We want to be the largest fashion retailer from Africa to the world – Olatorera Oniru
April 10, 2017 | 1:58 pm| | | Start Conversation
From the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, General Electric and the Central Bank of Nigeria to Dressmeoutlet.com! How did that come about?
After 2 years at Merrill Lynch, I accepted an opportunity to work for the Central Bank of Nigeria as a Senior Supervisor which I did for a year and then proceeded to obtain my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Degree from Emory University where I focused on Finance, Leadership and Entrepreneurship. During my MBA days, I was keenly learning and strategizing on how to innovate, build, grow and lead a large company and thus my goal as an MBA candidate was to learn, learn, learn, plan, plan, plan. A good percentage of the business plan for Dressmeoutlet.com was written during my MBA days.
What was your vision for Dressmeoutlet.com and how far have you come over the period from when it was launched till now?
Our vision for Dressmeoutlet.com remains to be the largest fashion retailer from Africa to the world. With about 30 employees, shipments to over 6 countries, and raving testimonies on the high-quality plus rapid shipment that Dressmeoutlet.com provides, we are perfectly gladdened to continue serving the industry and our customers.
Are the brands on the Dressmeoutlet store strictly fashion and beauty products out of Africa?
About 65% are made in Africa. The rest are sourced globally. We continue to evaluate products and partnerships to best serve our customers the best of fashion and beauty that they love and want.
Tell us a little bit about your family?
I’m married to the world’s most amazing man and together we have a beautiful daughter and an amazing son.
What does work-life balance mean to you? As a busy career woman, how do you balance out career, and family?
I split up my time as logically as possible. I’m at work during the day and with my family all evening. Then I’m back at work overnight. I love my family and I enjoy working. I’m able to mix up both to keep everyone happy.
How do you source for the stock on your website to ensure you are serving your customers the best quality of fashion from Africa?
We have a vendor sourcing team in charge of introductions, on-boarding, analytics and management of supplier accounts. We are always on the lookout for innovative brands with mass production capabilities and many such brands also reach out to Dressmeoutlet.com directly.
On the Made In Nigeria project; Is the crash in oil prices a blessing in disguise?
Many nations have excelled with oil. Similarly, many nations have excelled without oil. I’m not sure crash in oil prices will automatically bring about the blessing to the nation that most are looking for. It will take more than crash in oil prices. Crash in oil prices also isn’t exactly something positive for the nation. It’s more of alleviating corruption, appreciating and leveraging human resources and maximizing natural resources that will bring about the type of blessings that the nation is in dire need of.
The Made In Aba products comprising of varied leather works and various clothing items and fashion accessories is an estimated 500 million naira worth of market for Nigeria and the continent. Have we used or encouraged that market wisely?
We are currently in talks with leadership in Abia state. That market has massive potentials but also needs a period of consultation and development to compete with internationally high-quality brands.
As an African woman doing business in Nigeria, what has been your most challenging CEO moment since the inception of Dressmeoutlet.com?
Probably the realization that Nigeria’s standard of education is much lower than international standards of most developed nations. Most schools locally are not equipping graduates with the right knowledge and skills they require to succeed and excel in the competitive marketplace. Dressmeoutlet.com has had to structure rigorous trainings and on-boarding requirements for new hires to be internationally competitive with their level of knowledge and capabilities.
What advice do you have for Nigerian women in business on how to survive the harsh business environment in the country?
My biggest advice would be enjoy your life as thoroughly as possible. Your happiness and your peace of mind are your largest pool of wealth. You have both and you are very wealthy. Find time to relax, find time for family and friends, find time to work hard, find time to do the things that matter most to you. Above all, be happy, be at peace and enjoy life.
Big Read |