Every experience, new adventure, and journey into the seemingly unknown path, exposes us to various learning opportunities.
The era of online shopping is gradually picking up steam in this part of the world and the merchants that have keyed into this have various tales to tell.
We have decided to showcase a few of the merchants with stores on our Storefront.com.ng platform, to discover their experiences of having an online store and hopefully learn from them.
This week, we would be interviewing Mrs Unyime Samson, the brain behind Bumblebees.com.ng. The online store has just been setup and barely operational for a month. Here is what she has to say:
Tell us a bit about your business (What sets your brand apart from everyone else?)
Bumble Bees is a kids clothing and accessory store that sells high brand kids clothing at affordable rates. What sets us apart will be our consistency in selling high brand clothing’s and our affordable prices. Even with the dollar crunch, we still offer our customers amazing prices.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I have always had a flair for dressing kids up, but back then, most of the stores I went to didn’t have what I liked. In some cases when they were available, the price would be ridiculously high. In 2010, I was opportune to travel to UK for the first time, which opened my eyes to the world of branded kids clothing. On my return, I sold off everything I had bought during he trip and making a decent profit in the process.
What challenges did you face as an emerging entrepreneur?
The challenges were quite a lot. They include the recent rise in foreign currency rates, limited funds, which also affected my expansion plans to sell to more people.
By signing up on Storefront.com.ng, I was easily able to overcome some of these challenges. Storefront.com.ng has been a very cost effective way to showcase my products to the world and increase sales.
Describe what it was like to have your first online sale?
Wow, I felt like I was walking on water. It was really satisfying seeing my hard work translate to money.
Logistics was the biggest challenge I faced. I was able to surmount this by partnering with a reputable courier company. They deliver nationwide and also offer cash collection services (Pay on Delivery) on my behalf.
In terms of marketing, what do you do?
I rely heavily on social media for my advertising. I have joined a lot of groups and communities on Facebook to showcase my product. I also use my products as display pictures on Blackberry and WhatsApp chat, Twitter, Instagram etc.
I also periodically send out bulk text messages announcing events like clearance sales or new arrivals etc. I also ask friends and customers alike to share my links and products on their social media pages.
I am also on a lot of platforms like various e-commerce market places.
I do not underestimate the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing. Satisfied customers market our page and website.
In all, my marketing is basically hinged on social media. My smart phone has been a very useful tool in achieving all this.
What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when starting up your business?
When you take care of the kobos, the naira will take care of itself.
That will be how I can summarise the advice my husband gave me when starting out. He stressed I should check small expenses and cost because if not well managed, they could sum up to big costs that will create a hole in my pocket.
Any advice to entrepreneurs coming into the business?
Yes. Go into something you have a passion for. It takes a lot of hard work, sweat and stress to build a business. If you do not have passion for what you are doing, you will drop it when times get tough.
Integrity is also very important in business; integrity has taken me places and given me things money couldn’t get me.
What do you think about storefront and how has it helped your business?
I have only been on this platform for a few weeks but I have seen a marked increase in my sales.
Storefront offers any business an opportunity to showcase their products to a wide audience. The idea of opening an e-store was daunting at first, but with storefront.com.ng, I got pocket friendly rates and very helpful customer care.
My only regret is that I did not join the Storefront.com.ng platform sooner!