Interview with Ifedayo Durosinmi – Etti, Founder of Philos and Zoe, a fashion brand for children on a mission to reduce poverty in Nigeria through education, based in Lagos Nigeria.
For those who don’t know you, tell us in few words: who is Ifedayo and what is (startup/business name)?
My name is Ifedayo Durosinmi Etti. I am a Marketing and Sustainability expert with over 10 years of management and leadership experience working in the fashion, marketing and manufacturing Industries. I hold a first degree in Biochemistry and an MBA in Global Business. Prior to launching a business, I worked with Arcadia Group Plc, a British multinational retailing company headquartered in London and Aspire Acquisitions. I also joined Nigerian Breweries (Heineken Operating Company in Nigeria) as a Young African Talent (YAT) and transitioned to their Corporate Communications Department as Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Support Manager where I successfully managed various corporate social responsibility and sustainability projects. Currently, I am the Co – Founder of Parliamo Bambini and Creative Director of Philos and Zoe, start-ups disrupting the baby and child industry through sales of locally manufactured furniture and clothing.
What problem are you solving in Africa, in your country or your community?
Some of the most pressing problems we are solving are poverty alleviation, youth unemployment and child abuse.
Do you think this is the right time for your startup to solve the problem?
Yes, i think this is the perfect time for this problem to be solved. For so many years, 90% of goods available in the market have all been imported making things very expensive and pushes us as a country further into under development. Nigeria has a high birth rate and is currently at 5.7 per 1000 women as at December 2017. Birth rate in Nigeria has also been ranked as number 3 in the world by Geoba. With the importation ban on furniture over a decade ago, Nigeria’s assorted-taste market has gradually turned to local manufacturers, which has led to a burgeoning of the industry. Backward integration, competition and creativity has spawned home-grown furnishing companies into the current market however, there is still a gap in the market for children’s furniture. As a result of this, new mums buy furniture and clothing from international companies or retailers who have brought in clothing or smuggled in baby furniture which make it so expensive for customers. Parents are currently looking inwardly/locally to source trendy pieces for their children as long as the quality is right and they get value for their money. This industry is worth over 50 billion Naira in Nigeria alone.
Does your solution fit in the market? (Do people want it)?
Oh yes, our pieces are needed all over Nigeria. Since our launch we have served customers in 6 different states across the federation.
Tell us more about your team, why are you the best to solve this problem?
We are a team of highly skilled people with diverse backgrounds. We currently have 3 full time employees at Philos and Zoe and 5 full time employees at Parliamo Bambini. I am a Marketing and Sustainability Expert with over 10 years of management and leadership experience working in the marketing, fashion and manufacturing Industries. I have a first degree in Biochemistry and an MBA in Global Business. My business partner, Olamide Olatunbosun, is a Human Resource Professional. She holds Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a Masters’ Degree in Human Resource Management. Her knowledge in Child Psychology and HR practice trailed her passion for rendering services to parents. This helped to drive the need for creating a warm, caring and conducive environment for children. She began a career in Human Resources with IBM (International Business Machines) and is a graduate member of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Department). Our Lead carpenter is Mr. Samuel Adekoya. Prior to joining Parliamo Bambini, he owned his carpentry practice where he produced furniture in Ogun State. He is also currently the vice president of the association of carpenters in a Local Government in Lagos. We also have other carpenters, a workshop Manager and contract staff who come in from time to time to increase our capacity.
What makes you different in the market?
Firstly, we are pioneers in this industry. Both companies provides an alternative solution to the importation of children’s products. At Philos and Zoe, we provide contemporary clothing for children which are affordable and profit from proceeds goes towards educational projects such as training and mentoring for children. Parliamo Bambini offers customers safe, affordable and stylish furniture for children accross Nigeria. Our products are unique because they are safe for children and we build them in such a way that they are convertible, so children can use our baby cribs till about 4 or 5 years old.
How do you measure your success?
Success is relative. What we are most bothered about is our progress. We ensure that everything is tracked and measured (this goes way beyond revenue). We also set smart goals throughout the year and we check back to see if we are hitting them.
How innovative is your startup? (technological/social innovation).
Our business model for both start-ups is very innovative. We also take advantage of tech applications that make parts of our process automated, seamless and easily accessible. They both have a very high possibility for social impact.
What is the social impact of your startup?
Through our partnerships with several organisations, we have been able to train children on digital literacy and educate women and children on the importance of education. We hope to have positively impacted the lives of 500 children by 2020 through education because we believe that it is only through education that Africa can truly be transformed.
How are you scaling up the startup?
We will leverage technology to scale our reach to other African countries
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and new startups?
Own your truth, focus on your strengths, and outsource the rest!
They can be reached at:
Phone Number: +2348187343874