Young people are making giant strides in the world today, and its encouraging to see how businesses are being set up and sustained. Be on the lookout every Friday because we will get to meet young entrepreneurs who started their businesses from scratch, find out the challenges they face and how they find their way through the maze that is the business world.
Today’s CEO is Josephine Okulaja: Josephine is a trained journalist with a B.Sc. in Mass Communication and Masters in International Broadcast Journalism. She has worked as an On Air Personality, voice over artist and programs producer in various Online Radio Stations including BBC where she worked as an Intern. Her combined love for new media (Internet) and fashion compelled her to set- up ‘Allyouwant’.
Allyouwant is an online retail store; it focuses mainly on Unisex shoes and statement fashion accessories. Since the launch in June 2014, Allyouwant has served many customers across Nigeria and is looking forward to serve other West African countries.
Here’s how our chit chat went:
AD: HI Jo, how are you?
Josephine: I’m very well thank you.
AD: Thank God its Friday yeah?
Josephine: Yes! technically, I work all through the week, but the weekends are somewhat easier.
AD: OK so lets get down to the business of the day. Allyouwant kicked off in June, how has it been so far?
Josephine: Yes, it kicked off in June and the traffic on the site has been so amazing. We have customers from across Nigeria, we have have also had people buzzing us from other African countries wanting to patronize us, but at the moment we are not there yet. Come next year, that is definitely on our radar.
AD: Wow! that is impressive. So do you have employees? if yes how many do you have at the moment?
Josephine: For now, I do not have a full staff. Its me and my partner, but the graphic designers, delivery people and other resource persons are outsourced staff. Sometimes, I deliver to my customers myself especially when the location is in an area I am very familiar with.
AD: Tell me about some of the challenges you have been facing and how you have been able to conquer them.
Josephine: Hmmm challenges. That’s really one thing we can’t run away from as humans talk more in a business. The major challenge which has been staring at us in the face is the fact that many customers will always prefer to pay cash on delivery. Right now we do not have that service provided in all 36 states. Our delivery partner only offers that in 7 major locations (lagos, ibadan, Abuja, Port-harcourt, Abeokuta, oshogbo and Ife) so we often get customers wondering how they can trust us to deliver when they pay online via the online payment platform. I always have to talk to them, convince them and sometimes offer them discounts or deals just to cajole them to buy. When they eventually buy we ship out almost immediately to enable them get their products as soon as possible. Before you know it the phone is ringing and it’s the customer calling to say thank you for quick delivery and not being a fraud, funny but true.
Josephine: Sure, why not? all work and no play makes jack a dull boy or in this case makes Jojo a dull girl. Being a CEO hasn’t changed me, I still do all my regular activities and I make time to visit and hang out with my friends.
AD: With the stiff competition in the online retail world, what stands allyouwant out from the others?
Josephine: Like they say, the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly. Right now we don’t look at anyone as a competitor rather we look at them as possible future partners. Then again we are sticking to the original positioning of the store which is giving high quality goods at really good prices which is 10-15% off the original retail price.
AD: Any Christmas sales we should know about?
Josephine: Yes! Its a secret we are cooking up. watch this space. By December 1st, you will know.
AD: Thank you so much Josephine, It has been so nice catching up with you, any words for young upcoming entrepreneurs out there?
Josephine: The pleasure is all mine Adaugo, well, I am still a baby in the business but one thing I have learnt and that I will say to them is: never give up. Follow your dreams and passion and don’t do anything because others are doing it. Don’t be scared of trying, stay focused and work hard.
Visit http://www.allyouwant.com.ng today for a beautiful range of unisex shoes and accessories.
Enjoy your weekend.