Jan 24

“I haven’t been happier since returning”

In 2016, Nigerian Olatorera Oniru left a corporate career spanning years of experience at the Fortune 500 companies Bank of America (Merrill Lynch) and General Electric, as well as Ericsson, the Central Bank of Nigeria and MTN to head home.

“And I haven’t been happier,” she comments.

Oniru completed her tertiary education in the US and graduated cum laude in business administration and management from North Carolina A&T State University. She also holds an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta.

Her venture is, a fashion, beauty and homeware e-commerce platform that is promoting goods made in Africa. Since Oniru used her personal savings to launch the site in January 2017, the company has grown to 20 full-time employees. About 80% of sales are currently from Nigeria, with an increasing number of customers coming from the US and other African markets.

“Pretty much 98% of ‘made in Africa’ fashion does not really come from Africa – like the material, fabrics and beading. The currency challenges have helped us to promote more of the ‘made in Africa’ fashion industry. It helps us to look inward rather than importing.”

Oniru’s company is still in its vulnerable first year and is up against tough odds – with some statistics suggesting that 80% of start-ups fail within the first 18 months. But adds that competition in the e-commerce space drives a culture of online shopping, which is good for the sector overall.

“The industry is still in its infancy. The more entrants, the better. When I see competitors in the field I am actually excited because Africa needs competition. It drives growth and success… and it is good for helping us all be our very best.”

Source: How We Made it in Africa