5 Steps that will help African designers start their online brand

Africa is growing and evolving and so are the business opportunities. With over one billion people living on the continent and over 400 million people actively using the internet, there is an excellent potential for building a platform in fashion e-commerce, especially for young designers.

Online shopping is by far the most comfortable and most convenient way to shop. The Virtual store never closes, creating a 24-hour opportunity for customers to purchase. Imagine selling in your sleep!
The online business is thriving like never before, and an ending is nowhere near in sight. We come home after work, we order that beautiful dress for the wedding next weekend, and within a couple of days, it arrives at our doorstep. But is something that became so self-evident in Europe, also possible in Africa? Many believe not.

One of the hurdles especially Africa has to deal with in e-commerce is winning the customers trust.
In e-commerce, gaining trust is achieved by reliable shipment and delivery. The worst scenario for a customer is paying for something that never arrives. So for young designers in Africa building a business in fashion e-commerce, it is essential to know and use dependable post.
Sadly most postal offices in Africa lack this much-needed reliability, and as a result, more expensive postal services like DHL are required to make ends meet. Which means, in conclusion, a higher price on goods.
And what consumers all around the globe want are products at a reasonable price with good quality.

If selling your creations online is something you feel passionate about, and you are willing to overcome these hurdles and put in all your time and energy in building your online empire, we have five steps that will help you get started.

Step #1: Research your way to success
First of all, if you want to get into the fashion e-commerce business, you have to gather as much knowledge as possible. Search the web and read everything you can find, about building an online store.

Step #2: Your Niche
One of the most important things is to know your niche and your customers. The better you know your customers and where you fit in, the higher is your chance of creating something they will like and buy.
Building a platform in fashion e-commerce requires lots of patience and dedication. So be sure to know why you are doing this and if it’s something you want to do.
Your motivation and your products have to be 100% authentic, 100% you.

Step #3: Commitment
There are two sides to building your brand: the creative side and the business side. Naturally, not everyone can master both. If you find one side to be significantly more challenging than the other, find someone that can give you a hand. So you can concentrate on what you are good at, to stay focused and motivated.

Step #4: Set up your store
To set up your online store, you will have to research online store builders and find one that matches your needs. Make sure to use an online store builder that makes your shopping experience as easy as possible on any device.

Step #5: Promote and grow your brand
Once you have set up and opened your online store, that alone won’t guarantee sales. To attract and win customers you will have to build brand awareness on social media and create quality content about your products. Again this will require research, for you to gain knowledge on how to grow your brand and make it successful.

Building your own online shop will be challenging and will need your full dedication, but if you put your mind to it, you will be able to have great success and sell your clothes and creations all over the globe. So get started!



Picture from, Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite