Jennifer Obayuwana, the Executive Director of Polo Limited was one of the celebrated trailblazers at the recently concluded WIE (Women, Inspiration & Enterprise) Africa 2014 Symposium with the running theme - The Global Leader.
The symposium which took place on Saturday May 3rd 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel Lagos, brought together the amalgamation of leading women in Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Fashion amongst other socio-economic spheres. Ms. Obayuwana spoke on the panel titled: Retail Ready- Developing African Fashion Labels into Viable Business". The discussion was centred on the opportunities and the challenges in the retail and luxury industry in Nigeria
Ms. Obayuwana began by discussing the growing trend of the consumption of luxury goods by Nigerians.. She stated that recent reports (2013) from the Global Tax Company has positioned Nigeria as the 4th biggest consumer segment by geography of luxury goods in the world, a position higher than that of 2012. As such, Ms. Obayuwana stressed that the spotlight, which is on Nigeria's luxury retail industry, presents an incredible opportunity to reshape and define the industry into a viable and sustainable industry . She emphasized that one of the ways to accomplish this was to replicate the luxury experience provided abroad to consumers in Nigeria. “Customer intimacy is an essential part of the retail business. This is what we have and continue to achieve with Polo Avenue”.
Ms. Obayuwana explained that although crippling circumstances exist that inhibit the growth of the industry such as the high cost of retail infrastructure, lack of manpower etc., Nigeria still presents a great opportunity in the retail and luxury industry.
Speaking alongside eloquent female technocrats which included Founder WIE Network Dee Poku, Philanthropist Folorunsho Alakija, renowned designer Folake Folarin Coker, Media personality Julie Gichuru, and talk show host/CEO Ebony life Mo Abudu, Lola Ogunaike, Reni Folawiyo, Omoyemi Akerele, Mako Osakwe amongst other distinguished women, Ms. Obayuwana concluded her discussion by admonishing young women to pursue their goals and imbibe the good practice of spending quality time in learning from accomplished women in our society.
The 2014 WIE (Women, Inspiration and Enterprise) symposium has been a platform for women industry leaders and influencers to come together and inspire and empower the next generation of women.Since its inauguration in 2010, the symposium has attracted the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Melinda Gates, Lauren Bush just to name a few. The symposium continues next year as a gathering of forward thinking and ambitious women who want to interact and engage with other likeminded individuals with the intention to make a difference.