Interview with OLATORERA ONIRU, CEO DRESSMEOUTLET
Editor’s Note: DressMeOutlet.com is one of Africa’s fastest growing, fashion-focused, quality-focused and customer-centric online retailer. DressMeOutlet retails designer apparel and accessories with over 40% of their products made-in-Africa. DressMeOutlet offers lightning-fast delivery to customers in the United States, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and other countries. Olatorera was featured by FORBES and GUARDIAN and today, The Total Entrepreneurs have the privilege to interview the CEO of Dress Me Outlet, Mrs Olatorera Oniru, an accomplished entrepreneur and a development speaker.
In the first part of this interview, Olatorera shared with The Total Entrepreneurs about her humble beginning, accomplishments, entrepreneurial journey, challenges and in the second part, she talked about her opinion on being an entrepreneur, how she cope during hard times, what it took her to succeed and advice to prospective startups.
CAN WE GET TO MEET YOU?
My name is Olatorera Oniru. I am an assiduous entrepreneur passionate about all things Africa. As CEO of Dressmeoutlet.com, I am currently leading 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. I am a member of The National Scholars Honor Society USA. I have worked for two Fortune Top 5 companies namely Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. I also worked for one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Lars Magnus Ericsson, as a global consultant and later as Head of Sales Governance. During the course of my employed years, I traveled to over 50 cities in over 10 countries in 4 continents.
I love to speak on change, entrepreneurship and development. I have been involved with many prestigious leadership events with the aim of seeing Africa transitioned into one of the world’s fastest growing economies. I founded Nigeria’s foremost leadership program, Top 100 Our Generation, in 2007; a company that brought together and inspired many of today’s young leaders. I was nominated by the Future Nigeria Awards for Best Use of Advocacy in 2007 and was a finalist for Hearst Corporation’s ‘Cover girl of the year’ award in 2008. While in college, I served as a senator for academic affairs and founded the Association of African Students. I am currently a member of Lionesses of Africa and Africa’s Best.
I have a scholarship-based Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the prestigious Emory University USA and Executive Management Certificates from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden and International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland.
Olatorera Oniru’s Passion includes: Entrepreneurship, retail development, economic development, creativity, innovation, poverty alleviation, good governance and happy people.
Dressmeoutlet.com commenced full operations in January 2016 and is constantly growing.
HOW DID YOU BUILD UP AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT, DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WERE BORN WITH IT OR YOU DEVELOPED IT?
What I’m sure I was born with is the love for people, the yearn for greatness and the passion for Africa. What I was able to develop along the way through education would be the financial acumen, business knowledge and technology mastery needed to grow and excel in the e-commerce industry.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BUSINESS?
Dressmeoutlet.com went live on January 1st, 2016. We have been in operations for 7 months now.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU FACED AT THE EARLY STAGES OF YOUR BUSINESS? AND DO YOU STILL ENCOUNTER THEM TO THIS DAY?
The main challenges faced were centered on catching up with international level of quality and excellence. I have a very low tolerance for anything not close to perfect at Dressmeoutlet. I believe customer service and the products being retailed should be as close to perfect as possible as that is one sure way to ensure customer loyalty and returns. It is a bit difficult to come close to perfection in a country like Nigeria where the educational system has failed many, infrastructure is poor making it difficult for people to come on time to work, electricity is not stable, internet connectivity is slow and many other issues still plaguing the nation in 2016. Nonetheless, at Dressmeoutlet, we aim to avoid excuses and work as hard as possible towards achieving set goals regardless of status quo beyond our control.
STYLISH OLATORERA ONIRU
WHAT IS YOUR STAFF STRENGTH?
We currently have over 20 employees at Dress me outlet and are hiring daily.
“Learn, learn, learn and work, work, work. That’s pretty much it. Knowledge and experience yield power. Power is expertise” – Olatorera Oniru
IF YOU COULD TURN THE TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO DO BETTER IN REGARDS TO YOUR BUSINESS?
Right now, in all honesty, nothing! We’ve worked super hard and we continue to work super hard. We have a great team of relentlessly ambitious people at Dressmeoutlet.com. I’m content, if not super happy, with the results to date. We want to and will continue growing exponentially.
DO YOU THINK IT IS EASY TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Of course not but it is very rewarding and most often enjoyable. So enjoyable most times that when I’m into it I keep going, giving up sleep just to continuing seeing greater results. Being an entrepreneur requires relentless tenacity. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but for those who find it to be their true calling, it is enjoyable.
WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING EVEN IN HARD TIMES?
My family means everything to me. Usually all I need is to see, hear, cuddle or be with my husband and kids and I’m fully renewed.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ESPECIALLY IN AN ECONOMY WHERE JOBS ARE HARDER TO FIND?
Entrepreneurship is very essential and we need as many young people with true passions for entrepreneurship delving into it as much as possible. Start from somewhere and work your way up to the top of your passion, impacting lives and living your dreams.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS; DO YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE A SUCCESS?
Success is achieving your goals and maximizing your opportunities to yield results. Most successful people work very hard with the goal of helping others. Success therefore is living your life by impacting lives and being happy. Success is you defining your happiness in relations to helping other people. Yes, I’m happy. I go to work every single day and I’m happy going to work. Outside of work, I’m happy. I’m living my life and impacting lives.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS?
It takes relentless tenacity and a passion for people. Why are we retailing fashion and beauty at Dressmeoutlet? Because we want to help people look good and feel good. Why do we provide top notch customer service? Because we want to put a smile on our customers’ faces. Why do we dispatch all orders within 24 hours? Because we know that once a customer clicks “place order” on Dressmeoutlet, they eagerly anticipate touching the product they ordered. All our processes at Dressmeoutlet are centered on ensuring our customers have a seamless shopping experience. This is what it takes to succeed in business. Putting your customers at the frontline of your business decisions.
WHAT TWO PIECES OF ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO BECOME AN EXPERT IN THEIR CHOSEN FIELD?
Learn, learn, learn and work, work, work. That’s pretty much it. Knowledge and experience yield power. Power is expertise.
WHAT IS THE LAST ONE WORD ADVICE YOU WILL GIVE TO MY READERS WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCEEDING AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Give it all you’ve got and if for some reason you fail; you are a winner because you gave it all you’ve got. So now, what’s stopping you? Go for it!
End of Interview.
Thank you Mrs Olatrorera for your time, it has been a pleasure granting us this interview. We hope to have you as part of our network of motivational writers. Please, we would love to request you write a piece for TTE on entrepreneurship or business management anytime you have free time.
To get your lovely apparels and designer perfumes, visit DressMeOutlet.com and get your shopping delivered at your doorstep. You can also follow DressMeOutlet on Facebook.