Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Hello peeps, hope you are having a fabulous week thus far. Today I would like to bring to you my first fashion brand analysis. I hope it is insightful and I also hope that this blog can become a reference point to all those fashion brands cropping up everyday in the African fashion industry. A lot has to be done on the branding and marketing of these labels and first and foremost they need to be considered as a business in order for these designers to invest the time and money in developping a branding and marketing strategy for growth purpose.

Please read and I do appreciate feedbacks!

The brand I am going to look at today is Jewel by Lisa. This brand has not been going for that long but within this period it has managed to penetrate and position itself into the minds of fashionistas in Nigeria, South Africa, UK, US, in short - worldwide!!
Brand Bio:
Created in 2005, Jewel by Lisa is a luxury fashion brand with a strong clientele that creates lifelong treasures encouraging its clients to wear over and over again.

Their goal is to cater to the Nigerian market, creating desirable, one-of-a kind luxury pieces while establishing itself as an international label.

It remains one of the true brands that people respect for re-inventing Ankara textiles into covetable pieces.

Designer Bio:
In 2005 Lisa Folawiyo a law graduate from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; with no formal fashion education and her team of expert craftsmen stormed onto the Nigerian fashion scene with Jewel by Lisa.

Brand Personality:
“International Chic”

Brand Target:
The woman who wears Jewel by Lisa can be described as “a stylish, confident, city chic woman with a wardrobe filled with desirable eclectic pieces picked up from her travels; her youthful exuberance speaks effortless and unrehearsed style. She also understands fashion. (According to Lisa Folawiyo).

Brand Image:
One of a kind pieces - luxury
Intricate workmanship – quality
Handcrafted - luxury

How does Jewel by Lisa add Value?
By associating itself with many renowned international urban and mainstream stars as mentioned below. With the buying public striving hard to emulate what their adored celebrities are wearing or buying, it is evident that celebrity endorsement certainly adds value to a brand. However, the brand has to carefully vet the celebrities who are seen in their items so as to not lower the brand reputation.

Taking part in the debut Arise Africa Fashion Week in South Africa, New York Fashion Week as well as an exhibition at Paris Fashion Week, also adds value to the brand as the target demographic for the magazine and shows are women who are interested in high end fashion (and usually have the income to go with it!).

The main headquarters being situated at Ribadu Street, Lagos, which seems to be an affluent area with offices, swanky restaurants and private hospitals, adds value to the brand as the rather exclusive nature of the area sits perfectly with the branding of the label as one which is exclusive but yet affordable and attainable.

Competitive Advantage:
Brands create competitive advantage by perceiving or discovering new and better ways to compete in an industry and bringing them to the market. Thus a brand’s relative position within an industry is given by its choice of competitive advantage (cost leadership vs. differentiation) and its choice of competitive scope. Competitive scope distinguishes between brands targeting broad industry segments and those focusing on a narrow segment.

Fashion brands rely heavily on using their image to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Differentiation Strategy:
How is JBL thus using its brand’s image to differ itself from its competitors?

In the African fashion market, what is truly lacking with most of the brands is the perceived uniqueness existing in mainstream that allows one label to differ itself from another.

For the haute couture connoisseurs, it is very easy for example for them to tell a Chanel fashion piece from a Prada piece.


In my opinion, the amount of years these labels have been in existence has enabled them to totally carve a niche for themselves in the market. Chanel was founded in 1922 and has been going strong since with Karl Lagerfeld at the helm appointed since 1983. Prada on the other hand too was founded in 1913 with Miuccia Prada as the head designer since 1978. The continuity of both brands’ image has been kept through and the brand philosophy continues to run through the way the business is developped.

In the African fashion market, the brand differentiation is debatable however some of the existing brands are taking notice and are looking for ways to bring out this differentiation. It is now easy to tell a Christie Brown piece from an Eki Orleans for example.

JBL have also followed suit in creating a unique selling point for their brand. The team have taken to producing their own fabric which definitely gives the brand perceived uniqueness and creates a competitive advantage within the industry.

Product design:
The quality and upmarket fabrics used in creating Jewel by Lisa pieces puts emphasis on the brand’s desire to set itself apart from the rest and become a luxury yet affordable brand.

Within six years Lisa has perfected the art of turning Ankara into a coveted luxury wear through the embellishment of the fabric with sequins, Swarovski crystals, and beads.

This labour intensive production (it apparently takes up to 120 hours to make one JBL piece!) and only use of high quality embellishments demonstrates the label’s continuous strife to not compromise itself but to uphold the quality and luxury attributed to the brand.

Celebrity Endorsement:
A favourite of celebrities including E! News correspondent Catt Sadler, Beyoncé, Kelis, Eve, Solange Knowles, Tasha Smith, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kendall Jenner and Nneka. Also top fashion models including Freha Beja Erichsen, Liya Kebede, Alek Wek, and Oluchi have also been seen wearing Jewel by Lisa’s pieces.

Advertising and promotion:
The main tool used to inform the public about the existence of a product or service is by advertising and promotion. In 2010 alone, more than USD 500,000,000 was spent on advertising worldwide. However, I wonder how much this figure relates to Africa and especially the African fashion industry.

As such, advertising can therefore be defined as a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products or services with the desired result being to drive consumer behaviour.

Various traditional media include mass media such as newspaper, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising (bill boards) and direct marketing. New media refers to online and text messages.

What Methods of Advertising and Promotion does JBL employ?
The advertising method widely used to put the JBL brand image out there has been through the use of online mediums such as the social mediums (Twitter, Facebook) – the most cost effective and direct marketing strategy of the moment, blogs (One Nigerian Boy, Africa Style Daily, Style House Files) and online magazines (Ladybrille, Bella Naija, Haute Fashion Africa) – all these are very popular instruments within the Nigerian (African) entertainment and fashion industry.

It is no doubt that the JBL camp have more than clocked on the importance of and the viral nature of the world wide web in keeping their brand constant in the minds of their target market and in reaching and making contacts with new territories and markets. As Lisa commented, Jewel by Lisa’s goal is to cater to the Nigerian market whilst establishing itself as an international brand. Being ‘seen’ within the popular Nigerian blogs for example enables JBL to be on the right path to meeting its primary goal.

Using these mediums as well as creating its own branded short films such as “Life as a Jewelete”, featuring in high quality fashion events such as New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, appearing in African publications such as Arise, Fab, True Love, ThisDay Style, Genevieve, Marie Claire(SA), Glamour (SA) coupled with features in a North American publication “IN New York magazine” and New York Post (when you talk fashion, you talk New York!), featuring on the new BBC online's "African Dream" series as well as appearing in the very popular Studio 53 showcased across Africa and the world over enables JBL to fulfil its primary goal of amassing a following within the Nigerian market while at the same time slowly establishing itself as a luxury international brand.

What other means of advertising and promotion could they employ?
What seems to be lacking again within the African fashion and beauty market is the lack of branded adverts and product placements. Whilst some brands are making the effort to look for alternative ways to reach their target markets and expose themselves, most are still doing nothing and/or are relying heavily on word of mouth or only social networking sites. Whilst this is great, it is definitely  not the only way to go.

Some suggestions which could be suitable for JBL’s image are as per below.
  • Television advertising (branded short videos are shown on tv). If JBL is not already doing so maybe this could be their biggest form of promotion for the brand. If they started airing in Nigeria and then slowly moving the advert to other strategic parts of Africa such as South Africa, Ghana, North Africa and then slowly to the Middle East and then Europe (UK, France, Netherlands, Italy – areas with large African populations).
  • Infomercials – a long format television commercial typically 5 minutes or longer could be used to promote a new collection for example. The main objective in this would be to create an impulse purchase, so that the consumer sees the presentation and then can immediately buy the product through the company website maybe. This could also work well during a JBL sale.
  • Product placements – when a product or brand is embedded in entertainment and media. What JBL could do here is target some of the leading Nollywood actresses with a great reputation such as Omotola Jalade Ekeinde or Genevieve Nnaiji and dress them up (or provide some outfits) in big budget films for example Ije and Mirror Boy. JBL could also have the stars wear their accessories or have the film set decorated with some JBL soft furnishings such as their scented candles for example.
  • Billboard & Mobile Board advertising – many mainstream brands are using these to ensure they target as many people as they can. JBL could also use billboards located in an area(s) that covers their target market in Nigeria to advertise their brand. They could also use appropriate intercity buses to plug especially their J Label products which targets the poppy crowd.
  • Celebrity branding – this type of advertising focuses upon using celebrity power, fame and popularity to gain recognition for their products. The brand specifically pays the celebrity to be seen in their product(s). In this case, the right celebrity has to be vetted to ensure that they are in keeping with the primary focus of the brand. Using rising Nollywood stars, Genevieve Nnaiji or Stephanie Okereke could be ideal. For an international star, using Solange Knowles, Kim Kardashian or maybe Julia Restoin Roitfeld, could catapult the brand to another level!
At this brand's stage, the team now need to ensure that there is a greater focus on the advertising and promotion of the brand. By increasing its advertising and promotion mediums, Jewel by Lisa will definitely reap the benefits and differentiate itself from its competitors however I fully understand that funding/financial investment within African fashion brands remains one of the biggest obstacles.

Nevertheless, like with any business start up it is essential that the business owner projects its total running costs within a certain period and raises that amount or has a way to raise that amount before releasing the business to the public. Most African fashion brands throw the brand out there without having a real business focus or a realistic business plan.

Making funds available, finding investors who can inject more finance into the brand to enable them grow the brand should also be on the top of JBL's marketing list.

Product distribution is one of the four elements of the marketing mix. It is the organisation or a set of organisations (go-betweens) involved in the process of making a product available for use by a consumer.

The other three big P’s being product, pricing and promotion (to be discussed at a latter post).

Distribution is a very important component of Logistics and Supply chain management. It refers to the distribution of a good from one business onto another. It is defined as a chain of intermediaries; each passing the product down the chain to the next organisation before it finally reaches the end user or consumer. Each of the elements in these chains will have their own specific needs, which the producer must take into account, along with those of the important end user.

What is JBL’s Marketing and Distribution Channels?
The brand seems to have gone with the typical pattern of “Selective distribution” suitable especially with fashion products. This is where suitable retailers are selected to stock their product as well as items from other competitors.

Resellers currently stocking Jewel by Lisa products are:-

  • Curve – high end multi clothing boutique located in Los Angeles. It also stocks labels including DVF and Jennifer Lopez has been seen shopping there.
  • Zainab – thought to be the best kept secret in Los Angeles according to Stocks clothing and accessories by African designers including Azzedine Alaia.
  • African Mosaique – located in Jo’burg and founded by former Ethiopian model Anne Getaneh.
  • Eves Apple – an online retailer that also stock DVF, Halston etc
  • My Asho – an online store that stocks a wide range of clothing and accessories by African designers.
  • Temple Muse – located on the affluent Victoria Island in Lagos. A rather exclusive store that stocks other high end African and mainstream fashion labels.
For a brand that has been in existence for only 6 years, it is evident that Jewel by Lisa’s marketing channels are enabling the brand to slowly move into different market territories, creating a presence within that market, connecting with fashion followers and slowly building up a reputation and market share within that fashion market.

The importance of a functional website to any business is paramount. It serves as a first point of contact between your brand and potential customers. It advises (about brand), connects (contacts), displays (products – collections) and informs (events/press).

The label’s new look website depicting their autumn/winter 2011 collection completely befits its target image. Millen Magese, the Tanzanian model who is currently the face of the brand is also a perfect fit however her popularity within the target consumers’ minds isn’t as high as models such as Alek Wek, Oluchi and Liya Kebede.
The website is clean and carefully designed to ensure that the surfing experience is enjoyable and easy. Well done team JBL!!

Product Expansion:
J Label:
The J Label is a strong combination of urban cool, afro-pop, and cutting edge beautifully crafted clothes. It is affordable luxury at its best, according to Lisa.

J Label line is inspired by colour, print, pattern, lines and shapes all to bring about a fusion of African and Western fashion, which the typical JBL’s woman can relate to.

The label has realised the potential of also catering to another segment of their target market. Urban cool, afro pop, affordable fashion relates to the younger tier of the market ages 18-25.

Recently, the label has widened its business opportunities by producing its own fabrics ranging from Velvet, Crepe Silk, Satin, Chiffon, Shantung and Linen.

JBL has also ventured into making jewelled accessories such as belts, necklaces, and clutches as well as soft furnishings including scented candles.

Some pictures from the new collection fronted by Millen as below.

Their Arise press coverages.

So, there goes my analysis of the JBL brand. They are doing a lot of things right and with a greater focus on developping advertising and promotion campaigns/strategies, the sky is not even their limit! Their product expansion also shows great initiative of not focusing only on one market segment.
Overall, I am well impressed, well done team JBL!

Please do not forget to leave your feedback below or email me at
Follow me on twitter @brownschuga.
(All pictures from JBL website

Stay fashonionable


Shadders said...

JBL in my humble opinion is on her way to success and I believe she is here to stay. I describe her collections as "INNOVATIVE"

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece. great analysis. We all designers have to learn from this. but i can tell you there is alot that meets the eyes on this journey. one needs to be highly connected in this industry to make a major difference and also one has to have the right financing. I am taking my pen and paper and taking my tips. . great job Cynthia. We r together Kibs

Cheryl Summers said...

A professionally crafted logo design price is one of the greatest blessings for a company; whether it is big or small. It gives them an identity of their own and makes them different from others.

Jacqueline said...

Loving this piece how you have truly analysed the brand by breaking it down into various areas. The use of the 4P's and its marketing position really helps to show where the brand sits internationally too.

More SWOT and PESTLE style analysis and brand comparisons will really bring this investigation alive even more!

It would be equally interesting to highlight the competitors of the brand and to go even deeper especially into the role of African consumers OF African brands what they think and how they shop to. Something that I am underlooking for Africa Fashion Guide and would love your thoughts as it is a very deep area to research investigate and consider.

Am looking forward to seeing the other brands you will look into seeing those especially in other parts of Africa too to be able to compare the differences in regards to location in the continent.

Greay piece!

Director - Africa Fashion Guide

Neks said...

Wow! Really interesting analysis. JBL is truly a brand to be reckoned with and have done very well from the inception. It's great that you've highlighted other important medium of advertising. It's true that most rely on word of mouth and social networking sites, as that is the easiest way to get the word out. I believe as the fashion industry develops in Africa and in Nigeria, fashion brands will begin to recognize more diverse ways of advertising. It will also be very interesting to highlight the financial performance and the statistics in revenue generation of the JBL Brand and .

All in all, a very good read indeed!


Mazuba said...

I love this! The site is great and a breath of fresh air in a world where a lot of african designers are "missing the mark" ie having annoying music on their websites , having items always "out of stock" , not responding to customer queries in a timely fashion or in many cases not responding at all.I also love how they came up with the J label as she is able to serve different customers with different price ranges .Diffusion lines are definitely the way to go .

I think you should have also mentioned the influence of fashion blog sites and how they could use those for PR by dressing bloggers .

I also think they should have somewhere on the site where real customers could post pics of themselves in the label just for more interactive touch.

With that said ,my bridesmaids at my future wedding will be wearing JBL :)

amhash said...

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