Olatorera Oniru

Olatorera Oniru is an accomplished Nigerian entrepreneur and development speaker who is driving growth and innovation across Africa. She is popularly known as the founder and CEO of Dressmeoutlet.com.  Dressmeoutlet.com strongly promotes made in Africa goods with the goal of retailing only the best 20% African designers. She travels across Africa and beyond in search of unique treasures and creative manufacturers to retail on Dressmeoutlet.com. 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.

She graduated Cum Laude Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from North Carolina A&T State University and an MBA in Finance, Leadership, and Management from Emory University. She has obtained Executive Management Certificates from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden and International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland.

Before starting out as an entrepreneur, Olatorera worked as head of sales governance for Fortune 500 company Ericsson, focusing on the Sub-Sahara African region. She also worked with Merrill Lynch as a senior analyst and with General Electric as a financial management intern. But despite her career success, she was ready to create and innovate hence the launch of dressmeoutlet.com.

5 Practical Lessons we can learn from Olatorera Oniru

Release the wisdom inside you

Olatorera Oniru motivated millions of people globally with her quote that went viral in 2016 -“Push your dreams; don’t let anything stop you from doing anything great for the world”.

A lot of us think wise thoughts but don’t share them. That’s selfish, not just to others but yourself because you might have missed an opportunity to break the internet. Lol. Seriously though, you don’t have to be a motivational speaker to motivate people. Share your thoughts and learnings.

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Write it down

According to Olatorera, a good percentage of the business plan for Dressmeoutlet.com was written during her MBA days.

Don’t let you bright ideas slide through your mind without holding it down with a pen or keyboard. They say, the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. Hab 2:2 “…write the vision, make it plain…”

Don’t let one more idea/plan slip away, get a book where you can write down your ideas, dreams and desires.

Invest in your dreams

Olatorera in an interview with Forbes Africa was asked what made her delve into entrepreneurship seeing that she had built a very successful career working for multi-national conglomerates, She said “I was ready for the leap. I believe I have leadership capabilities to create, establish and innovate; and now I want to create global visibility for African products, create jobs for people, and generally do my part in making the world a better place and I would not have 100% of the freedom I need to grow if I remain employed. I have dreams and I want to make all my dreams come true and this requires me investing as much of my time as possible into my dreams. I want to express my love and care for people in my own way.”

A lot of us sacrifice our dreams for momentary comfort. You get yourself stuck in a 9 to 5 job because of the “stability” it brings when deep down inside your dream has always been to go into social entrepreneurship or even be a missionary. I believe that where your heart lies, your treasure is. You might be doing well where you are now but that cannot be compared with the satisfaction and fulfillment you can attain should you invest in your dreams. Another thing we must note is that the fact that she had capabilities that could back up her dreams. As long as you have those capabilities, take a leap and invest in your dreams. It’s never too late.

It is possible to have a thriving profession/business and a happy marriage

During an interview with Guardian Newspaper, Olatorera was asked “How does being married affect your business and vice versa?” She said “I am very happily married. My husband is an amazing man. We support each other’s ambitions and individually work on being the very best we can be personally and professionally. Our children come first at all times and we simply ensure we manage our work life balance adequately. Of course we have assistants who also help us maintain a strong balance at home and at work as no one can do it all, we all need each other – we definitely need other good people to assist us in the life path we are on. My husband is my biggest critic and supporter. He helps me be my very best and he sees my dream whole-heartedly sometimes even better than I see it.”

One of the common beliefs of today is that career women have rocky homes, and this sometimes discourages young women from aspiring towards professional and business success. Well, here’s someone who saying it is possible to make it work. The bible does say in Genesis 13:14-15 “…Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever” If you see yourself striking a good balance between work and family and living happily ever after, secure the help of God, do what it takes and you will.

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Practice your elevator pitch

In an interview, Olatorera was asked “What differentiates Dressmeoutlet.com from similar businesses in the market?” This was her response:

“I will pinpoint three reasons why our customers are loyal and pick us over any other fashion retailer in the world.

  1. We are strongly quality-focused. Dressmeoutlet.com retails only the very best brands and products in the market. Our products are unique and many at times, rare one-off, handmade pieces that required many hours to produce. We hunt for the most unique of treasures worldwide from Northern Africa to Kenya. Within the next few months, I’ll be travelling to at least 5 countries to find more of the amazing unique products our customers love.
  2. Dressmeoutlet.com’s customer service is excellent if we may say so ourselves. Take a look at some of our testimonials. We are 200% dedicated to our customers and have built systems on our website whereby our customers can chat with us instantly if they have any questions, they can call us and they can e-mail us. We reply emails within 2 hours and we dispatch all orders within 24 hours. Our policies are very user-friendly and the user interface and user experience of our website at http://www.dressmeoutlet.com is easy, quick and effective.We have partnered with some of the best banks in Nigeria to provide swift online payment services to our customers.
  3. Buy Nigerian, Buy African, Buy your very own. Dressmeoutlet.com’s products are now 60% manufactured within Africa and within the next two years we can see that being transformed to 90% manufactured in Africa as Africa has a ton of great products made by the most intelligent and creative people.”

Talk about a smoooth elevator pitch. When I finished reading that paragraph, the next thing I wanted to do was check out the site. It one thing to be great, and it’s another thing to be able to communicate to people that greatness and get them interested. An elevator pitch isn’t just important for entrepreneurs, it’s very important for every human being who’s wants to be successful. What is so special about you? Why should be considered for that amazing job? Why should you be accepted into that program? Why should you be considered to speak on that show? Why you? Get your elevator speech right.

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Olatorera Oniru is also the founder of one of Nigeria’s foremost leadership programs Top 100 Our Generation, a company that brought together and inspired many of today’s young leaders.  She is currently a member of Lionesses of Africa, Africa’s Best and the National Scholars Honor Society USA. She is happily married to Adedapo Oniru with whom she has two children.

She encourages young African entrepreneurs by telling them, “Please do it. Go out there and do it, one step at a time, one day at a time, one handshake at a time, one clap at a time, one achievement at a time.”

This post was culled from the Thresh woman WCW Column. The ThreshWoman WCW is a column I manage with the goal to celebrate and encourage the successes of women all around the world while inspiring other women to chase their dreams fiercely. 

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