Meet the Woman Disrupting the African Fashion Industry With Technology – Forbes
In recent times, the global demand and discussions on African inspired clothing has led to tremendous boost in sales for some African designers and brands whose works have caught the eyes of international personalities including Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Thandie Newton. The potential for this billion dollar market has birthed a need for African-led ecommerce fashion platforms to create structures that will not only cater to global demands, but also help upcoming brands to thrive.
With a population of 170 million, the fashion ecommerce industry in Nigeria is still underserved, a weak match for the growing internet users in the country. However, a Nigerian company is making waves by leveraging on technology to create an online platform that would be a one-stop shop for fashion. Fashpa.com is Nigeriaâs premier online fashion retailer. Fashpa is vertically integrated; it designs, manufactures and distributes its line of clothing. It retails the clothing online and offers delivery throughout Africa and the World.
Honey Ogundeyi, founder of Fashpa, acknowledges that starting a business especially in Nigeria is challenging. But one thing is certain, the astute, passionate and creative entrepreneur is determined to thrive and grow Fashpa.com to the No1 destination for Fashion in Nigeria.
In this interview, Honey talks about her company, challenges encountered while building a start up in the fashion technology space in Nigeria, and her plans for the future.
Tell us about your personal and professional background.
By profession I would call myself a Management Consultant with experience across-different industries ranging from Banking, Brand Management, Internet and Telecoms. I worked at great companies like Google, Mckinsey and Ericsson. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs, and growing up, I saw firsthand the challenges of growing a business and initially I was more attracted to structured 9-5 job. However, along the way I discovered that the roles I enjoyed most professionally were the ones that where entrepreneurial. I thrived when I was tasked with growing a business or starting something from scratch. I have also always had a passion for technology and fashion, so I eventually decided to work on an idea that I had for a very long time, that I was passionate about and that was how to make Fashion more accessible for Africans.
What was the original inspiration/thought process behind Fashpa?
I started Fashpa (meaning Fashion Parade), out of frustration of not being able to access quality fashion following my move back to Nigeria after several years living abroad. Africans have the same modern sophisticated fashion tastes and love for fashion when compared to consumers elsewhere in the world. The only difference between us and a consumer in London is access to that fashion. I wanted to bridge that gap using technology, by creating an online fashion platform targeted at style conscious consumers who wanted quality, variety and convenience, at affordable prices.