Over the last decade, Nigeria’s with its growing consumer class has represented exciting and vast marketing opportunities for luxury products.
Maryann Patrick and Kaine Okoli, co-founders of Roy Concierge- a start-up luxury lifestyle management business is taking advantage of the growing appetite for luxury products in the country.
Maryann was inspired to establish her business with her co-founder when she identified a gap in the industry.
“I realised that there was a gap in the luxury and lifestyle management and bridging for individuals and organizations is a business,” she says.
“I shared the idea with Kaine – my co-founder. He bought into it, as lifestyle is a passion he also holds, and that was how we started Roy Concierge and have been on it since then,” she further says.
The young start-up who is a serial entrepreneur and a communication consultant with experience in delivering strategy and execution says her initial start-up capital was N3million.
The money was raised by kaine – her co-founder. Since its inception, the business has grown steadily and has consulted for many top Nigerian hospitality brands.
“Our business has experienced sustained growth since its inception. In November 2020, we celebrated our first anniversary with an extensive database of returning clients,” she says.
The business currently has two permanent and several temporary employees depending on the contract at hand.
The young entrepreneur notes that the covid-19 pandemic has inspired the business to be more creative, innovative and re-model its processes.
She states that the business has not suffered from the economic fallout of the pandemic as travel and hotel reservations that is badly hit by the virus outbreak are just part of the list of services that Concierge provides among others.
“During the pandemic, we focused on our other services like jet rentals, medical concierge services, delivery services, personal grocery shopping, providing domestic assistance, zoom parties, and private small house events among others,” she explains.
“This helped us to get the right attention among our target market. In hindsight, the pandemic shutdown period did us a lot of good,” she says.
She adds that the business increased its social media presence and awareness which helped in projecting the business offerings to a larger audience.
In evaluating the country’s hospitality industry, Maryann says the sector is largely underdeveloped. She adds that lots of work are still needed to be done by both governments at all levels and the private sector for the industry to evolve and be able to compete globally.
She notes that the business plans to expand its partnership deals and to focus more on tourism.
“At the moment we are working on finalising deals with our corporate clients,” she says.
“We have signed some international partnership deals that we look forward to executing in a few months. One of our targets this year will be tourism in and out of Nigeria,” she adds.
Speaking on the major hurdles facing the business, she says inadequate government support for players in the industry has remained a main challenge for the business.
Also, the persistent rise in consumable goods is a challenge to the business
She urges the government to provide adequate support for the hospitality and tourism sector by making funding available to operators and initiating policies to drive growth.
“The government should take the tourism and hospitality industry more seriously. Make policies that will drive growth in the industry. We have a lot of people who are interested in seeing more of Nigeria,” she says.
On her advice to other entrepreneurs, she says “believe in what you are doing. Once you have a personal conviction about what you’re doing, then there’s a drive to show up every day.”
“Passion is necessary but don’t forget to put in the work. Be willing to learn new things and step out of your comfort zone,” she says.
“It is not about what you think of your product rather it’s how the client reacts to it. Aligned to your focus, blur all forms of background noise and just focus on your business, its expansion, and your clients,” she adds.