Mano, having spent the earlier part of the afternoon discussing fashion trends, was seeing off one of his customers when he caught sight of Stephanie. He was instantly happy as his eyes x-rayed the white polythene bag in her right hand. He could tell from the shape of the bag that it held a mini food flask. He hurriedly said goodbye to his customer before catching up with Stephanie who was already in front of his shop.
“Stephanie, welcome. I can’t wait to see what you prepared this time because I’m so famished,” he said, leading her into his shop where a new apprentice of his was working.
It was three weeks already since she first came to his shop. And within three weeks, they had been catching up, thanks to the holidays. She wasn’t to return to school until another one week’s time.
“Don’t get too excited jor. It’s just Yam and Vegetables,” she said, unpacking the content of the bag.
“Ha! You’re calling it just. No o! It is more. You don’t know how very helpful you’ve been to me o!” he said with gratitude.
Although the duo had become close, Mano’s apprentice couldn’t still believe that there was nothing intimate going on between them.
It was while he was eating she brought up the subject they had been discussing for more than a week already; online marketing.
“So how far with your social media pages?” She asked, running her eyes jealously over a pink embroidery gown worn on one of the mannequins in front of Jamal’s shop.
From the job Mano had done on her dress, as well as those he did for some clients, she knew he was good. Even though there was still room for improvements. She had started their conversation by asking him if he watched free Youtube Videos that teach people how to make better dresses. She went ahead to show him some of the regular ones she watched and although Mano had watched some videos in the past to up his skills, he did admit the ones Stephanie showed him was more detailed and the designs were awesome.
The last channel is about making simple dresses. But as simple as those dresses are, it never occurred to Mano that he could actually make them. He had always seen such clothing as ‘Already made’ and not for him to make. But that video changed his mind. These types of materials were available. He could get them and sew something nice for clients.
This line would mean more businesses for him as he understands that Nigerians mostly use Ankara wears for occasions. But these sort of outfit can be used for daily activities and his female clients will go more for it. Meaning more business and more money.
Within two weeks, his learnings had started to reflect on his cloth making, earning him nice feedbacks from his clients. There was, of course, a lot to learn. But he was taking it a step at a time.
It was in the second week Stephanie had started to introduce the idea of getting an e-commerce website with a blog and social media pages to build followers and drive traffic to his e-store.
Mano already had a facebook account. And he had seen a lot of people post their fashion stuff in their accounts. But he never really thought they made good sales, especially as a lot of the commenters were in different states.
Asking for more information on how he could start on a right footing, Stephanie listed and explained the various types of Online marketing; email, video, social media, blogging, etc.
‘You can start with a Facebook and Instagram Page to start growing your followers. Post finished works online. You can even do short videos on how you made a particular outfit. Those are things that help to draw people to you. From what they see people can even start placing orders.”
“If I post everything on my social page, what will I post on my blog and e-commerce store?”
“Your blog and e-commerce store will take a while to get set up. Besides, its good you start growing your followers now because they’re the ones you will later direct to your store. And what you should know is, you will need to keep creating and posting content to keep your business going. You can re-work on some content and post the updated version. So you will always have content for your blog and store.”
Mano sighed. He appreciated what Stephanie was doing for him, but he was sure this internet business thingy would get on the way of his sewing and delivering to clients timely. As much as it made a lot of sense, it already looked like something that is going to take a lot of his time.
“What’s in this for you anyway?” He had to ask.
Stephanie smiled, “Why do you ask?”
“Because I refuse to believe you’re just helping me out.”
Now she laughed. And a heaty one too. “Of course, I’m not just helping you out. I’m helping myself too. I do online promotion for small businesses like yours. Sometimes, it is a paid promotion. In that, business owners pay me outrightly to promote their products or services on my pages. Other times, I do affiliates. I promote other people’s products on my page and I get my commission from sales.
Now you, you’re a good tailor and if you can bring out beautiful designs and you have a platform I can direct people to when I advertise for you. If you make sales from my adverts, I get my commission.”
It was Mano’s turn to smile broadly. “So you just want to use me to make money.”
“Haba! don’t look at it that way. You still get to make plenty of money. Besides, I’m a student. I wouldn’t really be able to put in the kind of work and dedication you would put in because of my studies. So all I can do is promote online.”
“Then there’s no need for my own pages now. Just take my clothes and advertise them”.
“You’re not getting it. I will advertise. But you need to have a platform where I will direct them to. And if your platform isn’t good enough, or you have no activities about what you do on it, then you will not sell. I will not sell, and we will both not make money. You’re the only person who can build your platform as you want it to be. No one else. The only thing I and any other influencers can do is advertise you on our pages.
So will you do this or not? The ball is in your court. If you will, I’m ready to help.”
To be continued…
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