• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Children’s Day 2024: Enhancing children’s well-being through tailored products and services

Children’s Day 2024: Enhancing children’s well-being through tailored products and services

We create jobs along the entire value chain. With global sourcing of the right materials, we are able to expand into international Markets – Ogunlesi

In commemoration of this year’s Children’s Day, Adenike Ogunlesi, founder and chief responsibility officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, a Nigerian clothing brand that specializes in children’s apparel, in this interview with BusinessDay, spoke on the company’s experience in doing business in Nigeria in the last 28 years; impact of the current foreign exchange challenge on its business, how it has continued to adapt with the changing tastes of customers, and projections for the future. Excerpts:

By May 18, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble will be 28 years in Nigeria. May we know what your experience has been doing business in the country?

Our story is one of resilience, passion and grit. It takes a vision bigger than our entire dear nation, Nigeria to thrive in our volatile environment. Over the years, we have stood in faith believing and trusting that once we focus on the right actions and carry through with the execution of our plans, we will always pull through our challenges. This means that we must approach these challenges with a positive mindset. With the right mindset, we must remain agile and adaptable before change forces us to change. I cannot say it has been the easiest journey but it has been impactful and fulfilling. This impact can be very clearly seen in the evolution of not only the Fashion Retail Industry but also the Garment Manufacturing Industry of Nigeria. My experience in Nigeria has taught me that while I am conscious of the limitations; my focus must remain on the opportunities, the challenges present and the possible solutions. Nigeria forces you to be a solution provider.

Over the years, we have transformed into a flourishing Pan-African brand with 13 retail outlets, a healthy workforce and a fully functional garment manufacturing facility that mass manufactures school uniforms as well as protective work wear. We recently included white labelling for the fashion industry. Our success is a testament to the commitment of our people, values, systems, structures, processes and a resilient mindset. With a clarity of purpose and a compelling vision, we remain disciplined with the execution of our strategic objectives. This has come to define who we are at Ruff ‘n’ Tumble.

Many Nigerians have begun to look inwards when it comes to shopping for their children because of the forex challenges. How has that impacted your business?

The shift towards local shopping by Nigerians amidst forex challenges has impacted our business in several ways. While we continue to globally source our materials, we remain committed to adding value locally means that we create jobs along the entire value chain. With global sourcing of the right materials, we are able to expand into international markets. We continue to enhance our online store to offer a convenient shopping experience not only locally but globally. In addition, we’re ensuring our physical stores remain welcoming and helpful for customers who enjoy in-person shopping experiences. Overall, these efforts reflect our commitment to adaptability and customer satisfaction in response to evolving consumer preferences.

May 27 this year will be another opportunity to showcase new wears (products) for kids; may we know what they should be expecting this time around?

As always, we believe that children should be children- curious, innocent, free and happy. In today’s world, children are growing up too fast. Children need to experience their childhood in a way that does not corrupt their innocence. So, our ethos and values are carried through in our designs from our choice of fabric, color and in particular the way we style our collections. Just like Children, Our Children’s Day collection is colorful, youthful and vibrant. In designing this collection, the natural curious playful spirit of children comes to play in our choice of fabrics and designs.

How has your online store fared over the years in terms of patronage? Many people prefer a visit to physical retail shops; how have you leveraged the opportunity offered by both models to scale up your business?

Placing our business in the digital sphere has done a great job in scaling the business onto the global stage. It is not a question of which mode of shopping is better. Both online and physical shopping experiences are great. For us, it is about making the experience easier for our customers by offering them different options that enable them to find what they need at any given time. However, it is easier for the Nigerians in the diaspora and even foreigners to shop with our online platform. Through our digital market, we have also created amazing offers for all customers. For those who love to shop from the comfort of their homes, our social marketing platforms and ecommerce offers them the perfect experience.

Kindly share with us some of your CSR interventions through your ‘The I Share Cuz I Care Foundation?’

Collaborating with the local government schools that are in and around GRA, the ‘I Share Cuz I Care’ Foundation makes free school uniforms for over 500 children yearly. It has been impactful, purposeful and fulfilling.

What is your outlook for business, say, in the next one year, judging by what you can see and the efforts of the government?

We are strongly encouraged by the efforts of the current administration and hopeful that the economy will turn around. We believe Nigeria holds huge opportunities and endless possibilities. We continue to consistently focus on our strategic objectives, optimise our operations and continue to proffer solutions to the very many challenges that we face. Above all, we remain committed to giving our customers and consumers the very best products and experience across all our platforms.