Hardly would you find any Nigerian who doesn’t like to celebrate every single achievement. When you think of planning a party in Nigeria, the first thing that comes to mind is Aso ebi. Aso ebi allows Nigerians to flaunt the Nigerian culture in gorgeous styles and radiant colors.
What is Aso ebi?
Aso ebi literally means family’s wear. It is a uniform clothing traditionally worn in Nigeria and some parts of West Africa to show cooperation and solidarity during celebrations and festive periods. It serves as a form of self-identification with age mates, relatives or friends during social occasions. It makes events colorful and gives guests a sense of belonging. The fabrics usually tagged Aso ebi includes Ankara, Guinea, lace, George, Atiku, Aso-oke, and lots more.
How to Start Aso Ebi Business in Nigeria
To start an Aso ebi business in Nigeria, you need to arm yourself with the following tips.
1. Know Your Niche
Knowing who your target customers are and how to access them will go a long way in making your Aso ebi business a successful one. Specializing in a particular niche is important and helps you stand out. Determine who your target customers are- the elderly vs. the youths, male vs. female.
Also, determine what kind of fabric you want to sell. Some men do not like lace because they believe it’s heavy and can’t be worn after the event. However, Ankara works for both sexes and looks good too.
2. Know the Latest Trends
As much as you’d like to pick other fabrics favorable to you, it’s important to note that a successful Aso ebi seller must be aware of the latest trends. A trend is determined by branding and name, a manufacturer’s name or logo, or a particular design currently favored by people.
This, therefore, allows dealers to increase the price and make as much profit as possible till another fabric dominates the market. To have an idea of latest Aso ebi trends, check Bella Naija and Instagram, and even the slightly overlooked Pinterest. These three sources are sure to be a life-saver whenever you are in doubt.
3. Know the Manufacturers
To succeed in Aso ebi business in Nigeria, you need to look beyond the surface. Having a good eye for good fabric, and knowing which is suitable for what occasion is a handy trick you must have. Take time to make research about manufacturers of various Aso ebi fabrics.
Get information about the cost of production, process involved, design and quality of fabric. Having a trusted dealer is also a major way to break into the Nigerian Aso ebi market faster.
Some Aso ebi fabrics go out of stock faster than others. For instance, a particular design could be available in the market now, only for it to be scarce or totally unavailable after two to three weeks. To ensure you’re one step ahead of your game, met dealers and make deposits on the designs your customers want. That way, you’ve secured its availability when it’s finally printed. Even your customers will love you for never failing them.
This is an age-old trick some might not know- when you but Aso ebi fabrics in bulk quantities, you pay at a cheaper price than when bought in smaller quantities.
6. Know Your Source
Aso ebi fabrics produced outside Nigeria tend to be more expensive. While the costs of fabrics imported from countries like Ghana, Cotonou, Sierra Leone, Turkey, and even China might not be overly expensive, the high cost of import duties, taxes, transportation costs and delivery charges makes it very expensive when it finally gets to Nigeria. However, you could still get quality fabrics like Ankara in Lagos and Kano.
7. Get Experience
Starting Aso ebi business in Nigeria is no easy feat. Working as an intern or apprentice with an Aso ebi dealer will not only give you the necessary experience needed in this kind of business, but also ensure that you kick start your business on a good footing.
Popular places in Lagos with a lot of Aso ebi dealers include Aswani, Idumota, Balogun, and Oshodi. Gbagi market in Ibadan is also a very popular place to get the required experience.
8. Make Your Calculations
After getting the required experience needed to start your business, the next point of action is to decide how to start your business. You will need a bit of mathematics here though. Ensure you include the cost of starting your business, logistics, location and other variables when making your calculations.
9. Start your Business
Depending on the level of funds you have, you could either start on a long-scale or small-scale. The key is to having commitment and determination. While the beginning might be rough, being focused and not giving up will eventually pay off.
10. Market Your Business
No matter how quality your fabrics, if you don’t market your business, you are on the path to failure. Check out the following tips to marketing your business
- Sell online: join Facebook groups and online sales platforms to drive sales to your clothes
- Who says mobile phones are only for posting cutest pictures and selfies? They can be business tools if you know how to use them. Send SMS, texts, whatsapp chats, bbm chats to attract sales to your Aso ebi business.
- Why have an Aso ebi business when you can’t flaunt their radiance and gorgeousness? Open an Instagram page and post stunning pictures of the fabrics in your store.
- Make delivery stress-free for your customers.
- Put up ads in notable blogs like Linda Ikeji’s Blog, and Typearls
- Partner with event planners, wedding/bridal experts and other professionals in related industries to assist you in telling their clients and referrals.
- Attend business trainings, and sessions targeting marketing and sourcing for clients to help you build your brand.
- Engage the services of fashion bloggers, fashion photographers and fashion influencers (if you can afford them). One alternative method to making fashion influencers advertise your fabric is to give them for free.
11. Keep Your Customers Happy
The importance of a good customer relation cannot be overemphasized. Treat your clients nicely and make them feel special. When you treat them well, they will definitely come back and refer others. However, if the reverse is the case- suffice it to say that your business is on the brink to failure.