Côte d’Ivoire’s leading apparel factory is growing, in part thanks to vital, timely assistance from the U.S. Government as it expands capacity and hires unemployed youth, the Director of USAID West Africa learned during an August 24 visit to O’sey Collection’s factory.
“Osez O’sey!” [Dare, O’sey!] said Mr. Alex Deprez, encouraging employees at the factory in Abobe, outside the country’s commercial capital Abidjan. “You are doing a great job, and you must be proud of yourselves as you are contributing to build O’sey story.”
Founder and CEO Philippe Aka Kouame has evolved the brand’s maturity from a fashion boutique to an operational factory. With about 90 permanent and 200 temporary workers, eight shops around Abidjan and a production capacity of 1,200 to 1,500 pieces per month, the young entrepreneur now aims to diversify his offerings.
For the past two years, the Trade Hub has supported O’sey in reducing production costs and achieving international quality and environmental standards. O’sey’s expansion plan included a dormitory to reduce turnover and external experts to implement an efficient management and administrative system.
The Trade Hub’s consultant improved the factory layout, reducing time spent to produce a shirt from 23 to 14 minutes. The Trade Hub’s financial advisors helped O’sey change its status to a Limited Liability Company (LLC), enabling the company to benefit from duty-free advantages for equipment and buy material at lower costs. In August, Mr. Kouame made his first trip to the U.S. to exhibit at the largest American apparel trade show, Sourcing at Magic.
“We are now expanding our activities to align with the high-end international apparel market,” Mr. Kouame said.