Oreoluwa Oduko: Social media helps me reach almost everyone everywhere

oreoluwa oduko
I have long decided not to compromise my business standards- Oreoluwa Oduko Click To Tweet

Oreoluwa Oduko is a graduate of law from the University of Lagos and the Nigerian Law School.  She began an online business selling pets (@PawsNaija) in 2013 during a six-months-long Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike that began while in her third year at the University.

Oreoluwa had previously channeled her advocacy skills into general marketing merchandise online before transitioning into the selling of pets. Oreoluwa has a significant interest in traveling and the general lifestyle of animals. She hopes to use her legal background to fight for animal rights in Nigeria.

Why did you choose to sell dogs and puppies online?

I have always been involved in online marketing. Selling pets came up at some point, and it was only right to add it to my online business.

I started the business at the end of 2013, during the six months ASUU strike which began while I was in my third year at the University.

What other services do you offer?

I am more of a link between clients and what they need.

I do not personally offer all services, but I have a network of people who provide services such as veterinary, training, boarding, grooming, and walking and so on.

Do your services include any form of offline transactions or are they strictly online? Kindly tell us how the chain works.

For purposes of having records, all pre-contract discussions are done online (in writing). Everything else after such as delivery, veterinary, grooming, walking, training, boarding are all done offline.  It’s simple really. It depends on what animal the client wants and where it would be sourced from.

For example, if a customer wants a dog that is available locally, I get details of what the client wants, contact breeders who deal in that, show the customer’s options, have them choose, pay and it’s delivered to them. If I have to import, I take a request, give the client a quote. The client makes payment, I pay for the pet, and it’s shipped to me and is delivered to the client.

What are the major social media channels you make use of and how do you take advantage of it?

Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I post pictures and get people to like, retweet and share on my personal page. That helps create more awareness.

Certain people don’t understand the value of having good quality - @owhreoluwa Click To Tweet

How often do you make sales from social media?

Not as much as I would like. There are several reasons why I don’t make sales. On Twitter for instance; sometimes I get as many as 600 retweets on a single tweet but no successful sale. People see a picture and breed name that they know nothing about and assume they can have it, but from little interaction with them, they realize that’s not what they want.

I also do pre-purchase interviews where I ask the client various questions to ensure the pet is going to a good home where it would be taken of. There are certain breeds that I don’t sell to people who have no experience of owning such breeds and how to train or socialize them. If the person can’t meet the basic requirement, I would most likely decline to sell a pet to them.

Also, because of the way my business is being run, I sell only quality pets which do not come cheap and certain people don’t understand the value of having good quality, so they don’t buy.

I have long decided not to compromise my business standards by sourcing for pets from just anywhere though. Always I tell people I would rather sell one good pet to a real owner and make no money than do otherwise in a bid to make quick money. I just keep doing what I do, and I try to improve every day, increase my reach, and try to educate people on the little things.

What has been the most challenging moment on social media so far?

Getting people to understand how the process works and having them pay upfront. People claim to want a certain thing but are not ready to pay for quality which can sometimes be discouraging.

People claim to want a certain thing but are not ready to pay for quality - Oreoluwa Oduko Click To Tweet

What would your response be to someone who is contemplating whether or not to use social media as a marketing tool?

I’d say go for it. Social media helps you reach almost everyone everywhere without physically being there; it’s a sure way to reach as many customers as you need.

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Xiomara Rosa-Tedla: There are benefits to starting a business with family

Xiomara Rosa-Tedla Unoeth

Many people ask how and why my father and I started our business. And to be honest, it was by accident.

About two years ago, my father returned home from a trip visiting family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After picking him up from the airport and unloading luggage, he handed me a gifta custom, handmade leather messenger bag. Xiomara Rosa-Tedla Unoeth Immediately, I fell in love with my new gift and sported it everywhere. From work to dinner to weekend trips, I toted my new bag all around the world. And soon after, friends, family members, and strangers started asking, Where did you get your bag? I love it! Can your dad get me one as well?” For months the questions and requests kept coming. Even my father told me he had been getting the same questions, and suggested, Hey, I think we have a business here. Lets start a leather bag business!Shortly after, the birth of UnoEth began.

Starting a business from scratch is a fun creative process, where brainstorming sessions let your mind run free with ideas and opportunities for your business to grow exponentially. Xiomara Rosa-Tedla UnoethBut as with any business, the road to success is never a straight line up. There are dips, curves and encounters with the unknown. In addition, it can be a lot of work. On the bright side, there are benefits to running a business with family.

A family member as a business partner can be extremely beneficialespecially my dad. Having an equal partner with a long history (my whole life) and blood ties helps solidify communication, trust, and dedication to succeed. Neither partner wants to let the other down. From day one of creating our new business, I felt unbelievably confident in our new venture because my dad and I shared the same vision and passion for our budding brand.Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 1.42.31 PM

In addition to trust, communication, and dedication, working with family also means splitting responsibilities. As we both grow our business around our full-time jobs, we wish there was more time in the day to juggle responsibilities. We split outstanding tasks, which alleviates the stress and workload on both of us.

Communication is key to maintaining strong relationships with each other, our vendors, shipping counterparts, business partnerships and most importantly, our customers. In the development of UnoEth, weve learned to communicate promptly to avoid creating a bottleneck in our business. Thanks to apps like Viber, were able to communicate easily internationally via wifi and all stay on the same pagejust in different time zones.Xiomara Rosa-Tedla UnoethIts incredibly important to maintain a positive, can-do attitude with a goal always in sight. As mentioned before, the road to success is never a straight line. Every business experiences road blocks and obstacles, which can deter most individuals from starting a business in the first place.

But with an optimistic, focused, and goal-oriented outlook, one can overcome the temporary downfalls, cross the finish line and push on to the next stage. At the end of day, one must ask, How bad do I really want to be successful?And then simply just go for it!

What are your thoughts on starting a business with a family member? Enjoyed Xiomara’s story ? Share the UnoEth story with your network.