Hello, wonderful folks of Ibadan, you are welcome to Made in Ibadan For this week. Our guest today is a popular Fashionista and Fashion Entrepreneur who has lived in various parts of Nigeria and in the United Kingdom. She is the CEO of Chelsdomm Boutique. In her chat with us she talks about, among other things, how she started her business eight years ago, the nexus between fashion and technology and her hopes for her business in particular and the Ibadan business scene in general. Read and enjoy.
Hello, Madam, Thanks For joining us on Made In Ibadan This Week
I am happy to do it. Thanks for coming here to chat with me
So, to get this chat started, can you tell us about Chelsdomm Boutiqu? Was it something you were passionate about, or something you just stumbled into?
What is now Chelsdomm Boutique started as a mobile business. I started the business about ten years ago when I used to live in the UK. Then whenever I visit Nigeria, I would buy clothes, bring them to Nigeria and sell them to students in various universities. My customers were students of the University of Ibadan, Lead City University, University of Lagos and so on. So my passion for fashion has been on for a while. Eight years ago, I decided I needed my own store. It was also around the time that I moved back to Nigeria. I started with a store at Alalubosa Junction combined with my Salon (currently opposite Zenith Bank Carpark at J-Allen, Dugbe, Ibadan). From there I moved to Heritage Mall Dugbe, before I moved here on a week ago.
How has the experience been trying to run a boutique in a city like Ibadan, especially in in your own case where your business is a high maintenance store in a high-end mall
Of course, every business has its own challenges regardless of the nature of that business or where it is situated. However, after ten years in the boutique and salon business, I have come to realize that no matter the kind of business you run, if you are willing to put in the required effort, it will surely yield results. The recession is affecting every business at the moment, and the increase in the exchange rate of the dollar and the pounds has created plenty of problems for the Nigerian economy. In all the years I have been doing business, I have always gone up, not down.
So You’ve been running a business in Ibadan for eight years and You have lived in Ibadan for four of them. You have also lived in the United Kingdom. What are your thoughts about the city of Ibadan as a viable place for business, especially as compared to cities like Lagos or Abuja where high-end shops like this are more common?
As a matter of fact, I grew up in Lagos, so I perfectly get what you are trying to say. Yes without mincing words, Ibadan is very slow, in fact, I would go as far to call it a sleepy town. However, I don’t believe that I will necessarily be more successful than I am in Ibadan, if I was in Lagos. My belief is that it doesn’t really matter where you live, if God wants you to be successful, you will be successful.
That said, Moving from a place like the UK, back to Nigeria, what really prompted that move?
(laughs) Well my husband moved back, so I had no choice really.
So what are the challenges you have faced, running a business in of this nature, with the costs of store space in Ibadan and Nigeria in general?
The challenges I have faced in running Chelsdomm Boutique have not been about Ibadan per se, or even the mall. They have been about the country itself. The exchange rate of the dollar and the pound is unnecessarily high, there is no money in the system. That is what the biggest challenge is right now not my location. If the economy is bad, there is nowhere your business can be that it will not still affect you.
What do you think about competition in the boutique business in Ibadan, especially as a lot of the people who sell products like yours do not have to incur some of your business costs like rent and all that?
Honestly speaking, the only competition I see is myself. So every single day, I try to innovate better than the day before. The truth is that whatever business you are doing, wherever you are, you will always find someone else in that line of business. The difference is that someone is bound to do that business better than the other person, and that makes the whole difference. So I do not see anything negative about competition, in fact, I think it has helped me to learn how to run my business better.
These days, there are so many great advances in technology, especially for business people, How high would you rate your own use of technology and IT facilities and the benefits that it has created in the running of your business?
I use technology a lot. I am very active on social media, especially Instagram. I have followers on Instagram from all over Nigeria, and I do deliveries every day. In fact, more than fifty percent of the goods I sell are online, not even to people in Ibadan, who come to buy directly. Social media has proved to be a big advantage for those of us business people who sell products.
So do you have any particular challenges with using technology to promote your business and what do you think digital agencies can be doing to help businesses grow?
Yes, I think the major challenge I have is data (for sharing stuff online). Data should be as cheap in Nigeria as it is in places like the UK. Also, the poor power supply is not also helping. On your question about how digital techies can help businesses grow. I have lived in the UK and I know that a lot of businesses over there have IT personnel that help them create their online stores and generally put their business out there on the internet, I think digital agencies in Nigeria should be doing that a lot more as well.
Again, you have done business in Ibadan for eight years and you have lived in the city for four of those years, what are your thoughts on the Ibadan business environment, generally.
I think Ibadan really needs something like a forum for business people, a place where business people can network and showcase their products and services. That would really have a lot of benefits for us entrepreneurs
So ever since you have started running your business, have you had any particular high points/success stories or any particular low points of note?
The main highpoint that I have is that my business is growing. When I look at where I started from ten years ago as a mobile seller, to being in a mall like this today, that is a really significant upgrade in status. As for low points, I don’t think I have had any that I can remember at the moment.
So finally, what do you hope to achieve with Chelsdomm in the future and what are your thoughts on the Ibadan business environment based on your observation of the city?
Well, the first step is to get my own brand. I hope I can do that within the next one year. I also wish to open more branches all over Ibadan for Chelsdomm boutique as time goes on. I hope to also open a male boutique very soon. As you can see, this is a female only boutique. I also hope I can open a children’s boutique as well very soon. But my immediate goal now is to create my own label. For Ibadan, I think things are changing, four or five years ago Ibadan did not have malls or shops of note. These days, we have like three or four malls, with more coming on the way. I think Ibadan’s business environment is changing and it will continue to change as time goes on.
Thank you very much for joining us today, It is really been eye opening and enjoyable having this chat with you.
it is my pleasure, thanks for stopping by to have this chat with me
Chelsdomm Boutique is situated at Shop UL 28 Palms Shopping Mall Ring Road Ibadan. The Company also has its Salon Opposite Zenith car park J Allen Dugbe, Ibadan You can call 08094698991 or send a WhatsApp message to 07051334327 for more info. They are also on Instagram