“You know you have the American Dream that Donald Trump says is dead. Well I think the African dream is living in Lagos."
By Moritz Boullenger
Today, Tania is shooting Tailored Business, her TV show, across 13 African countries. With Tailored Business, Tania wants to take you on her entrepreneurial journey. As she is tailoring successful businessmen’s suits, you will learn about those entrepreneurs’ stories.
“I have always been a storyteller. I was even published when I was seven.”
When you talk to Tania, you rapidly notice her talent for storytelling. During her childhood, she experienced strong contrasts in narratives between her Rwandan origins and the European environment she was living in. As she felt the need to share this experience, her passion for storytelling grew.
“As a teenager, I became curious about what it means to be African. I dwelled into it really strongly. I would share my stories and ended up having a radio show.”
Now, she writes for ELLE South Africa and will soon share her experience on TV. Her show will be broadcast in over 40 countries across Africa and Europe.
“Over time I realised that my clients became my friends, advisers, and mentors. I felt like this needs to be shared. I learned more from these entrepreneurs in the dressing room than I did in my 6 years at business school.”
To get a first impression of her series, watch the pilot below.
Tania never planned to work in the fashion industry. She wouldn’t even call herself a fashion entrepreneur.
“I would call myself a suit entrepreneur, I love suits.”
Tania learned to tailor suits as she was studying business in Milan, Italy. At the same time, she started working for Suitsupply, a Dutch suit brand. At the age of 23, she was responsible for the company’s expansion to Africa.
“I have seen guys coming. I wouldn’t lend them any money. But after I put them in a suit… You can have my house, my money. I trust you. Suits have a huge importance. A suit gives confidence.”
Starting from zero, she set up an online business delivering suits across Africa within 3 days. Two years later, she set up the brand’s first brick-and-mortar store in South Africa. This first entrepreneurial experience taught her about the continent’s opportunities. But it also opened her eyes to the many problems that still need to be solved.
“I jumped into it with the pink coloured glasses of the Africa rising narrative.”
When Suitsupply’s operations in Africa stopped, Tania decided to start her own business. She decided to combine her entrepreneurial DNA, her passion for storytelling, and her experience in the suit business. That’s how she came up with the concept of a TV show following her as she sets up her tailoring business.
“In each episode, I am tackling an entrepreneurial journey myself and you see me asking my clients for advice. So you have two different perspectives: an example and advice. The show is full of tips and tools.”
In her show, Tania will also do business in- and meet entrepreneurs from Nigeria.
“You know you have the American Dream that Donald Trump says is dead. Well I think the African dream is living in Lagos. When I arrive in Lagos there’s just this energy. You know I’m a hustler, and everybody in Lagos is ambitious and striving for something.”
It will be interesting to see whether Tania achieves to create a successful tailoring business. Her show promises to be entertaining and full of valuable entrepreneurial advice.
“If you are trying to be an entrepreneur, make sure you are doing it because you love what you want to be an entrepreneur in.”
The first episodes of Tailored Business will be broadcast on TV in February next year.