I Would 500% advice Aspiringing Entrepreneur To delve in to fashion – CEO DressMeOutlet
HF Magazine recently sat down with Olatorera Oniru, the CEO of fashion online retail store Dressmeoutlet.com.
Torera dished on her passion as a fashion entreprenuer, her love for fashion, the ups and downs faced by budding business owners as well as her upcoming networking event Cocktails and Dresses, which she describes as the largest gathering of made in Africa event.
Read the inspiring interview below.
Please give us a brief insight into your background
I am currently Chief Executive at Dressmeoutlet.com, The Fashion Amazon of Africa, working to magnify and grow the African Fashion & Beauty industries. I love to speak publicly on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and technology driving Africa’s growth. I founded Nigeria’s foremost leadership program Top 100 Our Generation in 2007; a company that brought together and inspired many of today’s young leaders.
How old is DressMeOutlet?
Dressmeoutlet.com is almost a year old. We went live in January 2016 and had an official launch in May 2016.
We know many Nigerian business owners complain about the erratic power supply in Nigeria as one of the greatest challenges faced by business owners. Asides from this, what other major challenges have you faced in running a fashion business in Nigeria?
Yes the lack of stability with power supply is definitely a challenge that needs to be alleviated soonest. Other challenges may include setbacks with the local educational system in our attempt to recruit and hire the very best graduates. Also, relying on international companies for certain services given the significant hike in foreign currency exchange that we have witnessed this year.
Why did you decide to start with the e-commerce platform and not a physical boutique?
With my experience working for top companies globally, I’ve witnessed how much technology can contribute to growing a business. Plus a few industry players before us, had already established the potentials and high feasibility of the e-commerce market in Africa. We can also reach a wider, global market with e-commerce as compared to a physical store.
There are so many fashion online stores. How does DressMeOutlet stand out?
Dressmeoutlet.com remains focused on being an industry leader. We are the foremost fashion online retailer in Africa when evaluated on terms such as User Experience, User Interface, Customer Service, Quality of products, Availability of products, Company Awards and growth projections.
How has the Dollar rate affected you as a fashion entrepreneur?
Yes, for certain services whereby we work with international providers. Nonetheless, we are thriving because we continue to transition over to be the best service providers locally and this excites us because we are able to grow local businesses and still get the very best services.
At the recently held Africa fashion week, during your speech, you said that you have not yet broken even. Were you being modest because with how popular your brand has become, one would think you’ve broken beyond ‘even.’
Well as of today, we have broken even although financials are very confidential. We are very focused on growing the business, the market and the industry. Being profitable is not our only agenda, we want to work with tens of thousands of suppliers across Africa to magnify the industry. Nigeria alone has a potential of over $30 billion in revenue from the fashion industry alone. You can triple that amount when we combine analysis from the beauty and home goods industries too.
What can fashion entrepreneurs do to actually break even in this line of business?
Produce the very best quality products, give the very best customer service possible and employ the best employees and executive leaders.
Knowing the state of the economy right now, would you advise a would-be entrepreneur to go into the fashion business at this time and why?
I would 500% advice a would-be entrepreneur to delve in to the fashion industry. It is a rapidly growing industry with lots of opportunities for key players. The barriers to entry are also currently low and thus entrepreneurs should take advantage of all growth opportunities now rather than later. We love fashion and fashion is here to stay. Plus fashion is fun with a lot of freedom to express one’s passion, creativity, talent and ambitions.
What awards and recognitions have you gotten in respect to DressMeOutlet?
We were recently awarded as one of Nigeria’s Most Innovative Companies at the recently held Nigerian Innovation Summit. We were also nominated for African Awards for Entrepreneurship, African Achievers Awards and a few others. Not to forget Africa.com’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs for 2016 and Forbes 30 under 30 Most promising African Entrepreneurs.
That’s quite number for a relatively new business. Congratulations on all of these recognitions.
Give us an insight on the Cocktails & Dresses event coming up. Is it really the largest gathering of made in Africa’s event?
Cocktails & Dresses is Dressmeoutlet.com’s technology, retail & fashion industry sales & exhibition event promoting high-quality manufacturers across Nigeria and Africa. Cocktails & Dresses would Feature over 75 established and emerging manufacturers and retailers across Africa & International. Over 30 press partners and over 10 notable sponsor organizations. The event would be a grand full-day of Special Speakers & Personalities, Music, Fashion, Food, Networking, Glamour and Celebration.
Who is this event for and how can people attend the event?
Cocktails & Dresses is for everyone who loves to look good and have a great time. There’s lots to celebrate, eat, drink and shop from!
Is there something else you’d want our readers to know about DressMeOutlet and future projects from your platform?
Please follow all our social media pages @dressmeoutlet to be the first to hear all updates, contests, promotions and freebies from the Fashion Amazon of Africa. Www.dressmeoutlet.com. Shop now and experience lightning fast delivery to your doorstep anywhere you are in the world!
What other businesses do you run asides from DressMeOutlet?
Nothing else. I’m fully focused on Dressmeoutlet.com and the fashion, beauty and home retail industries.
What is your highest ambition as a fashion entrepreneur?
Employing thousands of creative geniuses across Africa and dispatching to millions of homes on a daily basis.
Where do you see DressMeOutlet in the next 10 years?
Continuing to retail globally and proving the very best products with the absolute best customer service to customers worldwide.
If you were not a fashion entrepreneur, what would you be?
CEO of a multi-national conglomerate.
Thank you for your time, Torera, it’s been nice chatting with you.
Its been my pleasure.