David Peterside is the Co-Founder/CEO of Fashion Map. Fashion Map is an application that allows you to find Tailors, Brands & Fashion designers at the click of a button. It seeks to bring visibility to African Fashion creatives and enable local fashion businesses no matter the size.
This innovative platform will not just help people find great designers for their occasions, it will also help designers increase their client base which will eventually increase their income and help them be more focused on their creativity to satisfy customers rather than using their “thinking time” to increase their clientele base.
David comes from a technology & business background. Prior to Fashion Map, he worked at Union Capital. He also served as the project manager at agri-tech project Vocoa, which was developed to alleviate poverty among farmers in West Africa through financial literacy through AI & natural language processing. At Vocoa he partnered closely with World Cocoa Foundation, United Nations subsidiary International Trade Centre (ITC) & German Development Agency (GIZ).He attended Lancaster University with a B.Sc hons in Computer Science.
Today, we were able to have a chat with David and get his view on how the platform works, the major struggles it has managed to overcome, as well as the major advantages users will obtain from using Fashion Map.
- How did the idea for Fashion Map Platform begin?
It was triggered by a personal experience. I was looking for a bespoke tailor & in a world where everything is a click away, I didn’t understand why there was no easy & convenient way to find one. I mentioned the problem to my friend & now co-founder, we went through the existing options & we saw a gap in the market.
2. Which would you say are the top 3 advantages users will get from using Fashion Map?
We have 2 user segments; customers & partners (Tailors, brands & fashion designers). So I’ll mention one general advantage and 1 for each segment.
Convenience – currently the quickest & most efficient way for customers to find a tailors, brands & fashion designers.
Visibility – Fashion Map provides location based visibility to fashion businesses. Imagine you’re a fashion brand in Lekki. How can I possibly know your brand exists?
Referrals are not sustainable because the customers don’t have enough incentives to actively champion brands. With Fashion map I tap a button to select your service & your brand shows up.
African fashion creatives currently have no marketing landscape because 90% of them are SMEs with access to very little capital. Billboards, TV & Radio ads are too expensive with low conversions. Instagram helps but discovery is a problem for SMEs on Instagram, they can’t afford to use influencers as well.
Discovery – Fashion Map allows customers find tailors & brands around them that offer the specific services want. For example, if you are looking for a tailor or brand that makes bespoke suits or kaftan, you tap a button and you see results. On Instagram if you were looking for the same thing, it’ll be difficult. You already need to know the name of who you are looking for on Instagram.
3. Which have been your biggest struggles during the journey of launching Fashion Map?
Growing the platform organically, with no venture capital funding. We’ve had to be extremely creative & strategic about customer acquisition.
4. How did you start acquiring the first fashion designers for the platform and why do you think it’s having such a huge success at 200% growth each month?
Word of mouth & content marketing on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
Product - I think it’s because we’ve reimagined the system for our local reality.
Talking to our customers & keeping a close relationship with them has been very vital. Being in startup mode, we’ve done things that don’t scale as well. We’re still just getting started & we still have a long way to go. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
5. Are the designers always changing or are some constant?
To stay alive in business, you have to be constantly willing to change & adapt to the needs of the market regardless of what industry you’re in. We’ve seen that it really depends on the individual. Some are changing and diversifying their brands & some feel comfortable staying in a niche market.
6. What type or requirements must a designer have to be able to appear on your platform?
One of the limitations with e-commerce is the high entry barrier. We intentionally designed the platform to have a low entry barrier like Instagram does. However, we designed for trust & quality as well with pictures, reviews, ratings & verifications.
Everyone is vetted & the designers that qualify get verified. This forces other designers to improve their quality because customers are more likely to contact a designer with the verification badge.
7. What are the platform’s future plans?
We plan to scale this platform around Africa. We’ve been getting strong demands from a few countries like Ghana & Kenya. However, we are currently focused on establishing a strong foundation & presence in Nigeria first.
8. Tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in fashion related industries?
Obsesses over problems & not solutions, value is only created when you solve problems. Technology should be at the core of any solution because that is the best enabler.
The sub-Saharan African fashion industry is a $31bn market and is expected to double in 5 years, so there is an enormous opportunity here.