CEO Weekends: Nigeria’s Wowyard.com Wants to be Africa’s Etsy

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Image credits:Etsy.com

Founded in Nigeria last year Wowyard.com is a creative platform for lovers of African fashion, art and craft and paintings. The platform connects the artists to the international market with an aim of giving them exposure and increasing their sales.

The founders, Iyke  Ijeh and Nancy Ijeh were inspired by the passion they saw in creative people, especially the fashion designers who were working hard but weren’t getting known or selling their stuff. So they decided to launch an Etsy-like platform to help promote art in Africa.

“When we launched Wowyard in September 2013, we wanted to get these people on one platform so we could take that responsibility of promoting them, then they can concentrate on their passion, which is creating,” Nancy told TechMoran.

“Yes we also know that many have their own websites, but how many are really functioning? How many can manage and promote their websites?” she added.

Wowyard gives the artists (fashion designers, art and craft dealers) a free homepage where they sign up for a profile, set up a shop and  upload photos of their products and then sell. The products appear on the homepage in the “latest products” section. The shops or Yard has the capacity for unlimited number of products with a maximum of fifteen on every page. A Yard owner can also use the sharing buttons in their Yard to share their products on social media.

Yard owners also get a reviews and feedback section where customers can communicate with or endorse the seller. Buyers can also contact sellers by calling or using the “contact seller “button to make offline transactions.
Wowyard also has its own ratings, the wow!, cool and ok buttons. The Yards with the highest number of wow!s usually have a spot in the “wow! Rated” section on the homepage.

For now, FrontPage listing and advertising and is set to go full eCommerce for its sixty sellers. Wowyard sees African fashion as an endangered species right now which needs to be protected, nourished and promoted and though there are a number of ecommerce sites that sell fashion, Wowyard wants to help them sell and promote African fashion and art.

With plans to be the go-to place for “African Fashion and Art Network”  the founders are working hard achieve their dream. They are everyday moved by the successes of firms like Iroko TV, Jumia, Konga and others and say its a good sign. They are also looking for seed funding to scale their operations. Some of their competitors include ShopSoko, Cirqy among others but the market in Africa is huge and there is need for more players. Competition also brings in quality and benefits the sellers and artists with better commissions.