Terrance sambo Vs L’espace vs wana sambo

Terrance sambo Vs L’espace vs wana sambo
ByMillicent Arebun

Terrence Sambo of OneNigeriaBoy.com a stylist, consultant,blogger, and fashion journalist, last week let off steam and engaged the L’espaceteam on twitter about his peeve with the way the business of fashion was been handled by fashion concession store L’eSpace.  He expressed his displeasure about thestipulated  terms which  the designers who stock their items with thestore  must operate under and in one ofhis twitter rants said ‘it seems to me that the store is trying to run thedesigners bankrupt’. This and more of his tweets prompted the L’espace peopleto issue a press release airing their views on the subject and terminating thecontract of a designer Wana Sambo who incidentally is Terrence sister. Thishas lead to more back and froth parley between the key actors which areTerrance Sambo, the Le’space team and now Wana Sambo!

The question on everyone lips right now is; are the L’espace teamtruly running a business that is arbitrary and unfavourable to the designers, especially as theirs, is supposed to be an incubator which in actuality is supposed tohelp budding designers grow their fashion label to independence? Is the 20percent commission taken out of the sales reasonable after paying about 19500 naira for monthly rent all things inclusive? Were they professional in their reactionand dealings with the blogger and his designer sister? Was the designer withinhis rights to tweet his displeasure? Was the gay knight comment warranted? Allthese and many more, are just a few questions that springs to mind but the mostdamning of all is the lack of a governing body that is set up to protect therights, interest and designs of both the designers and the store concessionowners.  Perhaps it is time the fashionindustry in Nigeria really grew to have standard established institutions thatwill protect it from itself; for uncontrolled expansion or bloom is merely afertile field waiting for anyone to take advantage of.  See press releases of both L’espace and WanaSambo below.

Official statement from the L’espace team.
“Addressing the various allegations and claims made byTerence Sambo of @OneNigerianBoy tonight, the L’Espace team is simultaneouslyshocked and saddened to hear that anyone feels this way and we assume this isbased on a recent miscommunication with his designer sister of WSClothing Co.First off, we’d like to clear up a few things. On bearing zero risk – Millionsof naira in initial investment is very far from being zero risk. Anyone whoruns an SME in this particularly hostile environment, would beg to differ, andperhaps even take offence at this cavalier attitude towards the risk anyentrepreneur takes. And ironically, the commission actually gives us MORE of anonus to sell, simply because if we don’t sell. We make nothing. The fee as is,is nominal at best. On stock – We require SIX pieces minimum. Whatever thedesigner decides to do upward of that is his/her decision. And to be precise, thestore is 670 sqm in total. Abuse is a very strong term and as one of the coreL’Espace team is a designer herself, we find it irresponsible that this word(which conjures up images of slavery and child labour) is being used in thiscontext at all. On ‘ridiculous demands’ ….. At every point we try to involveour vendors in the process and attempt to be as flexible as we can. The rate weare asking plus commission is paltry and whilst it might seem monumental atfirst, designers NEED to break out of the cycle of ‘spend the cash flow’ andliving from order to order. Until you can produce and distribute at a certainlevel you will NEVER grow. On wannabe stylists …. It is clearly communicated todesigners when their stuff is being used for an outside shoot or pulled by anoutside stylist. However, when it is used for in-house content creation weassume notice is not necessary unless otherwise stated, simply because we arealready liable for damage etc by default. For the record, we have worked withmany ‘non-wannabe’ stylists Veronica Ebie-Odeka of Vane Style, BolajiAnimashaun, Lucy Love and Funmi SMD to name a few. On the following tweet mostirritated by is dat they’re running d biz like dem guys in suits. Dere shldmore soul since one of d owners is a designer 2 we will not be commentingbecause we feel it is unprofessional and the opinion of the blogger/tweeter,however misguided, is his own. In general … L’Espace is a 3 month old businesswith huge running costs. The initial business idea was based on the premisethat most young, up and coming designers cannot afford the high rent andmaintenance costs of a space like ours, hence the cooperative competitionmodel. Unfortunately, should a designer be unable to cover the 50k+ sum pluscommission, that is an indication that perhaps, the business is not quite readyto go past the incubator stage yet. Lastly, we are a growing business and tryour very best to find a business model that works for all parties and will helpour industry grow from where it really matters – commerce. We changed it alittle to be more accommodating and we have been pleased with the results sofar. We are understandably distraught that WSClothing Co will be leaving usmomentarily, we wish you the best of luck going forward.”

Wana Sambo reaction and official press release.
“On the 15th of Feb, 2012, Wana Sambo Clothing, a Womenwear brand, received an e-mail from L’espace, a multi-brand conceptstore/retail outlet located in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, inviting WanaSambo Clothing to retail at their store through a new revenue model they weretesting.
On the 22nd of February, an agreement was enteredstating Wana Sambo Clothing was to pay the following to be a part of L’espace:
a)     N50,000 as monthly rent
b)     N15,000 as monthly service charge
c)      Choose from either a 3 months or 6 monthsupfront payment option
Wana Sambo Clothing chose the 3months  upfront optionand paid the sum of N195,000 on the 1st of march, 2012.
Wana Sambo clothing started retailing at L’espace15th of March and on the 17th of March 2012, a sales report ending17th of March 2012 was sent to Wana Sambo Clothing with a total of salesfor that week.
By the 28th of March, Wana Sambo Clothing received a2nd sales report ending the 24th of march and it stated the amount ofsales made that week with a new term added to it: a 20% commission being takenoff sales.  Also attached to that e-mail was an amended version of thefirst invoice WSC received which now had the total sales plus a 20% commissiontaken off it.  This meant that a 20% commission would be deducted weekly.Once this e-mail was received, Wana Sambo contacted L’espace to query this newterm/development as this had never been stated in any of our written or verbalagreements and L’espace replied saying (a quote from the e-mail) “…the 20%commission was not included in the agreement because we are still testing thenew revenue model…” I asked them to put a hold to any payments into my bankaccount from sales until I get back into the country, as they were aware I wasaway for a period of time. L’espace replied me the next day with a contracttermination notice, making mention of their assumptions that One Nigerian Boy,a fashion blogger, who is also my brother, was sanctioned by my brand to launcha “guerilla attack” against them on twitter.
First of all, It was not stated by L’espace at any pointthat I would be paying a 20% WEEKLY commission on sales after my rent andservice charge had been paid in full. I run my studio at No 11 Augustine Anoziestreet, Lekki Phase 1, Nigeria, agreeing to retail at L’espace was a way ofgiving clientele another point of purchase and it seemed a smart way to pushfor the growth my business.
I would like to make clear that I, Wana Sambo of Wana SamboClothing can not influence the topic of Fashion Blogger(s) either as a sisteror as a designer in the Nigerian Fashion Industry. Terence Sambo of ONB is aFashion Blogger and he is within his rights to discuss whatever issuesconcerning/affecting the fashion industry as he pleases, I cannot ask him tonot do his job neither can I tell him how to do it. Mentioning the Wana Sambobrand in a press release about his tweets when he clearly made no mention ofWana Sambo Clothing as the source of his information, simply because he is mybrother was most unprofessional.
In reference to a portion of their press release, L’espaceattempted to slander the Wana Sambo brand, making all sorts of insinuationsabout the brand’s financial strength and moneys already paid to them.
L’espace publicly terminated our contract without facts andwithout giving notice based on the terms of the agreement by both parties. WanaSambo Clothing has upheld every part of the agreement and L’espace has no rightto terminate the contract. L’espace on the other hand has constantly violatedthe terms of the contract agreement by firstly taking a 20% commission from WSCsales without prior notice, secondly on the same day sending an e-mail saying“Your stock will be taken off the shop floor at 11am today” and “we are morethan happy to terminate.” (Please note that I received this e-mail after theyhad already issued out a press release.)
I sent L’espace an e-mail asking them to take down the pressrelease as it was wrongly aimed but they still have not up until now,30th March, 2012 at 1:53am. Wana Sambo Clothing has also not gotten areply to the e-mail sent to L’espace addressing this issue.
I am not trying to be a whistle blower but for the sake ofentrepreneurial spirit, I hope this issue can be settled more amicably as ithas already been blown out of proportion.”