“I KNOW A FEW THINGS ABOUT HOW TO DELIGHT A LADY......SO I DECIDED TO GO INTO THE BUSINESS OF HANDBAGS” – Josh Adeyemi
Josh Adeyemi is the CEO of Leisure Stores, an e-commerce website specializing in the finest handbags for ladies in Nigeria. In a special interview session tagged ‘SME 1000 Hotseat’, he talks about his business, major challenges, and how it feels to be a man running a business aimed at ladies.
Q: Josh... For the benefit of those who don't know... Tell us a bit about your business...
A: I am an Ecommerce merchant...simply put, I buy and sell ladies handbags online. The business started around 2015 but I have being into a lot of other stuff from when I was in primary school. The bag business started as an idea. I enjoy buying gifts for my wife. Sometimes, I get it right, while other times, I get it wrong (I’m sure some us understand what I mean). I noticed that I always get it right with handbags so I kept repeating it to the point when she (my wife) could predict I was always going to get her a bag, she was always looking forward to it. Let me just say that I know a few things about how to delight a lady. So I decided to go into the business of handbags.
Q: Josh... The name 'Leisure Stores'... What brought about the name?
A: I have always loved a stress-free life, a pleasurable life and working environment. So even shopping with us should be easy and fun.
Q: Buying bags as a gift is really different from buying for selling. What was the first thing you realized when you started the business? What struck you immediately as you started out?
A: I did some research on the market before starting. What struck me was the acceptance. When I started, I was the Customer Service person, the accountant, the dispatch e.t.c. So when ladies call and hear a man's voice....as in, A BIG MAN'S VOICE (People say I have a big man's voice), they are taken aback at first then they recover and buy.
Q: Starting out, what were the major challenges?
A: The major challenge was a guy in a largely ladies-dominated fashion business. Another major challenge was overcoming my fears. Fears like ‘Are you sure?’, ‘You are a guy o’, ‘Now that you have put everything in it.....what if it doesn't work?’.
Q: As an Online Store, how do you deal with Pay-On-Delivery people? Many have been duped.
A: We started with POD nationwide but later changed the system because we had too many unserious orders. So now we do POD in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. We also insist you pay at least the delivery fee before we ship. It was challenging at first but our customers have embraced it now.
Q: Selling online requires some skills and most times, buyers end up buying low quality products. How did you surmount this?
A: That is correct. We have bought some really terrible products before that we ended up using as gifts. We just could not sell them. What I do now is local sourcing and importation from only reliable suppliers. In addition, I’m very passionate about delighting the customers so I’m really involved in the buying and checking before it gets to the customer.
Q: As an ecommerce merchant (whose forte is online), have you tried using offline methods like having a small shop?
A: Hmmm..... that's a good question. I like to stay with what works and keep tweaking it to make it work better. With online, I can reach people beyond my environment. In fact, I can reach the world online but with a shop, I’m limited to my immediate environment. But I must confess that our customers have not stopped asking that same question.
Q: Any major payment challenge from clients?
A: When we started, it was just Konga, Jumia e.t.c that helped us to sell. It was not a payment issue but more of how they were handling our products and the transition times. It was that issue that led to us to start selling directly by ourselves. Customers pay us, we have never failed them. In fact, there are people who will pay us and take weeks to decide what they want to buy. They have learnt to trust us over time.
Q: You sell only ladies bags?
A: Yes, for now. Ladies buy multiple.
Q: Thought of running your own ecommerce site?
A: We already have one: www.leisurestore.com.ng. We are also active on social media (Facebook: Leisure Stores & IG: @leisurestores)
You can find Leisure Stores online through their website www.leisurestore.com.ng. You can also find them on social via Facebook (Leisure Stores) and on Instagram (@leisurestores). You can also contact Josh on 0803 438 9504.
The SME 1000 Hotseat is a weekly interview organized for SMEs under the Red Star SME 1000 platform. Business owners face questions from others in the group about their business. The session is aimed at providing avenues for collaboration among the businesses under the platform.
SME 1000 is an initiative by Red Star Express Plc to bring SMEs under its umbrella. These SMEs stand to enjoy logistics support and services of Red Star Express Plc. They will also have access to special offers regarding the products and services of the company. These SMEs will also be first in line for special business seminars and events organized by Red Star Express Plc.