[The Music Blog]: What Nigerian music entrepreneurs can learn from the failure of Sarkodie’s clothing line

Earlier this week, Ghanian tabloids broke news that Sark clothing, a clothing line owned by rapper, Sarkodie’s would be shutting down its operations permanently soon. According to reports, the store is currently offering 50-90% discounts on items sold, in a bid to clear all stocks ahead of an eventual closure.

Sarkodie had created Sark clothing in 2013 after partnering with fashion entrepreneur, YAS. Despite initial criticism from the Ghanaian public over the set price of items sold by the fashion outlet, the store ran operations for until now. Speculated causes for the closure include looming debts and low sales despite the co-sign from a major celebrity.

Sarkodie’s failure is indicative of a logical flaw in the thinking of celebrities who have entrepreneurial ventures. For merchandise sales to be effectively capitalised, artists must be willing to go on tours and perform concerts at locations where their merchandise can be sold. In other words, the artist must not be separated from the fashion designer. As we have seen with Kanye West’s, Yeezy Season clothing line showcase, if an artist makes clothes, it would be a smarter move to push the clothes through his music.

Even more important for marketplace-type ventures by artists, is the sustained connection with core fans. Sark’s clothing seem have been created with the good intent of spreading Sarkodie’s influence to fashion, which is basically an extension of the entertainment industry. Price set above the income level of his fanbase, however, alienates them from his cause. After all, if true fans don’t care, no one else possibly will.

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