5 MINUTES WITH OMOBOLAJI AKINSANYA
For Omobolaji Akinsanya of Lamanee Services, working in fashion doesn’t seem like a career choice, but a fate that he could not resist. In this interview with KONYE CHELSEA NWABOGOR, he lets us into his world as a personal shopper and also gives insightful tips on how to become one. How did you get into the business of being a personal shopper?
I have always been a very fashionable person and keep up with fashion trends as they evolve. My reputation played a role in launching me into the business I do now. Friends, family and acquaintances constantly reach out to me to help them buy clothing items they see on me. I also receive similar requests from locally based Nigerians who want items from abroad and need my help in doing so since I live in the UK. Over time, the requests have grown enormously, and as such requiring more of my time. I knew I could no longer do it casually, so it became a service; a business. I started charging a fee for ensuring that items were delivered to Nigerian doorsteps and in the safest conditions…and Voila! Lamanee was birthed. For those who are not very familiar with the fashion world, what does a personal shopper do?
A Personal shopper (aka shopping assistant) is one who uses their expertise and passion to help clients through their shopping experience by, essentially, guiding them towards the products and services that meet their individual needs. It cannot be easy getting clients to trust you with their money 10 especially in this era of Internet fraud. How do you work around that? Internet fraud is, no doubt, a great challenge. However, it is not peculiar to our business. It pervades economic commerce. There are people who have little or no trust in online shopping, let alone committing their monies to someone else to help them shop. However, we have managed to thrive regardless because of our long-standing impeccable track record, and this is so because our business thrives, largely, on referrals from our existing clients. We also adhere strictly to the best ethical practices and we have not had any case of allegation of fraudulent practice since we started business. Tell us about some other challenges you face? I haven’t faced any major challenge besides normal oneoff shipping delays or situations where a customer rejects an item and you have to return it to the store. Thankfully, it’s been a pleasant ride so far because I am passionate about what I do. Does personal shopping typically go along with personal styling? Yes it does. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a very fashionable person and I believe I have to be a good ambassador to Most personal shoppers, reach out to clients via social media (probably because of visibility). What are you doing in terms of taking your business past the social media space?
Social media networking is the new face of marketing. However, we mustn’t also underestimate the power of individual referrals. Despite the downturn in the economy, personal shopping seems to be big business. Why is that so?
Nigerians are naturally fashionable people. Regardless of what condition the economy is in, looking good is serious business for us. It’s how we express ourselves. Have you had any special request from a client that you knew would be impossible to meet?
Not really, most of my clients have pretty much been very fair and realistic. My luck, I guess. What, in your opinion, are some of the most important skills to have in your profession?
For me, there are six basic must-haves for any personal shopper: • You must have a good knowledge or learn the basics of fashion. You can’t fake it. You either know your onions or not. You must be a very good listener with a high degree of patience. Your main goal is your customer’s satisfaction. • You are not just shopping for clothes, you need to make every experience an enjoyable one for every customer. Make them feel special. • Always stay in touch with your clients • Learn how to say No to clients when you should. Most times, they depend on you to guide them through fashion dos and don’ts. • It’s also a business for you. You must have
very good negotiating skills. • Assuming your service is required, what is the best way to get across to you?
You can always get in touch via Mobile/ WhatsApp : +447492895796, Instagram :
@lamaneeservices, twitter : @ lamaneeservices email : email@example.com Is there any advice you’d give to someone who is set on becoming a personal shopper?
Let your passion drive you. Nothing beats making money out of doing what you love.