Over 73% of Nigeria’s population are low-income earners who spend their income on basic needs, such as feeding and housing. Some of them cannot even send their children to private schools. In this sense, clothing is the least of their worries.
Lastprice.ngis here to change the scenario, that low-income earners and students can wear the latest trends in fashion without breaking the bank. Simply put, this used clothing online business is a platform for ladies on a budget.
Here is the chat we had with the CEO of Lastprice.ng, Mr Herbert Obude and the COO, Miss Dolapo Lawal.
What is LastPrice all about?
Herbert: It is an online platform that provides pre-owned fashion; recycled items for ladies who are looking to buying affordable clothing online at the lowest price possible. It is using technology to bring used clothing to students, entry level and low-income earners in Nigeria.
When did the company start?
Herbert: We started last year under okrika.com. But over a month and a half, we rebranded into Lastprice.ng. Basically, we’d say we are a month and a half old now.
Is the platform just for women?
Herbert and Dolapo: Yes, for now
What challenges/obstacles have you encountered since its inception and which have you overcome?
Dolapo: Our major obstacles were brand awareness and marketing and we are still dealing with them. I won’t say we have completely overcome them, as we are still in the process.
Herbert: We are still trying to find a suitable module to use.
Dolapo: We are passionate about the business, so new ideas keep coming up- like how to deal with our challenges and we don’t mind going in one direction and if that doesn’t work, another direction is taken. We are still looking for ways and we are not giving up.
What made you take the risk of venturing into a business?
Herbert: For me, I have worked in several places, had years of experience in different sectors such as aviation, fashion, geographical information system (GIS) and quality control. But I have always wanted to do something for myself. So, when I got back to Nigeria, I made efforts to study the fashion industry itself and discovered that there was a problem when it comes to availability of clothes. And there was a decision to do what hasn’t been done before.
Yes, used clothing is epic, but it hasn’t been the day we are doing it now, that is using tech to make it pretty convenient, accessible and affordable for people who want to get them on a budget. For that reason, it is something very intriguing. The market is really big, estimated to be over a 2-billion-dollar market.
Dolapo: I’m doing this business because I have experienced going to the local market to get used clothing as I couldn’t afford the new one. I have basically lived through the process. The next generation does not have to come and go through the same thing, they should be like they got used clothing online. This generation has to pave way for the one coming. I’m here because I want the story to be told differently. Changing the narrative of used clothing in Nigeria is what we want to achieve here at Last Price.
How are you able to fund your business?
Herbert: Funding is essential to scale one’s business and that’s why people for investments. We started this business just to test it as a better version to see if it’s valid and if there’s a demand for it. So, we started with just ₦20,000, having just a WordPress platform; from there, we pushed it without any marketing and we were able to grow the business to a specific amount of fraction. Now that we have seed funding from Ventures Platform, we want to use the advantage for brand awareness.
What is the most influential factor in your business success?
Herbert: It is capturing the market; making people understand there is a better way to do this, which is staying in the comfort of their homes and be able to get these items online at very affordable prices.
How many employees do you currently have?
Dolapo: It is just the two of us, but we are outsourcing our graphics and technical team.
Has your mission changed from when you started?
Dolapo: People have been trying to change it over and over again but we are sticking to it- which is getting used clothing items from Nigerians and selling it to students and low-income earners.
Herbert: We believe that items can be created within our community as there are more than enough that can circulate and this will help to increase revenue internally in the country.
Do you have any mistakes you have made as an entrepreneur?
Dolapo: Yes, we have made a lot of mistakes.
Herbert: That is why we are entrepreneurs.
Dolapo: I believe those mistakes made us grow and at the same time, learn. One of the mistakes we have made is hiring the wrong employees trusting them to execute and deliver, while in turn wasted our time and money. That is why we don’t have staff right now because we are doing what we paid those people for, ourselves.
Herbert: That is one thing, another is not trying certain things earlier. There were certain ideas we wanted to try out, but we had people discourage us against them even though they might actually work.
But from now, we hope we will only do better and see how we can push forward and do things at the appropriate time.
What is your greatest moment of success so far?
Herbert: For me, it is being accepted into 3 different accelerated programs. And I think that was something that validated our validated our business was good, and then it was left to us to choose. That was a very big step for our company.
Dolapo: Oh yeah. They were Ventures Platform, FastLaunch and IdeaHub, we eventually chose Ventures Platform.
What is your marketing approach like?
Dolapo: Right now, we are trying something new, but it is our secret source, so we won’t reveal it yet. What we can say is that we are communicating directly with the consumers of used clothing items.
Herbert: We have gone on-air, done fliers, exhibitions and social media marketing.
How do you deal with competitors in the market or you have none?
Dolapo: We do not really have any direct competitors as they are no other websites that do the same thing we do, but our indirect competitors are Instagram sellers, the Yaba local market. We are basically the first in this used clothing online business and if we are able to capture the market, the sky is our starting point; we are big dreamers like that.
Your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up on your dreams, let your passion drive you. You shouldn’t settle for less and the sky will be your beginning.