Interview with Sophia Ike-Onu, founder The5kShop (Concluding part)



Here’s the beginning part of the interview.

Jumia, Konga, Obeezi are all competitors. Share with us on how you have been able to stand out and keep loyal customers despite their (competitors) financial strength.

Our unique selling point is the VALUE we create which partially ties into our price point. We have been able to give our shoppers quality that would cost them 3-4x the price elsewhere at our price. Although, we have our name trademarked, it has not stopped some big online retailers from trying to create 5kShop sub categories on their websites. However, the content features things like usb chords, flash drives, old season fashion pieces etc. They don’t get that it’s not about the name, it’s really about the value you are creating for the customer.

Another reason is because we do not only sell our own label, we also carry other Nigerian brands as long as they meet our quality expectation and are under N5000 ofcourse so we serve as a curated platform for affordable Nigerian fashion which is in very high demand. Why go through countless SKUs and pricing low to high when you are sure everything is under N5000 with us. We are also big on data mining and we use these insights to our advantage, we understand fashion retail and retail psychology and most importantly, we understand the average fast fashion shopper’s buying pattern.  The online retailers mentioned above sell general goods, our niche is in fashion so we can better tailor our marketing to focus and celebrate just that.

In a few more years, how big do you picture the5kshop?

I see us operating a hybrid retail model, which would see us combining online and brick and mortar retail with stores across major cities in Africa. I am also very optimistic about our home grown label, T5S. We currently offer worldwide shipping in 5 working days and we have shipped to over 10 countries but we need to increase our export quota. Which would mean convincing potential international shopper they can trust this African business so working with more influencers  would definitely be key for us.

Asides fashion, is the5kshop planning to venture into other aspects like smartphones, accessories, gadgets?

We have currently some phone accessories, home solutions and wall decals on the site from some retailers. We don’t plan on producing them ourselves if thats what you are asking but if a retailer wants to stock such items, they are welcome once they pass our quality vetting.

You once opined that we have not even scratched the surface of online retail in Nigeria. Do you still hold this view?

I think I made that statement about 2 years ago and yes, it is still valid. Like I said earlier , we still love the traditional way of shopping and that is influenced by so many factors that ecommerce faces in Africa, poor infrastructure , illiteracy, lack of trust etc. We are making good progress though and people are beginning to embrace it as a legit way of doing business. A milestone for us as a company was when we stopping accepting payment on delivery, a lot of people advised us against it but its been over 2 years now and our revenue did not dip but we acquired even more customers.

Asides the5kshop, which other startup do you manage?

I am also creative director for our clothing line T5S , between that and managing The5kShop, there is really no time.

How well have you been able to ma nage work and family effectively? Does one affect the other?

These two are very important to me, family more than work definitely but I am constantly striving to find that balance. Thankfully I have very understanding parents and siblings who check up on me when they feel i have been distant.

As a lady, do say a few words to other ladies hoping to take the entrepreneurship mantle like you did.

I always say this, enterpreneurship is not for everybody, the important thing is to find your passion and hopefully that can solve a problem and generate revenue.

Now if you believe entrepreneurship is for you and you think your business is solving a problem, draw up a plan , know your target market, seek out the right connections