The Senegalese have the feeling of the African costume. They put it on with happiness and elegance after ordering from several young people who have invested the sector. Today, with the interest and high demand, they hold the right end of the line and impose themselves as a boss size in their ambitions tailored, with social networks as backup. A slot machine in this context of crisis. But not only… At least, according to the national daily Le Soleil which investigated the subject.
Trade is the livelihood of many Senegalese. Ousseynou Samb has a decade of experience. He knocked on several doors, he was interested in several products.
« I even recycled and sold bags of onions, » he laughs, referring to his resourceful past. Today, traditional boubous, or African costumes, are one of his biggest markets.
In Thiaroye, not far from the Ter train station, the lanky 39-year-old displays a slew of packages. The store’s window showcases a tailor-made sewing of several categories of fabrics.
« Simple thread and Getzner thread are in vogue now, » he explains, referring to four boubous in various colors and patterns. He doesn’t sew, he exhibits and sells. It’s a collaboration that is forged with sewing professionals.
« This is my business. I buy fabrics from wholesalers in Pikine. Then the tailor takes care of the rest. There are standard sizes for ready-to-wear and custom-made seams for orders, » he adds in a loud voice.
Thus, for each suit sold, he ends up with a profit ranging between 5000 and 7000 FCfa. « I sell the suit for 20,000 CFA francs, so I get a profit of at least 5,000 CFA francs on each tunic, » he says.
In his store, located in Thiaroye-sur-Mer, are hung several outfits. Moustapha Samb is 39 years old and makes African costumes his business. And he gets by thanks to a consolidated clientele.
« I buy them at 20,000 CFA francs to resell them at 25,000 or 30,000 if it is on credit, » says the merchant installed in front of the Senelec.
Catalyst for entrepreneurship
In a context where the demand for employment is increasing year after year, entrepreneurship is in vogue. It carries the hope of many young Senegalese.
Momar is one of them. The young man has become an expert in suits thanks to his flair. He used to wear them and one day he decided to sell them.
« People always liked the clothes I wore. So I decided to go to Colobane, buy fabrics, design and hire tailors. It was in 2021 that I created my brand »Momar business », he says.
A year later, the project has taken off. He collaborates with several artists, including Waly Seck. « I often collaborate with personalities. No later than June 12, I dressed the orchestra of the singer Waly Seck, as well as that of Viviane, « he explains.
His transfer is thus validated. From expert in business plan and creation, he became a fashion actor.
In Castor, Ousseynou runs a ready-to-wear boutique. Its shelves are filled with African suits for men and women.
« The business is profitable because the outfits are convenient. When someone has an emergency, he has to buy immediately. The clientele is not lacking, » he reassures while holding a blue outfit.
It was a long journey that led him to this company. « I was in the money transfer business, then in hairdressing. And that’s how I decided to buy fabrics, sew them and resell them. The suits are sold between 20,000 and 60,000 depending on the quality of the fabrics. The profit varies between 12 000 and 20 000 FCfa. I admit that it is an interesting market. In normal times, we can sell between 15 and 25 suits in a single week. For the Korité or Tabaski period, the figure can be doubled or tripled, » says Ousseynou.
With the success of his entrepreneurial project, he has managed to create three permanent jobs. « We started with two boubous. And we are currently at more than a hundred. And the stock is constantly reinforced. In addition to the three permanent jobs, we work with deliverymen and several tailors, » adds the tall man.
Civil servants and private individuals are getting involved…
It is the market and the hope of many young entrepreneurs, but also a secondary activity for Ousmane Bodian. Working in a bank, the 39 year old man proposes it to his colleagues. It is to supplement his income through additional earnings.
« I spend 20,000 CFA francs for a boubou and I sell it for 35,000 CFA francs, payable in two instalments. These outfits are elegant and very popular with the Senegalese, » he says.
As a teacher, Moussa Niang does not limit himself to his monthly salary. In collaboration with tailors, he sews and sells about eight to ten outfits per month.
« It all started with a proposal from the tailor. And for over a year, we’ve been at it. We sell the outfits at 40,000 FCFA payable in two installments. And it works well. The profits are quite important. And we rely on the trust of our customers, most of whom are our colleagues, » says the teacher.
It is at the health post that Aïssatou Fall has made a clientele. As a nurse, she takes advantage of her free time to buy fabrics and make custom-made clothes. Eight months after her debut, she has no regrets.
« Business has always been a passion. So I can accompany it with any activity. African costumes are in fashion. I sell them for all sizes, between 25 000 and 40 000 FCfa. And it works well, » she says.
The tailors pedal to the metal
Usually, Tabaski and Korité are the best times for tailors, which often exposes them to a precarious period of the year.
Babacar Diouf can now count on the solicitations of shopkeepers. Currently, he collaborates with two structures.
« It is a partnership that we have established. I make them 25 to 30 African costumes each month, » he explains.
By doing so, he can earn more than 150,000 CFA francs. And in the future, he does not exclude opening his store and working for his own account.
Inside his workshop, located in Yarakh, Moussa Guissé is working hard. He is mobilized by the sewing of a blue bazin. In this period of Tabaski, he observes a break for African costumes.
« It is a profitable market that allows us to survive. For a made boubou, I earn between 8,000 and 12,000 FCfa. It’s a win-win partnership between tailors and traders, » he says.
At Dame Diop, it is also the rejoicing. According to him, this outfit very popular with the Senegalese is making people happy.
« It is fashionable and our customers have adopted it. It is high fashion that has nothing to envy that of other countries. Demand is high right now. And important jobs are created too, » he says, sitting in front of his electric machine.
If Abdoulaye Fall has explored and invested in this market, it is by passion for fashion. Imagining several designs, he decided to offer hand-embroidered African suits to his customers. And since then, he has not stopped increasing his investment.
« I design and sew the outfits myself before offering them to my customers. I have been working on this since 2020. It’s an advantageous market that does not take much time, » he says.
A boon for fabric sellers
You need fabric for a good outfit. The thread to thread is emulated. It is used to make African costumes.
In her store located in Poste Thiaroye, Fatou Kouyaté exhibits several qualities of fabrics. She has wax, bazin and simple or Getzner fabrics. These last two varieties, she points out, sell well.
« We import them from Turkey or China, but they are very popular now, » she says, sitting on a stool. According to her, prices vary between 1500 and 4000 FCfa per meter.
« There is something for everyone. It is not expensive and it is suitable for all types of climates, » she says.
Unlike her, Ndèye Ndiaye uses her good relations with the neighborhood to sell her products. After buying her supplies at the Thiaroye market, the 34 year old lady with a light complexion sells them to people she knows.
« I apply a profit margin of 500 FCFA per meter if the customer pays cash. If it’s on credit, we go up to 700, even 800 FCFA. With the sewing of African costumes, the business is doing well. And we are the essential link in the chain. So, we find our account there », she smiles in front of her home in front of the toll station of Thiaroye.
Ismaïla also has the right end of the line. Running a haberdashery, he sometimes engages in the trade of threaded fabric after having taken orders. Thus, he reaps a profit of 2,000 CFA francs on a four-meter package.
« It’s a great opportunity that we seize. This guarantees us at least additional income that we can reinvest elsewhere, » he says.
Social networks, the showcase!
To sell, you need a good marketing policy. Social networks are the ideal framework for many merchants.
Just type « African costumes in Dakar » to be convinced. The results are numerous, presenting skillfully made products, contacts and addresses.
Momar fears a saturation of the market that will reduce the profits of the players. « If everyone sells the same thing, who will buy?
This is also the observation of Ousseynou. According to him, traders of African costumes are increasing day by day. This can, in his opinion, contribute to the decline in income and impact the quality of products.
« Even if the supply is important, saturation can be a great risk for tailors, shopkeepers and traders, » he regrets. So, he stresses, the solution is to diversify or present something different.
« You have to innovate to compete. Otherwise, it may be complicated. Besides the traditional costumes, I offer shoes made here. And I am thinking about other projects, » confirms Ousseynou.