Meet The Nigerian Woman Who Is Building The Fashion Amazon Of Africa
Olatorera Oniru is one of Nigeria’s most assiduous and ambitious young entrepreneurs. The 29 year-old lady is the founder of Dressmeoutlet.com , a Lagos-based e-commerce startup that retails fashion products sourced from across the globe. Dressmeoutlet.com strongly promotes made in Africa goods with the goal of retailing only the best 20% African designers. Olatorera continues to travel across Africa and beyond in search of unique treasures and creative manufacturers to retail on Dressmeoutlet.com and will be visiting China, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia and Tanzania within the next coming months. She enjoys going into the most rural of areas – learning, mingling and discovering unique treasures and natural resources that can be converted into luxury fashion apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories.
Dressmeoutlet.com ships worldwide and currently has customers in different states across Nigeria, Uganda and the United States of America. The company now employs more than 20 full-time employees and will officially launch with a sales and exhibition event in Lagos, Nigeria on May 22nd, 2016. With years of experience from top companies including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ericsson, Central Bank of Nigeria and General Electric, Olatorera Oniru is successfully building Dressmeoutlet.com into a fashion e-commerce powerhouse and currently has funding offers from notable investors including Nigerian investor Tony Elumelu.
I recently had a chat with Olatorera to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey and what she is doing to ensure Dressmeoutlet.com grows into one of Africa’s most successful online retailers.
Tell me about your personal, educational and professional background?
I grew up partly in Nigeria and the United States of America. I attended primary school at Maryhill Oyo, middle school at Queens College Lagos and high school at Leesville High North Carolina.
In 2008, I graduated Cum Laude Honors with a degree in Business Administration/ Management and Entrepreneurship from NC A&T State University where I had served as a Senator for Academic Affairs, Founder and President of the Association of African Students, Tutor for Disability and Support Services, Campus Lead for Monster’s Diversity Leadership Program and during a time when I had also worked for General Electric under the Financial Management Program Internship.
Upon graduation, I accepted an excellent opportunity to work for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a Senior Analyst for the Global Markets and Investment Banking group attaining my 2nd Fortune 5 company work experience. Working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch sums up one of the absolute best times of my life – working on Wall Street in the world’s greatest city that never sleeps – New York City, while leading million dollar initiatives supporting the optimization of revenue by investment bankers. I was one of the analysts at Merrill Lynch that led the 2009 Global Asset Services Initiative to integrate Merrill Lynch systems with Bank of America’s after the industry buyout and consolidation during the 2008 financial Industry crisis. During my employed years at Merrill Lynch, I also served as co-founder and president of Network of African Professionals in New York and as a Junior Board Member of CASA-NY (Court Appointed Special Advocates New York).
After 2 years at Merrill Lynch, I accepted an opportunity to work for the Central Bank of Nigeria as a Senior Supervisor which I did for a year and then proceeded to obtain my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Degree from Emory University where I focused on Finance, Leadership and Entrepreneurship. While at Emory University, I received scholarships from the National Black MBA Association and The Executive Leadership Council and was a finalist for the Emory Goizueta Business School Entrepreneurship Scholarship. I was also elected Vice President of Multi-cultural and served as Continent of Africa Captain. During my MBA days, I was keenly learning and strategizing on how to innovate, build, grow and lead a large company and thus my goal as an MBA candidate was to learn, learn, learn, plan, plan, plan. A good percentage of the business plan for Dressmeoutlet.com was written during my MBA days.