Tolani needs a good quality shirt and suit for his forth coming birthday celebration. His tight schedule would not allow him travel to London. Whenever he is in London, he loves to shop at the famous highbrow Bond Street. He was sharing his dilemma with his friend when he was advised to try shopping online. It was then it occurred to him that his needs could be met online.
E-commerce is the next level for tech savvy fashion labels to reach a large pool of their customer base within and outside Nigeria. Homegrown international fashion labels like Emmy Collins have opened up online shop as an alternative for their customers to have access to their clothing line without travelling to London.
Emmy Collins his owner of the eponymous label based in London. Sometime in 2008, he had a showroom on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi but he had to shut it down due to the fact that the staff didn’t share his vision. “The showroom had to be shut down,” he tells me, “due to the fact that I couldn’t manage the staff at some point. Some of the staff didn’t share the same vision with me and I spent millions of naira every year just keeping a show room with staff that didn’t even with my visions.”
But today, online shopping has changed all that. Customers, with a click of the mouse, can now have access to quality suits and shirts on www.emmycollinsshop.com. On the website, customers can browse through different stocks on Emmy’s online store. There is pictorial display of new stocks, from floral print shirts to double breasted suits amongst others. Customers shopping from Nigeria have the opportunity to pay for their purchase by clicking on the naira icon on the top left hand corner of the page. In addition, there is a “My Wishlist” icon which affords customers the opportunity to store their favourite designs till they are ready to buy them. Likewise clients have the opportunity to pick their choice product into a ‘Cart’ where they have a total list of their purchases. To enjoy shopping on emmycollinsshop.com, customers have to create an account unique to them as this enables them log in easily when next they stop by to shop.
“The Emmy Collins online store is called the Emmycollinshop.com,” he explains. “The idea is to point people in that direction. We have people who send email to us and connect through Facebook and Twitter. This is an opportunity for them to go online to shop for our label. All our products are made to British standards.”
In addition, Emmy says the online shopping portal will soon be linked to GTB market hub. “We have just refurbished our online store. It has been there for a while and we wanted people based in Nigeria to shop on it. We deliver to all locations in Nigeria. Very soon we are going to be linked to GTB market hub as well and that should be happening in the next one week.”
The Emmy Collins label is synonymous with British standard made-to-measure suits and shirts. Recently, he was involved in a fashion show in Italy, the world’s fashion capital. “The British standard is what I have always tried to live up to. I am always going to uphold it because that is the standard that I preach. It is a standard respected all over the world. The Italians they respect it, the American they respect it. I can remember the first I was involved in a show in Florence, Italy.
“It was the first time I actually sowed in an Italian store and I could remember writing on my Facebook status that: “I just sold snow today to the Eskimos.” Everybody know the Italians are what everybody would like to buy in those days, but everybody was very happy to buy from me so the Italians respect British quality and that is what we are bringing into Nigeria. Every single thing we have here, the fabric the cut, the workmanship is just as good as what is out there.”
With his shop now located online, Emmy says there is no need for the discerning Nigerian men or women to have to go to London or America just to shop because they couldn’t get the quality they want from Nigeria. “You can still go to any store on Awolowo Road or any high end store to buy good products but there is usually this doubt about the authenticity of what you are buying. A lot of people are afraid of shopping locally, you are buying a Gucci or Channel bag and you don’t know if it was made in China, but you are paying the same price as you would for an original.” Hence for Emmy, online shopping dispels such fears as his clients can now have access to authentic Emmy Collins London label online.
“Shopping online means you now have access to the same Emmy Collins in London. It means you are buying directly from an Emmy Collins store. I also believe that the e-commerce is the best way forward now.” Emmy says customers need not worry over the safety of their ATM cards online as they can make payment at the bank and their products will be delivered as soon as payment is confirmed.
“For the Nigerians, they can actually pay to the bank and the bank account is there. We want it to go straight to the account. We know when payment is made. When you place an order and the money is paid in we would know items paid for.”
In addition, he says delivery is free. “We deliver to the customers free to anywhere in the country at the moment. We have the Emmy Collins Shop London which is for men and it is sold on our online store.”