Olatorera Oniru was named in Forbes list 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa. Her company, Dressmeoutlet is about helping people look fashionable in designs by African designers.
Runstripe.com reached out to Dressmeoutlet CEO, Olatorera Oniru, to talk about African fashion, her company and the role it’s playing in the ‘fashion industry’, upcoming ‘cocktails and dresses’ event, and more.
Read the interview below.
Who is Olatorera Oniru?
Olatorera is an ambitious entrepreneur passionate about all things Africa and on the quest to scale up the African fashion, beauty, and home goods industries to contribute significantly to national GDPs.
When did you decide entrepreneurship is the next path for you?
I’ve always been entrepreneurially driven and ambitious. It is difficult to want to be employed in Nigeria when you are booming with ideas and leadership skills that want to manifest. When you see underdevelopment and high unemployment rates on a daily basis. We all need to continue doing more in our little or big ways to develop our continent. Entrepreneurship is my way of utilizing my years of education and experience to create a company that will impact millions.
I have a passion for fashion and I believe fashion drives confidence and communication.
What brought about DressmeOutlet?
I have a passion for fashion and I believe fashion drives confidence and communication. We all love to look good and have a great time. The right fashion style can drive conversations, can invoke confidence and can actually help generate positive results. Dressmeoutlet.com is all about helping our customers look fashionable and feel great. From helping you choose the right Friday Night or Sunday morning outfit to deliver to your doorstep very rapidly to post-purchase services, Dressmeoutlet.com wants to remain at the forefront of growing the made-in-Africa fashion, beauty, and home goods industries.
You are one of the known female entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa in the retail fashion industry, has that been a source of motivation or pressure for you or your company?
Definitely a mix of both. With each work-filled day, I want to do even much more and I’m simultaneously motivated by everyone that believes in me or looks up to me. Dressmeoutlet.com’s growth comes as a result of teamwork. From employees to partners to suppliers, our ultimate goal remains to magnify the African fashion industry and retail the very best of made in Africa fashion globally.
What is your take on the competition and how do you handle it?
We continue to focus on being #1 in the industry by focusing on our customers, on the company’s return on investment and on maximizing our growth potentials. A lot of our competitors see Dressmeoutlet.com’s strength and constantly seek ways to partner with us. There are already a number of natural barriers to entry that limit competition we won’t need to artificially create any yet. Our focus is strongly on providing the best products and services at the best prices possible to all our customers.
The African fashion industry is developing at a very fast rate currently gaining a global recognition, how has DressmeOutlet contributed to this development in Nigeria and Africa at large?
Yes, this is due to the significant number of businesses and leaders entering the industry. The industry no doubt has massive potentials otherwise you won’t see lots of graduates from global best business schools starting businesses and taking on jobs within the African Fashion Industry. Lots of creative geniuses are utilizing our natural resources and talents to create internationally competitive products. We at Dressmeoutlet.com are creating awareness, sales and global visibility for the products emerging from creative geniuses. Products inclusive of jewelries made of locally sourced solid minerals, carved corals and beads, shoes locally made, leather bags locally made and natural and organic skincare products locally made. Cocktails & Dresses aims to be the largest Africa-wide event for retailing made in Africa product to a global audience. We are already expecting attendees from as far as Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, USA, UK, Canada and France.
How would you describe your company’s culture?
Dressmeoutlet.com is results-driven. We are a team of smart and ambitious people working to grow the African Fashion Industry. It is a bit fast-paced to fulfill all our customer promises in a timely fashion, passion-driven and professional.
Following the fact that DressmeOutlet is one of the foremost fashion retailers in Nigeria and Africa at large, How do you select the fashion brand(s) you work with and how can a fashion designer sell his/her designs on your platform?
Our selection process entails quality and pricing analytics and market fit/readiness. We also ensure that brands we work with have strong potentials to scale up and mass produce. We want growth and thus a brand can start out selling 100 products monthly on Dressmeoutlet.com and within months of strong consistent marketing, that sales number moves up to over 1,000. That’s the type of brand we look for, brands with high scalability and market fit.
DressmeOutlet as we all know launched officially this year (2016) and has stayed on the front line of retail fashion ever since, What is your projection for the next 5 years?
We will continue to grow strongly. We have very thorough plans for the industry’s scalability. Strategic partnerships, innovation, and technology leadership are at the forefront of our business growth plans.
Cocktails & Dresses is a physical sell-out event.
Cocktails & Dresses is a physical sell-out event. We give discounts and freebies to shoppers in a luxurious, fun and entertaining environment with lots to eat, drink and many to socialize with. It is generally an opportunity for all exhibitors to sell, create greater awareness for the industry and magnify the made-in-Africa movement. Cocktail & Dresses is a full-day Black Carpet Shopping Rave and the foremost semi-annual sales & exhibition event for the fashion, beauty & home goods industries in Africa. This upcoming edition, we have exhibitors coming from Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and more to be confirmed.
What advice would you give a young African who wants to be an entrepreneur like yourself?
Push your dreams, don’t let anything stop you from doing anything great for the world. We need many more dreams being pushed all around Africa to write millions of success stories, alleviate poverty and develop the continent.