Onyinye Ndupu, a 27-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur, speaks on fashion, her business – The Drip Crib- and how she helps her clients remain fashionable on a budget.
Ms Ndupu, a graduate of Library and Information Science at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, is also a fashion stylist and a personal shopper.
When she is not out in the market shopping for her clients, she is styling women of different shapes and fashion preferences with the use of an App. This helps her clients make suitable fashion choices.
PT: At what point did you decide to become an entrepreneur? What was the defining moment for you?
Onyinye: To be honest, for a long time, I believed being an entrepreneur was not my thing. I used to describe myself as a ‘9(am) to 5(pm)’ girl. But sometime in 2020, something changed. Maybe it was COVID and the lockdown. I don’t know what exactly, but I decided that I would not hold myself back from trying out multiple things till I decide what stays and what goes.
PT: As a young lady in a society where it is mainly believed that after school, you should get yourself a job, how was your family’s reaction to your decision?
Onyinye: Well, the truth is, with me, there is rarely a “Will you support or agree?”
I make my own decisions, act on them and then bring my family members up to speed. So it’s usually a, “Oh, is this what we are doing now?” with me.
But they are pretty supportive of everything I do.
PT: How has the journey been? What is doing business like in Nigeria?
Onyinye: I think the word I would use to describe how it has been is – interesting. You wouldn’t understand how broken the system is until you venture into a business in Nigeria. It is indeed the survival of the fittest.
There have been times that I wanted to leave everything and dust my CV. And there have also been times when I look at the work I do, and I am genuinely proud of myself. So, like every other thing, the entrepreneur life has had its ups and downs, but it’s been amazing to experience it all.
PT: How did you come up with your business name, The Drip Crib? It has this ‘Gen-Z vibe to it.
Onyinye: It was pretty easy. I have always preached the drip gospel, and in social media lingua, drip means being fashionable. If you dress well, it is said that you are dripping. So, when I wanted to choose a business name, I named it The Drip Crib, which loosely translates to: House of Fashion.
PT: On a scale of one-10, how open do you think Nigerians are to having a stylist manage their wardrobes and appearances and having a personal shopper?
Onyinye: I would say six.
Six, because many people are still not open to the idea of someone shopping for them and styling them. Also, the people who do understand sometimes feel awkward about admitting that they did not come up with their gorgeous outfits on their own.
PT: How has your experience been, so far, in this line of business?
Onyinye: My experience with personal styling and managing people’s wardrobes has been amazing. I love my clients, and every time I compare their fashion before I came into the picture, I feel so proud of myself.
There are challenges, of course. But so far, I have been having a good run.
PT: You do a lot of other things on the side. You are also into the sale of skincare products. How has this particular line of business been?
Onyinye: Skincare is a huge market, and I haven’t fully tapped it. I still have some plans for the skincare arm of my business. There are a lot of unhealthy skincare products out there, and people use them because they think they don’t have any choice. I am bringing them the unlimited options they can pick from.
PT: What one-word advice would you give a young person trying to start a business in Nigeria?
Onyinye: Be patient.
If you are impatient, I think you should stick to your office job and climb the social ladder from there. Growing a business is hard, and if you have no patience for the slow beginning, you cannot last.
So it would be best if you were patient with yourself and with the business.
PT: How do you balance your time and your businesses?
Onyinye: Honestly, I don’t think there will ever be balance in that sense of the word. But I try my best to manage my time properly because aside from my business, I work full time as a social media manager for two brands. So, I try to manage my time properly. I have to.
Failure to do so would mean my business suffering or me losing my job.
It’s not easy, but I try to find balance.
PT: I have engaged your services a couple of times, and I can say your customer service skills are commendable.
I also know that in this line of business, trust is required, both on the side of the client and the service provider. There may be lots of cancelling of deals, some of which you have already ventured into, with your money.
However, in all of these, what would you say is your biggest challenge yet?
Onyinye: My biggest challenge, I would say, has always been our delivery system, that is, the dispatch riders and other logistics companies.
Every small business owner in Nigeria knows that these people are the bane of small businesses.
I still have not entirely solved this problem, but soon.
PT: What is the bigger picture for your business, say, in five years?
Onyinye: I intend to grow my business into a big online store where everyone can easily access my website to get whatever they need.
I also will find my footing in tech.
PT: That’s interesting. If you were to get a grant, in what arm of your businesses would you invest?
Onyinye: My Skincare business. There is a lot of money to be made in that aspect, but I do not have the capital I need to grow it.
PT: Given such a tight schedule, how do you unwind? What is your leisure pursuit?
Onyinye: I love to sing, so I attend a lot of karaoke. I also love reading, so I read lots of books and watch a lot of movies.
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