#LLAInterview: “Every opportunity to learn is an opportunity to be greater.” Olatorera, Founder Dresmeoutlet.com
Olatorera is a woman with an impeccable track record and her commitment to excellent service delivery and innovation makes her stand out from the pack. She took a decision to become an entrepreneur when she was at the peak of her career at one of the world’s largest telecommunications company. She has some great words of wisdom to share with women who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs one day. Enjoy
Who is Olatorera Oniru?
Olatorera Oniru is an assiduous entrepreneur passionate about all things Africa. As the CEO of Dressmeoutlet.com, I currently lead initiatives to realize a pinnacle in Africa’s history whereby we would rely less on importation and innovate more with natural resources and citizenry capabilities.
Did you always know you were going to be an entrepreneur?
I think I have always been driven to the entrepreneurial route. Growing up, my parents always spoke words that made me know they strongly believed in my leadership capabilities. I garnered a strong interest in non-fiction leadership, entrepreneurship and personal development books at a very young age. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized my passion and strength for entrepreneurship and this can be partly credited to the business administration courses I completed at NC A&T State University in my undergraduate days. Every opportunity to learn, for me, has always been, and continues to be, an opportunity to be greater.
You are the founder of Dressmeoutlet.com. Tell us what it is like running an online business in Nigeria?
Running Dressmeoutlet.com is fun, exciting and a lot of rewarding work. Each and everyday, we come up with innovative ideas and are currently building up our list of patents. I mostly enjoy how Dressmeoutlet.com’s operations can all take place under one roof and get to our customer’s doorstep in less than 6 days globally. Within Nigeria, it is less than 3 days and within Lagos, it continues to be same day. Our customers are our foremost priority at Dressmeoutlet.com. Anything to make them fully satisfied, we enact. They want a seamless checkout process? Consider it done. They want immediate dispatch? Consider it done. They want drone deliveries? We are working on it! It’s a daily continuous process of business development, process improvement and service maximization at Dressmeoutlet.com.
Why did you decide to open an online store and not a physical fashion outlet?
Dressmeoutlet.com’s goals are centred on using technology and innovation to provide the best and fastest delivery of fashion and beauty products and services to our customers. We wanted a system that would be challenging and unique yet give us ample room to grow and innovate. It’s difficult to reach a worldwide audience with a physical outlet. We wanted a growing undertaking that would enable us employ thousands of people, retail/export globally and expand Africa’s footprint in the global fashion gross domestic product.
What are the challenges you have faced since you started your business?
Some of the challenges I have faced are the same challenges peculiar to Nigeria as a nation. These challenges range from corruption to lack of stable electricity to under-developed infrastructure to low standards of educational strength in graduates. It was unfavourable to our business growth when the price of diesel hiked up earlier this year and I’m sure that enactment also affected a lot of other small and medium businesses. Similarly, I have had to enact training programs for all new graduates hired into Dressmeoutlet.com. We have also increased the minimum requirements for any applicant to be able to secure a career opportunity with Dressmeoutlet.com. We are competitively seeking out the best graduates from selected universities nationwide. MBAs and Masters’ degree holders are strongly encouraged to apply for positions with Dressmeoutlet.com.
How have you leveraged on technology to grow your business?
E-commerce is a technology based business. We utilize barcoding systems in the warehouse, our entire process of converting a physical product to a digital product is technology-based; from quality analytics to SKU development to photography. Our website is built with the strongest platform and we partner with technology-based service providers for our internet and logistics needs.
You have won several awards notable among them is the Future Awards Nigeria for Best Use of Advocacy in 2007. You have also been identified as one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes. How does it feel to be recognized for your work?
It feels great and I appreciate every step of this rewarding journey. The sleepless nights are so worth it, at the end of the day, I don’t need to be reminded why I do what I do. I want everyone around me to excel, I want Africa to boom, I want the African fashion industry to catch up with global brands.
How have you been able to manage running your business and family life?
My family remains the most important aspect of my life. My husband and children mean the world to me. I love waking up to them, I love coming home to them. I love the support, love and encouragement we give each other. There’s nothing like family. Every woman is armed foremost, with the responsibility to take care of her family. That remains my foremost ambition.
You founded Nigeria’s leadership program Top 100 Our Generation in 2007. What is it about?
Top 100 Our Generation is an annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Conference geared at bringing together the selected top 100 brightest youth leaders in Nigeria to come together and brainstorm on tackling the nation’s most pressing challenges. After a few years of running Top 100 Our Generation, we merged with Future Initiatives Nigeria run by Dapo Lam Adesina who is now a member of the House of Reps in Nigeria. Members of Top 100 Our Generation are currently high-flying in various industries in Nigeria and beyond.
Many young ladies in Africa look up to you and want to start their own businesses. Do you plan to train young women who want to start their own organizations?
I definitely plan and love to train other women leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs. Dressmeoutlet.com’s employees know that I do not want them to be me or be like me, I want them to be greater than me. I want to see many more women realizing their highest potentials in life. With so doing, I hope for a trickle-down effect on leadership into younger generations. Let’s move away from the only-I mentality to the all-of-us mentality. This is achievable. Additionally, in line with supporting aspiring female entrepreneurs, Dressmeoutlet.com recently established our Creative Entrepreneurs Program which provides business support, consultation and funding to high-potential creative entrepreneurs across Africa. It is a highly selective program to get into and we are continuously accepting applications on a rolling basis.
What advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?
Push your dreams; don’t let anything stop you from doing anything great for the world. Whatever you want to achieve, go for it, let your desires come from your heart and then ride the waves steadfastly until you have achieved the greatest fruition.