Ian Omondi and Brian Ongwenyi: The Two Architects Who Ditched Profession For Tailoring

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Ian Omondi and Brian Ongwenyi: The Two Architects Who Ditched Profession For Tailoring
Taisere designs co-founder Brian Matthews Ongwenyi Image/NMG

By Kimani Kuria 

Ian Omondi and Brian Ongwenyi are the founders of Taisere Designs, a fashion design company that is not only keen on quality but convenience for their customers by doing house or office calls. According to the company’s description, Taisere designs provide a wide range of custom tailored apparels that conform to the distinct needs of each and every single customer. Taisere Designs boasts a wide catalog of fabrics that are hand selected by an experienced team of designers to ensure that only the finest patterns are delivered to their customers. They have employed three tailors who help with the workload, and two designers at their Nairobi workshop.

Here is their business journey as told by WoK.

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Architectures to Fashionistas

Architecture and fashion have proven inseparable for many decades and the two fields have always been tightly knitted. Both fields originate from the same roots of creativity and art- While architecture is an inhabitable art, fashion is a wearable art. Architects and fashion designers share the same work principles, balance and geometry, to create form, design lines and structure. 

Also Read: Brian Kisimba: The Nairobi Based Tailor Who Charges Sh350,000 For A Suit

Ian and Brian are keen observers of trends in design, following closely in the footsteps of Tom Ford and Pierre Cardin, two global icons who studied architecture before venturing into fashion design. Both Ian and Brian are trained architects who found a passion-driven niche in the fashion industry where they express and practice creative design skills.

Taisere’s unique Business Model

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

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Taisere Designs is not your average tailoring shop but a well run business that has taken a different approach in service delivery to their clients. Their company tailors suits with a value proposition of convenience. Their clients do not necessarily have to visit their shop for measurement but instead, Taisere sends their experienced team to their prospective clients’ homes or offices for the same bearing a wide spoil of quality fabric options for their clients to choose from on-site .

These customer centric and preferential services assure more accessibility than what many designer shops in the capital are offering making Taisere a favorite among Nairobians and clients from all over the region. To add on that, these designers deliver the suits as soon as they are ready.

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One of the founders says, “You do not have to come to our workshop. You only have to state your location and we will be at our doorstep with fabric samples and our tape measure to get your right size. We also show them design samples. This gives clients a better fitting and more unique style, it has made our products more size-inclusive.” 

The journey to a successful business venture

Taisere was formed while the duo was still pursuing a degree in architecture at the University of Nairobi as a part time job. Ian and Brian would suit up for their class sessions and this could never go unnoticed in the populous campus. It is through this that the two started building a client base before graduating in 2018. 

Brain is quoted saying, “We realized we had a passion for it while still in school and decided to try it. We would first create the designs and take them to our tailor. Our friends liked how we looked and started requesting suits at a fee.”

As the business started booming, the duo formalized the partnership and bought a sewing machine that cost KSh 45,000 from the profits that they plowed back.

“It was costly then, but since we were two people passionate about anything to do with design, we took the risk,” said Brian.

In what started as a students’ venture,  Taisere now serves a large client base mainly celebrities attending gala events, corporate world and designing for weddings.

Also Read: Michael Muthiga: How Faiba Ad Creator Started A Multi-Million Business From His Bedroom

Taisere suits order turnaround time and success drivers

In a conversation with the Business Daily, Brian confirmed that it takes them approximately a working week to complete a suit, highlighting their keen eye on the finish to match the standards of globally renowned designers. He said, “What has made our clothes popular is the smooth finishing and could easily be mistaken for suits made by master tailors.”

He was also quoted crediting their popularity to the unique quality fabric they use for each suit depending on the client’s preference saying that they use 100 percent woollen fabric such as Jacquard, which has great prints suitable for ceremonial events.

How much? – Taisere suits pricing

The designer suits prices range from KSh8,000 to KSh15,000 for the lower-priced fabric and designs. Their main clientele suits range from KSh30,000 to KSh40,000.

Taisere’s promise is value for the money and quality work as Brian further stated, “We would like to bridge the gap between affordable and expensive suits. Someone can get a suit similar to one valued at Sh200,000 in designer shops for half or even quarter the price.”

Also Read: Ann Catherine Njuhi: The 23-Year-Old Who Won Sh1 Million in KBL Logo Design Competition

Business success advice from the entrepreneurs

Tailoring and fashion design is a re-emerging industry and the two have succeeded through creativity and taking informed risks. Even as fashion stars, the two can comfortably freelance as architects whenever they get clients. 

Brian encourages the youth to strive for their own hand-earned money and to go for their passion saying, “Just pursue what you love, you never know. It feels good to earn from something you made with your own hands” .

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