Social media is taking the place of the business/e-commerce websites we used to know. Customers have begun to make orders on social media, and entrepreneurs are making thousand of sales daily with just their social media profiles.
In this interview series, we’re featuring 20 entrepreneurs who have turned social media into a business hub, and are make tons of sales on a daily basis.
Olabanke Banjo is the founder of Cyrus45, a brand that recycles tyres to produce bespoke and avant-garde furniture for the art savvy. In this interview, she revealed how she uses social media to run her business and how it has been effective at helping her make sales and gain recognition.
Tell us a little about yourself
Olabanke Banjo is a creative and arts enthusiast, born in the 90s to a family of 3 children. I have a Bachelor’s degree in French language from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University.
Apart from mining my imaginative tank to develop world-changing ideas, I love to dance, critique movies and sometimes write.
Tell us about Cyrus45 and the inspiration behind it
Where do I begin? I will like to call Cyrus45 a creative company that is currently focused on producing bespoke and avant-garde furniture for art savvy folks. The idea for C45 was birthed in 2016 (then it was called Revampe Inc) whilst I was staying with my older sister and working as a remote blogger at the time.
My sister’s neighbours had a pile of about 20 tyres they wanted to dispose of and being a lover of revamping old items; I told them to give me the tyres instead. That was it. I made my first table and from there, things kicked off.
Why did you choose to sell your products through Instagram, as against opening an ecommerce website?
I initially opted for selling my products on social media because it is more cost effective. However, I also took into consideration the fact that the world is evolving digitally; everyone appears to spend more time on social media these days and if everyone is on social media, why not sell your products there?
Nevertheless, one cannot disregard the importance and effectiveness of a website which is why we are currently working on ours.
How effective has this been?
Selling and marketing C45 products via social media has been more than effective. 90% of our orders and clients come from social media, particularly Instagram. The platform was also where we got our first major recognition last year.
What other social media platform do you use?
Apart from Instagram, we also use Facebook and Twitter.
Tell us how the ordering and delivery process goes with social media as your online store.
Ordering for our products via Instagram is actually very seamless. Interested buyers send us a direct message or comment on products they wish to purchase, we respond with our price list and terms of payment. Delivery is done within and outside Lagos via car/bus services. Simple.
What are the challenges you’ve faced using social media to run your business?
The main challenge I’ve faced is measuring return on investment especially with sponsored ads. There is also a lack of control because it is a public and global platform; there is a high risk of having several fake accounts tied to your brand. This increases the skepticism of potential customers who feel more assured purchasing in a physical store or making transactions with businesses that have websites.
What do you consider to be the gains and challenges of being an entrepreneur?
The main perk of being an entrepreneur is being your own boss and having some form of control on your time and freedom as it were. Also, you enjoy direct profits because it your business, but this is also where some of the cons come in.
It takes a year or two for most entrepreneurs to make tangible and measurable profits because most gains are re-invested back into the business in terms of resources. But with hardwork and discipline, an entrepreneur could become a millionaire by the 3rd/4th year.
Share a word of advice for young Africans thinking of venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.
I will advise aspiring entrepreneurs to perfect their art, be original. Don’t let fear prevent you from trying and watch the sky be your starting point.