Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed: from medicine to gifts merchandise
Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed founded The Gift Source, a leading supplier of top quality and aesthetically pleasing gift products sourced locally and internationally, in 2013 to fill the void she noticed in Nigeria’s gift market.
Trained as a Medical doctor, her voyage into entrepreneurship was not smooth. When she started out seven years ago, she was quite inexperienced but she had a fierce determination to succeed.
‘’I started very green, I didn’t have any experience but I knew I wanted to fulfil a particular need in the gifting industry in Nigeria’’ she said. With no lofty expectations, Samiah took a step at a time, and in no time she experienced phenomenal growth.
‘’I always tell everybody when they ask me what contributed to my growth, I tell them It’s Instagram’’ she pointed out. The first thing she did when she started in 2013 was open an Instagram page for the business and ever since, Samiah has been consistent with the use of the platform. ‘’With no stock, no client, I had nothing, but I kept posting ’’ she revealed. From zero followers when she started, she has grown her following on Instagram to well over fifty-two thousand.
Growing followers and engaging them is important to The Gift Source because it translates to having a community of people that responds to what is put out. ‘’We put things out on Instagram before they even make it sometimes to the store or on the website, they are sold out’’ she stated. For Samiah, Instagram is responsible for about 80 to 90 percent of their growth, she said ‘’even people that didn’t come from Instagram, came from people who came from Instagram’’.
Samiah relentlessly advocates seeking knowledge about the path to thread, so learning from experts about the use of social media was a no brainer. She also shadowed some businesses that she loved, how they were running their businesses and these conscious efforts have made The Gift Source grow from an idea that started in the corner of her living room to a business that has two brick and mortar stores with a fully e-commerce-enabled website.
In addition to Instagram, Whatsapp has also been instrumental to the growth of the business because it helps cater to the older generation who are not able to maneuver their way around the more savvy social media platforms. The instant messaging app has also been useful in collating valuable information for the business and most importantly forming a basis for their database.
With the different tools available on these social media platforms, documenting her business’s journey and growth has been easy. ‘’I always say to people, go right down to the bottom of my Instagram page, you will see how organic our growth has been’’ she said.
Samiah believes her organic growth has made the brand more relatable and has caused more clients to connect with The Gift Source.
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