Jane Adeyemo (aka Isabella) is the Convener of Ekiti Online Market.
She tells News here and there Adebayo Adenrele ,how the initiative tackles unemployment especially amongst women.
WHAT IS ISABELLA FASHION HOUSE ALL ABOUT?
Well, Isabella Fashion House is a clothing line for women but it’s speciality is English Wears.
Isabella Fashion house begun five years back,because I wanted to create English wears for women.
At that time, English wears were very expensive especially turkey wears.
Isabella fashion house was created to be an alternative for women who loved fashion but didn’t want to pay ridiculous amount to get same.
I wanted to cater for the Female Civil Servant in the State.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW INITIATIVE, EKITI ONLINE MARKET.
When I started Isabella Fashion House, I just moved in to Ekiti State from Lagos State.
I was living with my Husband in Lagos. he hails from Ado-Ekiti here and I am from Edo State. We both met in Lagos, got married after sometime hubby, decided he wanted us to move back to Ekiti State.
Coming down to Ekiti State, was with mixed feeling, within me was the question how will I cope?
But I summoned up the courage to begin a new line of business, that was how Isabella Fashion House was birthed.
I also knew, my New business needed women patronage, this informed Ekiti online market, I wanted to expand my fashion business and Network with other women in Ekiti State.
Ekiti Online Market started as a personal agenda aimed at moving my business forward, fortunately for me other women in the state had same idea too, we were all looking for a platform to network and make sales.
From day 1 of the creation of Ekiti online market on Whatsapp precisely June 2019, women started trooping into the platform.
we have nine groups in all as of today.
We have Ekiti Online Market on Whatsapp ,Telegram and Facebook; on facebook alone, we have over 18000 members, mostly women.
WHAT IS THE MOTIVE OF EKITI ONLINE MARKET?
Ekiti Online Market is a buy and sell platform which is absolutely free.
If you have any business, just join Ekiti Online Market, post your products and people who are interested will start buying.
The beauty of the group is that it has helped to reduce unemployment amongst women to the barest minimum.
The challenge of renting a Shop, seeking for capital to invest in one’s business is no longer a do or die affair.
From the comfort of your home Ekiti Online Market gives your business the needed visibility to succeed.
With the help of your smart phone and technology, businesses can meet thousands of people and make profit.
With five thousand naira,a woman can start small chop business.
you don’t need to look for Shop, capital; within your kitchen, you can begin to find your customers via Ekiti Online Mark. A lot of women testify about it, how God had helped them especially those who are coming newly into Ekiti State.
Once they come in, they meet a new family, everything begins to work out, they get their customers, people begin to patronize them, things are working fine, God is really helping us and it’s absolutely free.
WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EKITI TRADE FAIR YOU DID RECENTLY?
You know they way we started Ekiti Online Market, the only drawback we have about the vision is that everything was all online, we don’t know one another.
For instance, the Samosa Woman would make it, post on the platform and uses dispatcher to send her samosa to her customer,we don’t need to meet her,we will just go into her DM and get what we need.
She sends her dispatcher who will bring it down to me, if am the one buying,I don’t need to meet her physically ,she would send her bank account details and I would forward her money to her.
Ekiti Trade Fair comes up to bridge that gap, we wanted to meet one another physically so that we can interact and even sell more.
Ekiti Trade Fair started with the aim which is ‘I want to know you, I want to know the person behind that brand’.
It was like a meeting point to see physically and another way to meet new Customers.
You know in Ekiti Online Market, your customers are mainly on that group, we actually used the Trade Fair to meet Customers who are not on Ekiti Online Market Platforms. So, it’s another means for us to meet both the old, and new customers who are within Ekiti State and have not heard about Ekiti Online Market.
We had the first edition during the Covid which was 2020, that was lockdown time, it was very hard for so many of our people on Ekiti Online Market, we couldn’t move around, dispatchers couldn’t, we have so many products, nobody could use them, we couldn’t sell them. We just took a leep of faith that we should hang out when the Covid was lifted up. I called my administrators so that we can arrange and do a kind of hang out, let’s do a Trade fair,let’s see ourselves that was how we held the first one.
The first one was at Fajuyi Park, it was a two-day programme, and it was massive and highly successful. A lot of people sold like never before and they met new Customers who were not on Ekiti Online Market Page.
After the first one, they wanted another one because it’s becoming interesting.
In 2021, we had another edition at Chambers, Trade Fair Complex because we wanted to bring Exhibitors outside Ekiti State.
You know the first one was mainly about the people on Ekiti Online Market within Ekiti State, the second one was about bringing in other Exhibitors who attended Lagos Trade Fair Abuja Trade Fair ,Calabar Trade Fair ,so we wanted to bring them in.
Now, there is a thought behind that,admins and I wanted people that can come on Ekiti Online Market to sell wholesales for our women. They don’t even need to travel; it’s all about network and using technology.
Now, it was at that Trade Fair we met Chambers, since we used their location, definitely, we are going to meet Chambers, it’s just a matter of time. They came around and they were surprised at what we did. Then, we had Exhibitors coming from Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna and they were shocked. They started asking us how we got them, that was when we decided to join hands with them to do the third Trade Fair in form of partnership. We signed an MoU to that effect and we had the third edition in December at the same venue but this time around, it was a combined Trade Fair with the Ekiti Chambers of commerce , mines and industry and Ekiti Online Market and that was massive. It was a 10-day programme, we had the Special Adviser to the Governor there, we had all the ministries involved.
We had another one in March 2023 for easter, it was an Easter programme which came up March 31st to 2nd April, it was a 3-day programme and a kind of Easter bonanza at the Pavillion.
We gave gifts, prizes, people came outside the State, our Exhibitors gave bonanza sales.
Actually, the first week of April would have been cool for it but, we wanted it to be Friday to Sunday because overtime, we know that weekend sales are always massive. Then, again we wanted it to be when Civil Workers might have collected salaries at the end of the month.
CAN YOU TELL US WAYS THAT THIS INITIATIVE IS CURBING UNEMPLOYMENT?
Of course, it’s obvious. We have 22 0000 members on Ekiti Online Market Groups. On facebook alone, we are 18000 you can make your research to attest to this facts.
Now, almost half of these people if not 90% of them are not working, it is what they are selling that is putting food on their tables, that platform is making that happen. So, that is curbing unemployment because if that platform wasn’t there, a lot of them would be going from house to house begging for money or indulging in crimes. But, that platform is making it possible for you to sit at home and money comes to you.
Ekiti Online Market has gone beyond Ado in the sense that people who are Ekiti Indigenes, based in Lagos, Abuja, once they see that group have joined, it has now become a community platform. Even though they are not residing in Ekiti here, as long they are Ekiti Indigenes, they are also part of it.
There was a Lady, somebody got her number through our Group, and she was the one that planned a whole burial ceremony. The Cooling van, the cooking, drinks because she has been posting food and the rest. This particular person is based outside of Ekiti but they have a burial in Ekiti State, she handled everything and made massive profits.
They connected on Ekiti online market platform.
So, the platform has changed the situation of people and recently now, people are selling Ja-Pa sales. A lot of people are running out of the country and they want to dispose off their properties , they would just take pictures of their product and post them on our group for people to buy.
It’s not enough to meet the demands of the market now; I was so surprised when somebody posted a rusty 25kg Cylinder for 20 thousand naira. People rushed it and bought it while some are still demanding for more.
Well, I won’t say it’s the poverty level in Nigeria that makes people sell Cylinders, Irons, mattress, and people are buying it because they cannot afford to buy the new ones,what I am just trying to say is that the platform made that possible. If that was not there, I don’t know how they could have done that.
HOW DO YOU COME ABOUT THIS VISION?
Well, like I said before, it was a selfish move that made it come out. I wanted women to patronize Isabella Fashion House because I just came in newly into Ekiti State. That was how I started it fortunately , some women also have the same vision as mine and they jumped into the group,I only added three persons at the beginning, other thousands of people came on their own. So, the truth of the matter is that Ekiti Online Market is a solution ground, people see it as a platform that is creating solutions to their everyday problems.
IN THE PROCESS OF THIS PROGRAMME, DO YOU ENCOUNTER ANY CHALLENGES?
Of course, there are. This is an online thing, sometimes we have complaints from people who paid for goods but yet to receive them. To curb all of that, we have regulations, they are almost 12, we post them periodically, that’s the work of the Administrators. You don’t pay until you see what you order for, you pay on delivery if you are working with the brand for the first time. If you like it, you pay and if you don’t, you have the control over your money.
Also do not pay anyone until you hear from the Admin especially, if you are doing business with the person for the first time because we had some challenges where some people would pay money and they won’t see the goods they paid for but, since we have been running the affairs of Ekiti Online Market, we have not recorded any Police case, Court Cases.
In some rare cases, if you are outside the State for some reasons and you want your goods delivered to you, we advise they pay to admin. and admin will take charge how the goods will reach that person.
ARE YOU STILL RUNNING ISSABELLA FASHION HOUSE?
Yes but, currently I need to put an hold on it for now because a baby has come in and I have to take good care of my Child.
We will be reopening later this year.