How A Nigerian Woman Built A Successful Fashion House Online
When Honey Ogundeyi founded Fashpa her mind was set out to create Nigeria’s leading online fashion retailer–and she did just that.
Ogundeyi didn’t know exactly what she was doing. Even after working for a decade as the top online marketer for several renowned tech giants, she still had doubts if she could be successful on her own.
Previously, she had worked as the Industry Manager at Google Nigeria, where she handled the commercial portfolio, strategy development, and online advertising execution. She also worked at communications tech giant Ericsson and at consulting multinational management consulting McKinsey & Company in Brussels and Johannesburg.
Today Ogundeyi, who graduated from the University of Birmingham in England, is a major player in Nigeria’s Internet and eCommerce Industry, with her brain child Fashpa offering an extensive array of international and local clothing brands as well as its own brands.
AFKInsider: What made you start the company?
Ogundeyis: I started Fashpa.com out of a frustration of having limited access to fashion in Nigeria. Africans have the same modern sophisticated fashion tastes and love for fashion when compared to consumers elsewhere in the world. The only difference between us and a consumer in London is that it is still difficult for us in Africa to access our favorite fashion brands. For example, in Nigeria, it can be hard due to traffic or location to get access to a Nigerian designer’s retail outlet. We saw this as a clear opportunity to leverage on technology and create a leading fashion online platform giving consumers access to the best fashion and lifestyle brands whether international or local, the latest trends and at good prices with the added value of providing convenience by delivering this goods to them. The response has been amazing and in a short amount of time we have taken a leadership position as Number 1 Fashion Online Retailer in Nigeria.
AFKInsider: What does Fashpa mean?
Ogundeyis: Fashpa is a colloquial term in Nigeria which means Fashion Parade. When I was thinking of a name for the site, I wanted a name that was both related to fashion and Nigeria and Fashpa was both.
AFKInsider: What challenges did you have when you started?
Ogundeyis: The first challenge was perhaps myself, trusting that this was the right thing to pursue and the right time. Once I overcame that, access to finance, building a team and general infrastructure problems that come with trying to build a venture in Africa.
AFKInsider: How do you get the goods you sell?
Ogundeyis: We get our goods from a variety of sources. Our buying team is mostly on the lookout for brands that are both trendy and are at a great price point. We stock international, local and Pan African brands. We also produce and design our own collection called Fashpa Collection.
AFKInsider: How has Fashpa grown over the years?
Ogundeyis: We are one of Nigeria’s fastest growing fashion retailers and the leading online fashion online retailer. Our growth rates are triple digits growth and we are pretty excited about the growth we are experiencing. There is still such a large market potential that we intend to continue to tap.
AFKInsider: Where are most of your customers from?
Ogundeyis: Our customers mostly do the marketing for us. Most of our customers find out about us from word of mouth and from the active community we have built on social media organically. For example on Instagram we have the largest followership of all Nigerian online retailers and its a great testament of our products and our exemplary customer service and brands that are customers are happy and eager to refer us. We have done a great job in converting likes to sales and built a really strong community of Fashpa lovers who love the brand. We have found that the online Fashpa community brings in new customers and encourages repeat purchases proving that it is a powerful tool for business success and a key differentiator for us.
AFKInsider: What do you want to achieve this year?
Ogundeyis: This year is all about growth. We want to continue to build on the success and exceptional growth from last year. This year we plan to have a wider assortment of brands and categories and to build out our technology to provide an exceptional platform for emerging African brands to grow and distribute their products.
AFKInsider: What your plan for the long term?
Ogundeyis: The vision is to see Fashpa.com as the leading destination for Fashion in Africa. Ultimately a lot of what we are building out today does not not exist and so a huge ambition is leaving behind this legacy of a first class retail business in Africa built by Africans. Success for us, would mean that we would have changed the way African consumers access fashion and be a key contributor in the growth of the African fashion and tech Industries.
AFKInsider: Is Nigeria supportive of entrepreneurs?
Ogundeyis: Nigeria is the land of entrepreneurs even though it is not the most enabling business environment. However there are so many opportunities and areas to have impact here that I wouldn’t choose another place to start my business.