Story by Nurudeen Salako
“I started my brand with technology (Facebook) before using other social media platforms. It has a big role to play and it cannot be underrated. I took a course on social media and got certified, so business is about understanding your audience and giving them what they want”
Entrepreneurship being a solution-driven activity is centered on providing and meeting people’s demand in goods and services. Omowunmi Adesuyi couldn’t ignored the golden exploit when she discovered the abundance of Aso-Oke fabrics in Ibadan for people at the popular Oje market.
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Speaking with EnterpriseCEO in an exclusive interview, the founder and Managing Director, Naija Fabric Hub, Omowunmi Adesuyi narrated her journey into Aso-Oke fabric business. She shared her aspirations, challenges and advised aspiring entrepreneurs with tips for business success.
According to Omowunmi, she said she saw that there was something lacking which she could provide to people that doesn’t know where to get their Aso-Oke fabrics, that was how the idea of Abeni (Her other name) Aso-Oke business idea was conceived.
Explaining how she started her fabric business in 2015, Abeni revealed that technology played significant role in the early stage of her business.
She said she opened a Facebook page to promote her brand which yielded positive result, and attracted local and overseas clients’ patronage for her business.
“When I started in 2015, it wasn’t a walk-in store. I started with the online space, Facebook to be precise. I was opportune to have customers from almost all the countries of the world that include Germany, United Kingdom, United State, France, Ireland”
She said it was strange for her to have people trusting her with their hard earned money without knowing her before, but ensured that they get value for their money.
“I got referrals from customers that were satisfied with my brand. I often learn from people who have been in the business for long and ask them questions. This has really helped me. Aside from getting monetary value from my clients, they also appreciate me with gifts. What this means is that I am doing something right”, she said.
Speaking about the business challenges, the English studied graduate identified economic instability in relation to foreign currency exchange as major challenge affecting the costing and pricing of materials and products, particularly imported fabrics.
She further mentioned business structuring, customers’ unpredictable attitude pattern and constant staff changing as part of other business challenges.
Commenting on fashion as a style enthusiast, Omowunmi stressed that fashion comes with confidence and it’s not attached to the expensive fabric being worn or priced, but an individual wear and style.
In her words, “It’s not about people recognizing you, it is about you feeling confident that you are looking good. When you come with such mindset, people will look at you twice. It’s not about the price it’s about how you wear your fabrics and how you carry yourself.’’
When asked how supportive has social media been to her business, she maintained that technology has been impactful and playing big role in her business.
“I started my brand with technology (Facebook) before using other social media platforms. Technology has a big role to play and it cannot be underrated. I took a course on social media and was certified, so it is about understanding the audience and giving them what they want to relate with sound engagement”
“Social media for business is not just posting pictures or goods or about having 20k followers and not the perfect audience zero engagement but giving them a good impression about the face behind the brand”, she added.
Omowunmi, who is more indigenous with her fashion fabrics, expressed her love for local made fashion fabrics compared to the foreign products.
She said, “I like to preach indigenous fashion products, things that we own and that’s why I like Nike Art Gallery and how she promotes African pride. I really don’t enjoy foreign fashion”
Unveiling her plans for Naija Fabric Hub in five-years’ time, the Obafemi Awolowo University’s graduate said she looks forward to expansion, having branches in Abuja, Ibadan and also having her plaza where she can have her fabrics, events decoration and groceries food well ready for business.
Omowunmi however advised young entrepreneurs to be diligent and determined in whatever they have chosen and urged them to see challenges as stepping stones.
“Their determination to make something out of life will make them scale through”
She also implores them to distinguish themselves from their business, as they are two entities, adding that accountability is key.
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