This week, Udoblog explores the fashion business that is Affordable Fash, owned by Gyeyok Emmanuel Parah.
Gyeyok is a Nigerian that absolutely loves reading and daydreaming. Thinking about it, that's a good combination of hobbies to have; as reading opens up the mind and daydreaming in conjunction with reading can lead to amazing ideas. We decided to briefly discuss her online business venture; Affordable Fash. The business focuses on retail of hand-crafted footwear. The footwear is custom-made per order, so customers are free to experiment (within reason obviously). Aside from footwear, Affordable Fash also deals with hair sales (wholesale and retail available). Affordable Fash was officially launched in July 2019.
Gyeyok did mention that launching Affordable Fash was no easy task though; and even now she has some challenges popping up here and there. According to her, the major challenge faced was (and still is) getting new customers to trust her enough to patronize the business and pay up-front before delivery. She pointed out that in the Nigerian online business space, a lot of trust issues exist, especially with the increased publicity of Internet crime and online business scam. This issue is a major stumbling block right now as it impedes Affordable Fash from getting to the level Gyeyok believes it should be at. Our advice here would be to keep on building a core customer base, and always share testimonials from real people. Human beings never want to be the first to try something new so the testimonials will definitely help with trust. Another issue she faces (and admitted it does piss her off) is the refusal of men to continue an on-going transaction on discovering that she is a woman. She particularly expressed frustration about this and even though as a guy, I cannot relate; I fully understand her reaction to the fact that such primitive thinking still exists. Another challenge (which she finds hilarious by the way) is convincing people that her products are high quality because apparently, her prices are too cheap to be genuine.
In her words "I wouldn't be "Affordable" Fash if I had skyrocketing prices now, would I?"
Despite these challenges though, she does predict an uphill trajectory for business growth. Her strategy to get there would be by providing high quality goods and customer service in order to build trust and a reputation. She does admit to thinking of business improvement methods every day and right now, improving the client base is top priority. She believes that she will get there sooner rather than later as one thing that separates her from the competition is the ridiculously cheap pricing of her products coupled with free delivery options. One thing she admits to; is that as someone new to the world of entrepreneurship, she does not find it easy interacting with difficult customers. Currently, her method of dealing with such clients is directing them over to her more patient friends to help handle the situation. Our take on this at UdobizNG is that; at some point, she will need to learn those habits from her friends as they will not be there to help all the time.
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Gyeyok believes that Nigeria has a long way to go in helping businesses grow and develop. Issues range from the different laws sprouting everyday which constantly make it difficult for new businesses to blossom; to the attitudes of Nigerians towards online businesses. The latter is a classic case of a small percentage of people ruining things for everyone else. She advices business owners in Nigeria to be patient and not be engulfed with making profits immediately. Provide an amazing service, build a good client base and profits will follow.
Like mentioned before, Gyeyok constantly meets men who outrightly refuse to buy shoes from her just because she is a woman. Her advice to women going through the same thing was simple: do not show weakness in response to such an issue. Keep trying to grow your brand and eventually, they will see their mistakes.
Being the review driven enthusiasts that we are, we asked the question of what she thinks of myudo.biz as well as what advice she could give us.
"The website could use some work on displaying products better with an option to shop for desired items. ".
Thanks for the constructive criticism, Gyeyok! Right now, we want to keep money interactions off the site, but we will keep this suggestion in mind.