Nigeria is undoubtedly the 'owambe' capital of the world (and since no other country says 'owambe', we're correct). A 2014 Bloomberg article reported that $17 million was spent on parties in Lagos over a five-month period. At least 90% of Nigerian parties have their own deliberately and particularly selected 'aso ebi', and the attendees of the parties almost always go into panic mode trying to find the fabric.
No more, because Ijomah Venn Oputa's Fabricsphere is reducing the stress and difficulty people go through to purchase these materials and distribute them. Fabricsphere helps customers source for the right fabric (ankara, lace, atiku, aso-oke etc.) at affordable market prices.
All a customer has to do is fill in an order (quantity and type of fabric e.g black ankara fabric), an agent will contact them with the cost (made up of fabric, service charge and delivery charge) and their fabric gets delivered to their doorstep - if the customer has a picture of the material, they can upload it to the website and make it even easier to fulfill their order.
According to Fabricsphere founder, Ijomah, the process was not always this easy:
"I had to do a couple of web development jobs, sell my car and get a loan from family members. also, partners played their part. The money helped but still the complications of a marketplace and the fact that the fabrics retailers and wholesalers in the market weren’t tech savvy enough to remain on the platform was another challenge.
I decided to take another approach...I made a call to one of the merchants who had initially accepted our idea and explained to her that I’ll like to come to the market more often to learn from her and observe what and how customers made their decisions on a fabric. She was skeptical at first but she agreed."
In addition to the on-demand model where customers place orders for what they want, Fabricsphere also has an eCommerce model where customers who love shopping for fabrics can shop online for whatever fabric they need from the company's inventory.
We can all agree that going to the market can be tiring especially for those with busy schedules, and trying to slot in market time is an uphill task, so it makes sense that Fabricsphere is trying to make the shopping experience seamless and convenient.