We talked to Olajumoke Lawoyin of Lucy.ng about branded merchandise on demand and here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: My family and I are doing well, thank you. As we all know, it’s been a tough and unprecedented year across the globe, and we are all looking forward to a more promising year in 2021.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lucy.ng.
Olajumoke Lawoyin: I’m a fund formation attorney and an entrepreneur at heart who has always had the desire to create solutions to problems, especially social-economic ones. I love Yoga, traveling, and going on adventures.
Lucy.ng was founded in 2015 when we decided to throw a party to celebrate my mum’s birthday. And as it is the culture in this part of Africa to gift your guest gifts and souvenirs, we wanted to buy them online but found no one catering to this need. We had a light bulb moment, and Lucy.ng was launched.
How does Lucy.ng innovate?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: Lucy.ng is an online wholesale and retail tech company that makes it easy for individuals and businesses to buy branded merchandise on demand. We have created a platform that aggregates products from various manufacturers and wholesalers (locally and internationally), shipping and logistics partners, and printing and branding partners to create a one-stop-shop solution for individuals and businesses who need branded merchandise on demand.
We create bespoke, and custom made items for companies in various sectors and across all industries. We create and distribute value by enabling commerce within an ecosystem of manufacturers, wholesalers, designers, logistics companies, and end-users.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: The pandemic has affected how business is done globally. Although we run a drop-ship model, we have had to modify our marketing and operations in line with Covid-19 directives. Our business is somewhat dependent on the importation, so the lockdown adversely affected us. There was a total ban on social gatherings and corporate events; this reduced our revenue for some months in 2020. However, we restructured and added a new product called LUCYPRO, which provides equipment, gadgets, and accessories for everyone and anyone to work remotely and comfortably from home. Of course, the new line’s inspiration came from the remote working culture, which was forced on us globally by the pandemic. We were inspired to create a one-stop-shop solution that can help anyone assembly a home office right from the comfort of their home.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: Yes, we did. We had to make tough decisions to reduce a little on staff strength, cut down on expenses and manage our operating cost as much as possible. We also had to stall on our launch in 3 major African countries in 2020.
The pandemic gave us a clearer vision of our reach as a brand, we think more globally now, and we are forced to push the brand more online using social media and optimizing via a search engine.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Lucy.ng in the future?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: Thankfully, I have my family close by, and I spend more time with them, especially my nieces. I do yoga and catch up with friends when I can.
In 2021 as a brand, we plan to expand to 3 African countries where we already have existing customers and build our team, stay visible on social media and engage and improve on our product line to drive up sales as more than ever before the internet is the ultimate channel for brand projection and recognition.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: We have quite a number of them, and they are increasing. The branded merchandise market in Africa especially is in its infancy and growing. We stay in the game, and we stand out because we have built and are still building a brand that is centered on meeting our client’s needs. We are innovative and very customer-centric.
Your final thoughts?
Olajumoke Lawoyin: Commerce is central to human existence and sustenance. E-commerce creates convenience and access to the market, and Africa must continue to model itself to adapt to its unique market terrain. The Pandemic brought on changes to our lifestyles, and one of the major changes in the complete reliance on the internet for commerce. It is critical to pay attention to these changes and adapt. The world has gone completely digital, and Africa can’t be left behind.