Business Uncommon: Yetunde Oluyide’s Nigerian Hustle

Eighty percent of the things we sell are not common, because we try to source from unique places. An example is our 5-in-1 magic pan; nobody else sells it in Nigeria.

The Beginning…

By 2012, Yetunde Oluyide had switched jobs four times in search of career progression, and frustrated by the lack of career progression, she called it quits. Her decision to quit her job didn’t sit well with her family and friends, but, convinced that she would be better off self-employed, she stuck to her guns. The problem was that, all the money she had, at home and in the bank, was just a little over N12,000. With nobody to seek financial assistance from (she didn’t feel comfortable asking her family and friends after they had strongly opposed her decision to quit her job), Yetunde started her hustle with her meagre capital. She went into Lagos Island Market and bought three guinea brocade fabrics (as much as her money could buy), took pictures of them, uploaded on the Blackberry Messenger Channel that she had just created and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today…

Yetunde Oluyide is the CEO of Yettyjewel Ventures, a Gifts and Household Items Store with millions of Naira in monthly revenue streams. She sells and delivers unique and affordable household products ranging from kitchen appliances to household décor items nationwide. Yettyjewel’s products have common traits: they are often uncommon, usually multipurpose, always affordable and very durable.

Eighty percent of the things we sell are not common, because we try to source from unique places,” says Yetunde. “An example is our 5-in-1 magic pan; nobody else sells it in Nigeria. With it, you can make a full English breakfast at once. It is non-sticky, affordable, saves time and very easy to use.

Household items weren’t what Yetunde had in mind when she started out, but she gradually found her niche and settled there. Her decision to focus on retailing household items stems from her conviction that there is always room for improving life in the home, especially in the kitchen. “I observed that as people get drawn into demanding careers, they are always in search of how to maximize the short time between when they come home from work and when they retire for the day. And my business helps them to find that convenience.

Yettyjewel and the SME MarketHub

Yettyjewel Ventures now has over 800 different products, occupies a 3-bedroom property, and is preparing to move to an even bigger location. Her success story is tied to the SME MarketHub which she joined in 2015. “My dispatch riders are always happy to receive orders from the SME MarketHub because such orders are never returned,” she enthused. “The MarketHub always offers correct descriptions and presentation of my wares, such that when customers place orders, what they get meets their expectations. In a day, we deliver nothing less than 20 orders. Even in recent times, when the general economy experienced a recession, our sales continued to grow because what we sell are things that solve people’s problems, and I always ensure that my customers feel they are getting something more than their money’s worth.”

 Finances…

Yettyjewel Ventures adopts standard accounting procedures and, even though Yetunde started with N12,000, her books say she hasn’t broken even just yet. She attributes this to the many investments she has made over time. “My profits go right back into the business, and into the welfare of my staff (she has five full-time employees) because I believe that business growth should rub off on everyone connected with the business.” Yetunde is also not keen on gunning for a rapid explosion in profits. “No one can make 100 percent profit at once, so what we look out for is repeated business, and that is something I can boast of. If I sell to people once and they don’t come back either because my product was too expensive or didn’t meet their expectations, I may have made a high profit that one time, but that will be it. I don’t want that.”

 Future Plans

Yetunde has high ambitions for Yettyjewels; she sees the business representing international household brands in Nigeria in five years’ time. She also hopes to improve her “Distributors’ Platform” where people from all over Nigeria are currently members. “These people are my middlemen across the country, they buy from us at low margins so that they can make some profits when they sell. Anyone can join; it doesn’t matter what jobs they have or what other businesses they do. And they can join the distributors’ platform with as little as N1,000.”

The path of manufacturing household ‘hack’ items as against merely retailing them is also not far from Yetunde’s mind, but she acknowledges that a lot of research and work will have to go in before the company can decide whether it wants to tow that path.

Any Market Fears?

As a brand that thrives on the sales of rare and unique household items, Yettyjewel Ventures is not wary that the growth, popularity and acceptability of the items they sell might lure bigger household brands in and eventually take their market share.

The items we sell will not become common, so we will remain in business. This is basically because we are risk takers. Some people dismiss certain products and refuse to invest in it either because they think it is too expensive for the Nigerian market or that it will not do well. What we have learned in our five years of doing this business is that Nigerians are ready to pay for items that will save them stress, time, and are durable. And we keep researching and looking for new and unique things. When we find, we buy samples – it could be locally or from abroad – and if the samples do well, we go about promoting and creating demand for it. Any unique thing you see in people’s homes, most of the time, it came through Yettyjewel.”

Visit my storefront on the SME MarketHub and be amazed.