Omolola Onabanjo, a graduate of Banking and Finance from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago- Iwoye, Ogun State, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LollyPop Accessories. In this interview with NIYI OYEDEJI, she speaks about her voyage in the world of business and e-commerce.
What inspired you to go into this line business?
I was inspired by my love for smartphones. Back then in school when Blackberry was the trend and there was a high demand for the product among students, I had one and my friends had interest in it, so I saw that as an avenue to help them get it and as well make profit. That was how one friend would tell another and gradually referral started coming and everyone would come and tell me to help them get a blackberry. When I realised my business was fast spreading and I had no money to stock up phones as it was capital-intensive, I had to focus on the weakness of Blackberry which was their weak battery and at the fact that power was bad in our school environment so I had to key into power banks which started moving so well and that was it for me. Everyone needed one either you are a blackberry user or not. You just don’t want to be with a switched off device.
What was your start-up capital?
To be candid I started my business with zero capital, the strategy I used then was to help some of my friends and my colleagues who wanted to buy or sell a new or used smartphone, laptop, and some other gadget at a commission. I used to ensure these products come with a proof of ownership to be on a safe side and I was later able to design a black and white poster which I pasted on school notice boards and strategic places where students could easily see it and through that I got a lot of referral and those commissions as time went on became the capital I channelled towards my business. I then started buying flash drive in bulk, memory card, hands free and power bank to sell.
How would you say the business has grown since starting?
Thank God for social media and e-commerce platforms, my business has amplified since the invention of these platforms. They have really enhanced the growth of my business and helped me survive even without a physical outlet yet. I run my business 100 per cent online, through retweets on Twitter and shared post on Facebook, I have been able to make sales and send my product to 30 states so far in the country.
What are some of the challenges you have faced since starting the business?
Being an entrepreneur in any society comes with different challenges depending on the product or services rendered, the major ones I have faced is trust issue, many anonymous hide behind different accounts on social media to defraud people, hence making it hard for legit imate ones like me to convince buyers to pay before delivery, so what we do is to initiate ‘pay on delivery’ if you are in Lagos and also in Ibadan, as I have representatives there as well. Another challenge is capital to further broaden my business and lastly is logistics in terms of delivery.
What can the government do to address these challenges?
The government should make access to loan for start-up easy with minimal interest and also gear up private organisations to invest in start-up business by so doing it enhances both the business and the economy at large.
How do you source most of the gadgets you sell?
I get my products from Amazon and other International e-commerce stores.
What are some of your expansion plans?
One of my plans is to have an offline outlet very soon which is going to major in varieties of accessories to gadget, a store that will meet all your accessories need.
Also, to set up campus representatives. I will love to have students in each campus in Nigeria that sell my product. I have already done that with my alma mater but I’m working towards other universities as well. This will help with brand awareness and also help the student to make extra cash while schooling. It could be a form of side hustle while nurturing their entrepreneurship spirit
Can the tech sector diversify the country’s economy from oil?
Definitely, this is the 21st century- the conceptual age and the world is becoming more digital on a daily basis with advanced technology. So at the moment, technology at a steady rate is shifting the country attention away from oil.
Advice to other entrepreneurs?
Be nicer to your customers than your competitors.
If you are working on a product that’s going to be consumer-facing, then feedback is invaluable. You should be out there being brave and talking to people and asking for feedback as much as possible.
Read Full Story