello, who spoke by way of an interpreter, stated he made his first trial from the remnants of materials from clients’ supplies and got here out with 250 items of facemasks on the finish of the chopping and stitching.

The younger tailor added that he couldn’t consider his eyes when he turned over N40,000 richer in a twinkle of an eye fixed by stitching and promoting facemasks.

“Even earlier than the problem of coronavirus took place, the Abeokuta economic system is a conservative one in comparison with Lagos. Folks sew garments provided that there’s a main competition or celebration like marriage ceremony. The scenario shrank additional with coronavirus and the lockdown.

“Since there isn’t any extra celebration or social gathering, no one involves us to make new attire. However the facemasks turned the door opener for us to work and earn cash quick. I produce face masks, promote and see my returns instantly.

“This era is a blessing for me. There’s cash in it as a result of everyone is asking for facemask. So, the market is there for us. I earn more money now producing face masks, in contrast to what obtained within the pre-lockdown period.”

Tailors giggle to the banks in Niger

In Minna, the Niger State capital, tailors and distributors are laughing all the best way to the banks following the increase in facemask enterprise.

The state authorities had made using facemask obligatory for residents and safety brokers should not taking it evenly with defaulters.

Distributors, largely youngsters, cluster at junctions to promote their masks manufactured from poor and top quality textile supplies to passers-by and motorists. The masks promote between N150 and N500.

The distributors are often seen on the gates of the Kure Extremely-Fashionable Market, banks or different organizations. Financial institution clients often purchase from these distributors simply to be allowed into banking corridor.

On the Kure Extremely-Fashionable Market, regulation enforcement brokers generally don’t enable individuals with out facemasks into the market, therefore they’re pressured to patronise masks distributors on the gate.

One of many teenage distributors, recognized merely as Yusuf, who stated he was serving to his mom to promote facemasks, stated: “I’ve to assist my mom. You already know that there isn’t any a lot work and if I promote loads of this, it’ll assist us purchase one thing for us to eat at dwelling.”

The proprietor of Mega Home of Trend in Minna, Ms Elizabeth Ezekiel, says she produces no fewer than 80 items of facemasks every day, which she distributes primarily based on orders from organisations, with costs ranging between N250 and N300.

One other tailor, Rachel Waziri, famous that residents have been reluctant to purchase the masks till authorities made it obligatory, resulting in a surge in her manufacturing and gross sales.

“That was when individuals began coming to purchase from me. Those that need to distribute to residents additionally patronise me. However that was two weeks in the past. At first, we made about 10 facemasks every day. However now, we make like 50 items every day as a result of individuals are nonetheless shopping for.”

Merchants depend blessings in Ekiti

Rising demand for facemasks by residents of Ado-Ekiti, Ikere-Ekitiand different elements of Ekiti State has additionally offered a reasonably spectacular earnings for vogue designers and merchants, who’ve been counting their blessings with large manufacturing and gross sales of the masks.

A tailor in Ado Ekiti, Oyetunji Jamiu, stated he determined to enterprise into facemask enterprise as the one various to maintain his household.

He stated: “Our vogue designing enterprise, like different companies, has been negatively affected because the complete lockdown directed by authorities over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Nigerians sporting facemasks

“We hardly see clients coming ahead because of the lockdown. However with this facemask enterprise, issues have improved a bit.

“No less than with the little revenue coming from it, I’ve been in a position to put meals on the desk for my household.”

Tawakalitu Gidado, a tailor and a mom of three, says she produces about 15 facemasks every day at N200 every. She famous that the enterprise had impacted positively on her earnings.

“The masks are simple to supply as a result of they don’t require a lot materials and don’t price a lot. The earnings is sufficient to cater for the wants of my household. In the present day alone, I’ve bought 12 masks price N2,400, and that’s honest sufficient,” she stated.

In Osun, it’s Aso ebi out, facemask in

Mistura Banire, a tailor in Okini, Egbedore Native Authorities Space, Osun State, stated: “We have now put aside aso ebi (ceremonial uniforms) for now. Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, patronage was encouraging. However the directive banning social gathering and the lockdown directive has affected our patronage negatively.

“The lockdown directive affected me so badly that I couldn’t even afford meals. However after the lockdown lapsed and using facemask was made obligatory by the Osun State Authorities I began producing facemasks.

“Certainly one of my pals knowledgeable me that the governor in a broadcast made facemasks obligatory and I used to be elated.

“With the entrepreneurship abilities I received from the web, I began producing facemasks from the items of cloths I had in my store. Thereafter, I began going to the market to purchase supplies to make use of for the manufacturing.

“My youthful ones and their pals assist me in promoting the masks owing to the truth that they’re idle because of the closure of their colleges.’’

One other tailor recognized merely as Jayjay in Osogbo,the state capital, stated his apprentices who’re faculty kids now sew facemasks and promote at Ola-Iya Junction.

He stated: “My apprentices and their pals now sew facemasks and hawk at totally different junctions. The price of producing one is N60 and so they promote them between N100 and N120.’’

A pupil of Okini Grammar College recognized as Samuel advised our correspondent that he makes about N600 from the gross sales of facemasks every day.

“My sister is a tailor who produces facemasks and she or he all the time offers them to me to promote to commuters at Eyitayo Junction in Agunbelewo and at Oke-Fia in Osogbo. I’ve pals numbering 14 and we promote the masks at totally different junctions and streets in Osogbo,” Samuel stated.

Distributors promote facemasks in Rivers with out sporting them

In Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, facemasks are available in costs starting from N250 to N1,000, relying on high quality, fashion and dimension. Sarcastically, most distributors or hawkers of the masks don’t put on them.

A tailor close to the brand new market on Bende Road, Johnbull Ogiong, stated he converted to facemask manufacturing following a lull in his enterprise because the lockdown, particularly the continued 24-hour curfew in Port Harcourt.

“Because the authorities made the announcement that facemask is obligatory for everybody, I began making it. And it is extremely simple to make. Individuals are shopping for the masks and they’re very low-cost. I’ve those of N100 and N200.

“I’m making revenue from it. It’s serving to me and my household by way of shopping for foodstuffs to outlive the lockdown. If authorities didn’t make it obligatory, I don’t know the place I’d have gotten cash from to feed my household.”

Ada Ojo, a seamstress at Sandfill Borokiri, stated: “I began making facemasks for my clients free of charge, however individuals began coming to ask so they might purchase. Even those that I made are completed, however individuals are nonetheless coming to ask. I need to begin stitching new ones in order that I can promote.

“Lots of people are shopping for. You may see I’m stitching new ones for those who have positioned order for them. The demand is excessive. I don’t should exit to hawk it.

“Coronavirus is making individuals to hurry the masks. It has helped me to earn cash on this lockdown.”

One other tailor, Present Obon, stated: “As I’m stitching the masks, they’re dashing them. The federal government that positioned emphasis on the facemasks, together with making them obligatory, has helped our hustle. The truth is, I thank the federal government.

“My youngster goes to promote them on the highway. We use the cash to outlive this lockdown. The cash I make from promoting the masks has been sustaining us. I’m wondering what I’d have carried out with out the facemasks. The truth is, surviving this lockdown would have been extraordinarily tough.”

“I began the enterprise when individuals started putting orders for them. The closeness of my store to the primary highway additionally helped me. As I dangle them on the market, individuals cease their autos to patronize me,’’ stated one other feminine tailor, Alice John.

“I name it a severe enterprise due to how a lot I get from it, particularly at this lockdown interval. It is a good technique of creating wealth.

“Though I can’t need this pandemic to remain for lengthy, I need to confess that the cash I’ve made so removed from the manufacturing of facemasks has additionally assist me financially,” she added.

Authorities units the tempo in Oyo

In Oyo State, tailors throughout the size and breadth of the state are having fun with a increase of their enterprise as they deal with the stitching of 1 million face masks courtesy of the state authorities.

Governor Seyi Makinde had introduced in April that his administration would offer a million facemasks within the first section for residents within the state as one of many measures geared toward containing COVID-19. He promised to patronise tailors to stitch facemasks within the state with a view to enhance native economic system.

Makinde is the one governor within the Southwest who didn’t impose complete lockdown as a measure to include the unfold of the virus, arguing that almost all residents depend upon every day earnings for survival and that any imposition of lockdown within the state would put them at an ideal peril.

Talking with The Nation, the president, Oyo State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Tailors, Mr Oloyede Ojewale, confirmed that members of the union within the state are at present rounding off on the manufacturing of the primary section of 500,000 masks contracted to them by the state authorities.

On whether or not the contract created a increase for tailors, the union chief defined that the primary set was worthwhile however that the second set of the job which is being accomplished shouldn’t be. In line with him, as quickly as stitching materials retailers learnt that authorities gave masks manufacturing job to tailors, they hiked the costs of the supplies by as much as 120 per cent.

He stated: “Sure, the federal government gave the job to us and we distributed it to our members. The job has saved us busy. We actually thank the governor for that as a result of no one is stitching any material lately due to coronavirus. Individuals are solely spending their cash on meals. There is no such thing as a ceremony. So, the job has actually helped us.

“It was worthwhile initially however these promoting supplies to us have since elevated the costs of their inventory. What we purchased for say N700 in the course of the first set, they bought to us for N1,700 within the second set. That has made it so tough for us to make any revenue.

An aged girl with a facemask

“That’s the reason we’re utilizing this chance once more to enchantment to our kind-hearted governor to please improve the worth for us within the second section of one other 500,000 masks.”

A hawker at Adamasingba space of Ibadan, who merely recognized himself as Chinedu, stated domestically made facemasks have turn out to be worthwhile in current instances.

“That’s what individuals need to purchase now. As a dealer, it’s higher to promote what individuals need to purchase. That’s the reason you see me promoting them.”

Panic shopping for in Ondo

In Ondo State, the risk by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to arrest and place residents who refused to put on facemasks on 14 days isolation has elevated the gross sales of facemasks in Akure and its environs.

The worth of facemasks from hawkers on the street ranged between N50 and N150 in Akure. Some hawkers stated they purchase at N50 and resell at N100.

Ondo State Authorities was on the verge of ordering for over N500,000 face masks from neighbouring states when it determined to contract tailors within the state to supply the merchandise.

Governor Akeredolu was stated to have invited the President of the Trend Designers Affiliation in Akure, Mr. Niyi Ale.

Over 400 tailors have been engaged to assist produce the facemasks whereas the lecture rooms of the Caring Coronary heart Mega Major College in Akure have been transformed to momentary manufacturing centre for masks.

Not a number of tailors engaged to stitch the nostril masks described the choice as a welcome improvement and a value-adding initiative.

Certainly one of them, Mrs. Abiodun Adewale, stated she was already considering of how you can make ends meet since individuals have been now not stitching garments to put on to ceremonies.

She stated: “When the governor requested us to remain at dwelling, there was nothing I used to be doing till now once we have been requested by the state authorities to stitch nostril masks. Final week, we acquired our fee from the state authorities.”

One other tailor within the state, Tosin Adeyeye, stated she began working on the manufacturing centre about one week in the past, including that she has been paid in response to the variety of work she did.

“It helped us this season. If not for the facemasks we are actually stitching for the state authorities, we’d have been hungry.”

Flagging off the distribution of the primary 500,000 masks produced by the tailors, Governor Akeredolu stated the initiative of large manufacturing and distribution of the masks was borne out of his need to all the time put the individuals first in dealings and emotions.

Governor Akeredolu stated the engagement of 400 tailors throughout the state was meant to generate earnings for them to cushion the impact of the lockdown brought on by COVID-19.

Akeredolu stated: “Our tailors engaged on the manufacturing processes are completely satisfied. They’re completely satisfied not as a result of there’s COVID-19 however having the chance to exhibit their skills, studying new abilities and with the ability to generate earnings to cushion the results of the pandemic on their livelihood.

“In the midst of the manufacturing of those nostril masks over 400 tailors have been engaged who’re working around the clock to make sure that we meet our goal for our teeming populace.

“Sporting of nostril masks in public locations is necessary for each resident within the state. The enforcement has already commenced.

“It’s important for me to tell the general public that whoever is arrested for not sporting the nostril masks can be saved within the isolation centre for 14 days and have his specimen taken to be examined for the virus. Such particular person can be answerable for his or her repairs on the centre.”

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