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Eloka’s Yardsale: Auctioning unused wardrobes for charity

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
24 July 2016   |   2:08 am
Ginikachi Eloka, a former brand ambassador of Zaron hair and makeup, is a lady of many parts, who means different things to different people. She is a blogger, a brand ambassador, fashion ...
 Eloka

Eloka

Ginikachi Eloka, a former brand ambassador of Zaron hair and makeup, is a lady of many parts, who means different things to different people. She is a blogger, a brand ambassador, fashion and portrait photographer model and a freelance writer. Interestingly, she is also interested in the arts, which she blogs about.

Born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria, she seeks to share the works of Nigerian/African creative with a global audience, while showcasing the authenticity, depth and exceptionality in the craft of individuals with roots in Africa.

She works in the creative industry as a content strategist, developing digital brands for people, firms and organisations. “Kachi,” as friends and family fondly call her, is young, daring, ambitious and vivacious.

“During my early years, I learned to love people even with all their faults. I learned honesty, empathy and most of all accountability,” she said. “There were a number of times my mum had to work, and I was left to take care of my siblings. And they were not spoiled. Dad’s cane (horsewhip) was a constant reminder that good behaviour, obedience and respect were the only acceptable traits we were allowed to possess.

“I practically watched my parents build their lives from the very scratch through hard work, faith, dedication and perseverance. And all these taught me to be independent, work hard, pursue my dreams and see them come alive.”

She always seeks to work with people, even before she gets to know them well. She is a networker and an organiser, who believes that greater things can be achieved through combined efforts. Her work covers editorial strategy, brand and style guidelines, maximising the impact of content through web/digital information, such as web pages, blog posts, social media conversations and email newsletters.

Her vision took flight in 2014, while studying systems engineering at University of Lagos. She came up with a business concept called ‘Yard Sales’, which enabled her make good money, while adding value to other people’s lives. At that time, she had a lot of clothes, which she wasn’t wearing anymore; either because they no longer fitted or simply because she had bought new ones.

So, the idea came to her that she could pass them on to people, who needed them because majority of them were still in great condition. She called her friend, who was studying medicine at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH) and she bought into the idea of selling their unwanted clothes.

Three weeks later, on December 13, 2014, they held their first-yard sale. “We had very little time for publicity and barely any money, but God saw us through because we had genuine intentions to help others, while also meeting our own needs and it was successful. The buyers were excited because the whole concept was new, fresh and exciting,” she recollected.

“Participants had easy access to so many good clothes at prices less than what they would ever get at regular boutiques. Those who came to sell made good money from the things they had basically neglected in their homes and wardrobes before then. It was a win-win situation, and it was fun! After that, people constantly asked me when another one would hold.

“It was difficult keeping people away, as they genuinely wanted to know what would happen next. There was a time someone called me, saying ‘Please Kachi, the Yard Sale has to happen soon o. I have two large bags of clothes and I don’t know what to do with them. This was amazing, as the idea really got me thinking that there was great potentials in selling directly from our personal wardrobes.”

The NFB Yard Sale, as the project is called, ensures that quality and stylish items from the wardrobes of style-savvy individuals are made available to many buyers at discounted prices, as well as provides a shopping platform that would help people desirous of upgrading or de-clustering their wardrobes make money, while doing so.

The most interesting part of it is the auction segment, which was a fundraising strategy for Iroto School of Catering in Illoti community, Ogun State.

“The mission of the school is to continuously equip young women from poor or indigent backgrounds with skills and a better chance of sustaining themselves and their families in the future,” she explained. “We are currently being supported with pieces made by Lisa Folawiyo and CLAN (from the House of Deola Sagoe), which were donated by Bidemi Zakariyau

But the project goes beyond doing away with good clothes. She realised that people sometimes buy things they never get to wear; own things they love, even when they are no longer fitting.

“Some simply arrive at a stage in their lives, which calls for a change of style. For instance, they get a new job, make new resolutions or develop a new taste. These are some reasons why clothes end up not being used or clutter most wardrobes.

“My mission is to help people give their barely-used clothes, accessories and possessions a lease of life by passing it on to new owners, who need them. At the same time, my desire is to provide buyers with good quality clothing at very affordable prices. This means giving people the chance to let go, yet recoup their money, which they could then use to buy what they currently or urgently think suits their lifestyle. I believe it’s an effective way of adding values to lives.”

Upon discovering after the sale that the outcome was good business idea that could blossom into something big, she started planning.

“And by God’s grace, we shall be holding another one soon. My joy is that the idea is still bringing quality and joy to others. So far, the project is reaching out and targeting a market of young professionals, creative entrepreneurs, students, fashion enthusiasts and even working women and mothers.

“Currently, we have over 20 online media brands supporting us, including Pulse Nigeria, The Blogger Point Nigeria, Stylemonument.com and Africanismcosmopoitan.com, just to name a few. Others are influential individuals, such as Leslie Okoye of Cookie Skin, Bidemi Zakariyau CEO of LSF PR, CEO of a Publicity and Branding Agency. There are also Style Bloggers such as Derin From Isaleko, Akin Faminu, Grace Alex, Cassie Daves, and the non-profit Organisation Women’s Board Educational Cooperation Society, supporting our project.

“We are excited with the success we have recorded so far, hence, it will be hard to express how appreciative we are of all the support. These brands and individuals combined reach an audience of over a 100,000 people on social media alone,” she explained excitedly.

In her opinion, Nigerians find it difficult letting go of personal effects because of so many reasons.

“It may be due to sentimental reasons, because life is hard, they got it as a gift, or it was passed down from a parent, or because they bought it at a really high price and they can’t just imagine giving it away. But if we must be a value-adding people, we must learn to let go. When you let go, you free yourself from unnecessary stress; you have less on your hands and less to worry about. You’ll also get more breathing space, and be able to focus on maximising the fewer things you have, as well as getting the chance to acquire bigger things that are more useful. In the words of Bryant H McGill, “Abundance is a process of letting go; only that which is empty can receive.”