“The drip is forever,” is for anyone with even the slightest interest in fashion and style, perhaps the most accurate justification for – forgive another internet phrase, “showing up and showing out.” A few years ago it was laughable that people planned their outfits a month prior to social events. Today it is in fact a norm. Designers and clothes vendors make a killing for award events. Because with the rise of the very visual social media platform that is Instagram, coupled with the virality of event hashtags, to not slay or drip at ‘Blankets and Wine’ or the ‘Abryanz Fashion Awards’ is tantamount to social cremation. Thankfully, there are fairly great clothes on the Ugandan market for everybody, regardless of their budget. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to select which clothes for what event, let alone the time to go looking.
This gap is what one young womxn sets out to fill. Elizabeth Atai of the Unique Liz lifestyle creative solutions has, through the oldest service marketing trick in the book, created a network of clients in the young working womxn in Kampala. She shops for and styles one person, they love how they look, then refer her to the next friend.
Elizabeth does her homework too. My first interaction with her as a client was through a phone call suggesting that she had found some clothes I might like and wanted me to take a look.I, of course, pride myself in my ability to be able to choose my clothes. I have a heightened sense of self style too, so naturally I was skeptical. But Elizabeth who follows me on Instagram had familiarized herself with my sense of style, knowing exactly what I would pay for. And pay, I did – for clothes of my liking that were delivered to me at my house. This is probably how she got the client in me and others. Convenience, satisfaction; and what is keeping many of us from living our best lives – the cost. By shopping in wholesale and allowing her clients to make deposit payments, she is able to allay the pressure on the client that comes with lump sum expenses; while also keeping her business afloat.
The average womxn working in Kampala probably pays rent, utilities and spends on transport to and from work. They also like to dress well and be stylish. Except, with not enough zeros on their monthly cheque to shop in high end specialized retail stores, the fair price shops downtown, access of which requires canvassing through the more crowded and noisy part of the city, is/becomes the most viable option. Atai takes on the task of time and attention, to get you that which you need. This, for not just one or two, but many people, sounds like quite the daunting task. I asked her how she handles it.
Atai thinks that any personal shopper must first and foremost have the gift of an eye for detail – which she does. She admits though, that experience has boosted her ability to identify and ultimately fulfill her clients’ needs. “Part of that process involves having a prior physical meeting to assess their frame, listening to their preferences…” she says. But Instagram is how she got me. So when I ask if she does a little bit of client “stalking” on the social media site, I get a quick “Yes!” For Unique Liz, it is a source of market research where she gets to profile a client and get their style right.
Elizabeth held her first ever clothes sale back in March and many turned up and went by all the tables, paying for their discounted best picks. Why she held a clothes sale? “I set out to do 2 things with the Unique Liz brand this year: appreciate my clients and also give back to the community.” Half of the proceeds from this sale went to the 40 days over 40 smiles charity’s children’s literacy program.
Unique Liz can be contacted here: 0781893310 on mobile, 0793892777 for WhatsApp, and @UniqueLiz5 on Twitter.