“Never give up, the road will be tough and rough but stick to it. As long as you believe in what you are doing..” – Funmi Lawal
Today we feature Funmi Lawal, the founder at Clip-Knix. We hear their story in their own words, their successes, their challenges and their insights.
Great to meet with you. Can you please tell me a little bit about you and your background?
I am Funmi Lawal an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder at Clip-Knix. I design and sell adaptive patented Front Fastening Underwear for women.
My background in becoming the founder at Clip-Knix, started from my education. I was born in Camden, London, UK and at the age of three years, my parents relocated to Nigeria. I studied Economics in Nigeria and returned to the UK at the age of 19. I studied an MSc in management of Information Systems (ADMIS) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
I gained Prince2 practitioner in 2005 and have worked in Civil Service (UK) for many years. I also have vast experience working in three continents, namely, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
A great introduction and start to this interview. Can you please tell us, how did you start, from what age, and what made you decide to change direction and start?
After graduating at 19, I returned to the U.K. and the first job I got was early morning cleaning at Liberty store in the west end . After several manual jobs, I got a job at the Ministry of Education. I later joined public Trust office where I worked till I relocated to Dubai as my husband was employed by a university in Sharjah.
I returned from Dubai to have my baby in the U.K. in 2002. Suddenly and unexpectedly I had a stroke , preeclampsia that plagued me with the first pregnancy, I was faced with a future that required me to manage my own limited mobility.
What I didn’t immediately know was that the second bout of preeclampsia would have a long lasting impact on my future health. After 35 years of independence, I was in a wheelchair. I couldn’t walk, bending down was painful and putting on underwear felt like a battle. Every. Single. Day. The difficulties that I encountered when getting dressed started me thinking about possible solutions to make living more simple.
There was nothing in the market up till now. From my experience with mobility In 2002, when suddenly and unexpectedly faced with a future that required me to manage my own limited mobility. From this seed, Clip-Knix was born. I became a founder.
As a result of my experiences, I created Clip-Knix. To me it is not just a business enterprise, it is my passion for wanting to help others as I have suffered the same in life.
I aim to see many people live independent lives as much as possible and positively. The consequential application that arose from the product, such as camping, hiking, pregnant women, bedroom antics was not primarily why it was initiated but the initial reason was to help people with limited mobility.
Thank you, this is very inpsiring to turn your own experience into a business. Can you tell us more about Clip-Knix?
Clip-Knix focuses on designing and manufacturing practical yet fashionable underwear solution for women that negate the need to bend or stretch when dressing.
Our patent design and relentlessly reseacrh and development results in underwear that is practical yet fashionable and can be fastened in the front without the need for bending or turning sideways.
Our Clip-Knix range revolutionises the lives of many people by:
Offering stylish underwear that is easy to use
Reducing the risk of injury
Our standard range is from organic cotton. Our traditional and classic ranges are made from stylish lace materials. We have the traditional and classic which are both laces. It is available in 3 colours, white, black and cream and sizes 8 – 26.
We currently have a presence on all social media. Our product has been granted a patent, as it is the first in the world, we are marketing it all over world. For starters , Clip-Knix is available on Amazon in Europe, North America and the Middle East. We are also in Australia.
What’s the story behind your success? What led to your aha moment? how did you get to where you are now?
We are currently doing well, but it wasn’t easy to get started. I didn’t have anything as security, however, NATWEST took a risk on me because they believed in the product.
My first production was in China, it took me a year to approve, nevertheless, the wrong ridge was used. On my first order was disposed of. Hence I moved to manufacture to turkey, which was more expensive but the quality and the workmanship was excellent.
All in all, it is not for the faint-hearted, as a founder, there are nights you can’t sleep, cry and are generally fed up and you just want to give up. I believe in the product so much, that passion keeps me going.
Thank you for sharing that. What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
I hired a marketing company, then I was told that production has been delayed. I called them to tell them that they should stop the marketing and I will inform them when to restart. They were not cheap at all, so you can imagine, I was trying to save money. The lady convinced me that they needed to start before the product arrived. Not knowing, it was all a way of getting more money, not in the interest of the company and not in the interest of marketing. They went on for 6 months and I had to stop their services because they were so inefficient and unreliable. What have I learnt is, that
- Most of the marketing can be done by me at that stage and I didn’t need to outsource it
- I didn’t need to pay that much for marketing
- Most of the things I paid for in the early stages, was a waste as I figured them out later
- I can just sit by youtube and I learn anything and everything
Don’t pay for services unnecessarily when you are starting out and if you have to pay, it must not be too expensive.
If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t let the situation determine your dream of being an entrepreneur, if you have a dream and a passion for the services that you offer or a product, don’t wait.
If I had started earlier not necessarily with Clip-Knix, I would have progressed much more than these.
All the while I was applying for jobs and getting rejected I should have started a business. I never knew I had an entrepreneurial streak in me. If it fails, it fails, so, you get up, pick yourself up and begin again
We’re nearly halfway through our interview so it’s a great time to ask how does your business run. What three tools make your business run better?
My website is an invaluable asset for the company. I have accounts, a fulfilment company, a lady who does my social media. Another lady is in charge of Amazon.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before?
Don’t pay for services unnecessarily and if you have to pay, it must not be too expensive.
What has been your greatest or proudest achievement or moment?
When I received an award from corporate wire prestige award for speciality clothing 2020/2021
What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
It is still a long road, with the business you should always looking to grow. The brand is not yet a household name, there are milestones yet to achieved.
To finish our inspire questions…”We believe that sharing inspiring words can inspire others.” If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
Never give up, the road will be tough and rough but stick to it. As long as you believe in what you are doing.
“Thank you it has been great learning more about your founder story and Clip-Knix”
To learn more about Clip-Knix Visit https://www.clip-knix.biz/
Inspired by this story? Please share this story and other founder stories.
For more inspiring founders stories check out Founder Stories.