Interview with an International Entrepreneur

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Oduntan Oyefuga is ambitious. She lives in South Africa, runs a business in Nigeria and works in a full time job. She mentioned that out of Nigeria comes her largest customer patronage. Oduntan shares from her entrepreneurship journey and how the political uncertainties affect her business. #Party in a Pack (www.partyinapack.com). Enjoy! 

TO: Oduntan, at what point during your transition- from working at PWC London, to relocating to South Africa, and now working in Governance and Compliance- did ‘Party in a Pack’ come together?

OD: The idea came to me while on holiday with my brother and his family. I had noticed how sometimes mothers (and fathers) find it difficult to put an unforgettable party pack together for their child’s party. My sister in-law encouraged me to turn the idea into a business, and so ‘Party in a Pack’ was born!

 

TO: How long have you been in business?

OD: I have been running ‘Party in a Pack’ for close to four years. The business has passed the teething stage; we have a strong customer base and reliable suppliers.

 

TO: Was it difficult starting?

OD: I had lots of support from friends and family, and from one of our ‘Party in a Pack’ initiative’s (Ebunoluwa), which is the Santa Shoebox Nigeria project for the less privileged children. We also received some support from partner companies but other than that no support has been received from other regulatory bodies or organisations in Nigeria.

 

TO: What challenges are affecting the growth of your business today?

OD: I would say the exchange rate keeps fluctuating, which affects the prices we have quoted on our website. Secondly, getting items into Nigeria has been very difficult, because of the cost of delivery from other countries into Nigeria. The market is also flooded with cheap imitations of children’s party gifts, which make our products appear over-priced. Lastly, the on-going political mayhem has stalled our orders over the past few weeks. The business culture in Nigeria and the economic instability amid other ethical issues have a direct impact on supply and demand.

 

TO: The comparison of nascent entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Ghana indicates that SA may have a lot of catching up to do. Is it easy to start a business in SA and is it easy to grow one?

OD: South Africa has its challenges in relation to setting up a new business. From the regulatory and compliance perspective, the systems are in place. However the difficulty is growing the business. The market is quite saturated with other providers so one needs to build a client base and ensure that your products stand out.

 

TO: What is your growth trajectory for ‘Party in a Pack’? Is there a possible expansion to SA?

OD: Right now our main focus is really on marketing and publicity, with a focus on the Nigerian market. We do have a small client base in South Africa and the UK and we will continue to cater to any interest from these countries. However our focus is Nigeria for now, as Nigeria has our largest patronage.

 

TO: How do you monitor operations in Nigeria?

OD: We live in an age of technology where a lot is possible remotely. I am in touch with a lot of the clients by phone but I do have volunteers and family who help with putting the products together and delivering directly to the client. We are also able to monitor hits on the website, and monitor who reads the newsletter with various e-resources.

 

TO: One business mistake you learnt from?

OD: Promising an unrealistic deadline when shipping items from outside Nigeria. Anything can happen with the customs so be prepared!

 

TO: Thank you OD! It was lovely chatting with you.

OD: Thank you Titi, same here.

<a href=”http://catalystmag.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Titi-Bio-21.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-2832 alignleft” src=”http://catalystmag.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Titi-Bio-21.jpg” alt=”Titi-Bio-21″ width=”120″ height=”168″ /></a>

Titilayo Obasanya isa Business Plan/SME Consultant. She is the founder of <a style=”color: blue;” href=”http://startupdesk.org/” target=”_blank”>StartUp Desk</a>. You can follow <a style=”color: blue;” href=”https://twitter.com/ttlayo_o”>@ttlayo_o</a> on Twitter or find her on <a style=”color: blue;” href=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/titilayoobasanyaacca”>LinkedIn</a>.