Ever had been inspired by a brilliant idea, then immediately dismissed it as impossible for the Nigerian market? We’re talking about those ideas that people deem “too foreign” for Nigerians to patronise or appreciate. These foreign concepts may actually end up being your ticket to being a Motherland Mogul.
Two women who have pushed through in their attempts to introduce concepts and made profit doing so are Tokunbo Sotinwa of Bubble Tii and Crystal Ikanih of Art Splash Studio. Tokunbo and Crystal show us that it is possible to replicate something from the US and Taiwan in Nigeria. They are also bothcurrently participating in SLA’s Accelerator program.
If you’ve never heard of bubble tea before, it is flavoured tea with tapioca pearls. The idea for bubble tea was born in Taiwan and subsequently the trend spread to other Asian countries before gaining popularity across the world.
Tokunbo is credited with bringing the bubble tea phenomenon to Nigeria to surprisingly good results —Bubble Tii has managed to expand locations to a second store within 12 months of launching the first.
Art Splash Studio organises painting classes for grown-ups in Abuja. The idea came from when its founder Crystal Ikanih was visiting friends in the US. So what do both women say about tailoring a “foreign concept” to the Nigerian market?
Creating a demand where there was none previously
You can expect that this will be very challenging. For Tokunbo, people did not know anything about bubble tea in Nigeria. She overcame this challenge by first starting off by appearing at outdoor events. This helped introduce her product to her targeted demographics. Bubble Tii also appeared at pop-up events where people were offered to taste different flavoured bubble teas.
While there was no specific demand for painting classes in Abuja, Crystal saw an opportunity in the demand for alternative entertainment. You’ve surely heard people complain about how Abuja can be boring. Crystal is tapping into this market with Art Splash Studio and her Paint Nite, where people paint while drinking wine.
Another important way to create demand is through social media. Social media is a very effective tool to create buzz.
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