Aderonke Abiona: Helping creative entrepreneurs launch their online store
Aderonke Abiona, is an online store expert and e-commerce entrepreneur. She has a B.Eng. in Computer Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and an MSc. in Wireless Communication Systems from Brunel University, West London. A co-founder of several niche product brands which include Bambiano, Nicole and Giovanni Socks and Tonami’s Creations.
In an e-interview, she tells Alaba Ayinuola of Africans Building Africa about her passion to work with creative entrepreneurs who want to make the best of their gifts and time to build profitable and sustainable online stores, reduce the rate of unemployment and also produce better informed entrepreneurs who can easily be at par with their foreign counterparts.
1. Tell us about yourself and your business
My name is Aderonke Abiona. I am an eCommerce entrepreneur, innovation specialist, an online store expert. I have co-founded several niche product brands such as Bambiano, Nicole and Giovanni Socks and Tonami’s Creations. Our products have been well received in over 30 states in Nigeria.
We recently launched the Nicole and Giovanni brand in the United States enabling us to meet the demands in North America, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Currently, we have requests from distributors in some African countries.
I also run an online education platform TEBA where I help several creative entrepreneurs to transition from having product ideas to launching profitable and sustainable online stores.
2. How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
My husband and I are business partners and the capital for our very first business Bambiano was from our savings. We reinvest into the business and new brands.
3. What are some of the challenges face in your business and how do you overcome those challenges?
When I started in 2013, the major challenge was the lack of time because I was still working my 9-5 job. I dreaded the hours spent in lengthy meetings and traffic because it left me with minimal time to invest in my business and family. After a well thought out strategy, I quit my day job last year and the current challenges include the unstable forex situation in the country which we have now been able to hedge against, finding reliable and time conscious vendors and dependable payment systems.
This Story is sponsored by: Abel Communications
4. Where do you see your businesses in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today o reach that objective?
Wow! In the next 5 years I’d have helped well over 1,000 creative entrepreneurs to launch their online stores and my product brands will have distributors in 50 countries and deliver worldwide. I also see us winning awards for innovation and creativity.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
Africa is a green land filled with opportunities and wiling entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to start a business, ensure you engage in smart mentorship, valuable networking and systemic coaching to enable you to build a strong and influential brand. There is no wisdom in intentionally making mistakes or failing. Leverage on the experiences of those who have been there.
Those looking to invest in Africa need to engage in the right discussions with seasoned entrepreneurs and have a good eye to decipher brands with great prospects from those who are strictly profit making ventures. A good investment will be in one who has a committed hands, good structure, great research metrics, consistent book keeping habits and is equipped to scale.
6. How is the Academy participating to the development of Africa?
Our businesses are founded basically with the goal of developing our environment and influence our world. As Africans living in Africa, we are constantly seeking ways to do better. Our sock brand tells the African story wherever we go in the world. Our mission is to change the narrative by raising awareness to the fact that great things reside in Africa. We intentionally gave the socks African names to foster our indigenous culture.
My educational brand is also geared towards educating and equipping Africans to build profitable, sustainable and influential online stores. Revenue in the “e-commerce” market amounted to US$16,651m in 2017 and the number of users is expected to amount to 92.7m by 2022 according to “Statistica”
The goal is to reduce the rate of unemployment and also produce better informed entrepreneurs who can easily be at par with their foreign counterparts.