Business/Brand name SAPÉS COME JAMAIS (SCJ)
SAPÉS COME JAMAIS (French for “Swagger like never before”) is a London based urban street wear brand inspired by African culture, blended with contemporary fashion.
Founder Amadou Kassarate launched the brand in December 2020 after investing some savings and securing an initial Start Up Loan of £8000 earlier that year. The start up loan was used for the initial stock purchase, website and marketing costs.
Prior to setting up the business, Amadou was a professional footballer. He was motivated to set up the brand in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. “There is clear lack of representation in the African diaspora, along with injustice faced by black people. With my passion for fashion, I wanted to create something that can shine afro culture in a positive light as well as change the negative perception”.
The brand is sold via its ecommerce website and regular pop up shops. Their target customers are the Afro diaspora who identify as Afropolitans living in inner city urban, and 18-30 GenZs influenced by afro culture via music, sport, history and arts.
Despite the challenges of juggling running a business single handed and being let down by some suppliers, since launching the brand it has reached some notable milestones. The brand was featured on ITV news, took part in a pop up shop at BoxPark & selling out the stock, and was featured on the Experian entrepreneur challenge.
SCJ has also been worn by prominent celebrity supporters such as Premier league Footballer Cheikhou Kouyate, World Cruiser Champion Lawrence Okolie, BBC Rapper of the year Pa Salieu and African artist Afro b with 130 million views on his hit song Joanna.
Whilst around 45% sales are from UK customers, the brand has attracted an international customer base with around 30% sales coming from Africa and the balance from the EU & US. Digital marketing via Facebook, Instagram, Google & TikTok has been vital in generating online sales, but equally important has been the decision to sell via pop-up shops which apart from the sales made, has helped build brand loyalty and trust.
In order to capitalise on the initial success, further finance was needed so in April 21 Amadou successfully applied for a second start up loan to replenish stock and order the following season’s collection.
“Fashion Angel played a big part in helping me to launch SCJ CLOTHING. Although applying seemed initially challenging, the application process and pre-loan business support really help to open my eyes to areas of the business that I would have neglected such as forecasting for costs and building customer persona’s.
His advice for those starting out “Test the market first before investing too much in stock – it’s important to minimise your risk and find out what your customers like/dislike first”
Amadou’s ambition for the future is for SAPÉS COME JAMAIS to be the UK’s number one global Afro inspired street wear brand.
Follow his journey on www. https://sapescomejamaisclothing.com Instagram @ scj_clothing
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