After her stint as a Customer Care Officer and a Project Coordinator at different organisations, the passion for fashion pushed Oladunni Ayorinde into establishing her fashion business which has become a multimillion-naira outfit six years after.
She shared her experience and challenges with ST Team. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business
My name is Oladunni Ayorinde. I am a graduate of Project Management from Lagos State University. I am motivated, innovative, passionate and I like to look at the commercial viability of whatever I am doing. I am also willing to set remarkable milestones and develop new skills by building on existing experience.
I have worked in Etisalat Nigeria as a Customer Care Officer and Pualani Limited as Project Coordinator. But I knew I had to run my own business. Cartdeals Limited was established in 2014 and for the last six years has dictated the pace in the fashion dialogue in Nigeria. The company started with a meagre amount of N16,000.00 and has grown to become a multimillion-naira company today.
What influenced the choice of the business amongst many others?
I have a keen sense of fashion, and my experience has shown that in Nigeria the next major industry, in terms of demand, after the food industry is fashion. The fashion industry is still ahead of the building industry in terms of demand because you might not own a house or rent an apartment but you must wear clothes, and in a trendy world, most people would want to go with the trends.
Where are you located in Ilupeju and why did you choose Ilupeju for location?
We are located at 16 Ilupeju By-pass, Ilupeju Lagos. This is a beautiful location for us as Ilupeju is at the centre of Lagos Metropolis and is easily accessible from any area in Lagos. It is also strategic for us as it is not too far from our former office.
What products and services do your company offer?
Our products include:
4. Children Toys
5. School Bags, etc.
6. Other household goods
We also have a logistics and production arm.
Who are your clientele and what market need did you observe and seek to meet?
Apart from walk-in customers and individuals who buy from us regularly, we have a very viable online store and 182 distributors nationwide. This has been the fulcrum of our growth.
We have observed that most men and women in our world today are becoming more and more trendy hence the need to be constantly creative with endearing designs that will attract their interest. This has led to an increase in demand which has also led to more capital requirements.
Do you have branches now? If Yes, how many and where are they located?
We do not have branches as we do not want to be competing with our distributors.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business?
This has come with mixed feelings because there have been blessings and attendant challenges. But we did well as we diversified to the production of face masks and the sale of face shields. This was a huge success. We also increased our marketing drive and enhanced sales with promotions.
Could you tell us some of the challenges the company has faced or still facing?
One major challenge we have faced is the manpower challenge whereby some of our manufacturing staff are not as loyal as they should be, resuming any time they like and not taking responsibility and ownership.
Do you have any project you are currently working on?
What vision do you have for the company?
To be the preferred fashion solution brand in Nigeria. In this case, when you talk fashion in line with our products, you think Cartdeals.
What would you say gives your organisation that competitive advantage?
What gives us an edge is the fact that God has been good to us and we appreciate this a lot. This has enabled us to be creative with our designs in line with what the consumers desire to have.
Is the company into any partnership or alliance with other companies?
What advice do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
I advise them to be creative with whatever they are doing. This is a dynamic world that requires innovative and inventive ideas. They should also be disciplined, diligent and patient as businesses have their time of labour, challenges and harvest.