The internet has largely opened young Africans to the Business world as many of them are now engaged in many online platforms to sell off their goods and services both within and without, with little capital needed to kick off.
Though the start off goes subtly, and given the fact that it is a process that is still trying to gain grounds across Africa, likes like a Zambian based female entrepreneur Fatoumata Mukelabai has defeated all odds to excel in this line of business.
Meet Fatoumata Mukelabai, Founder of Fat’s Comfort enterprise
Fatoumata Mukelabai hails from Southern Africa precisely from Zambia. The 26 year old Fatoumata is a banker, working with AB Bank Zambia as Client advisor and also founder of Fat’s Comfort Online Enterprise. Her online company deals primarily with clothing (fashion) though her dream is to extend her line of business. Miss Fatoumata is one of those inspiring and audacious African ladies whose philosophies about employment doesn’t only revolve around the government. She believes so much is building one’s self and self-employment, thus challenging Young Zambians to not rely exclusively on the government for jobs. Answering to a few questions about her online platform, Miss Fatou had this to say to AFRIC’s microphones;
Interview with Founder Fat’s Comfort
- How did Fat’s Comfort come about? What pushed you into setting up this company?
Answer: There’s a fascinating story behind the name, it involves an interesting dare from my business partner who basically dared me to accept that name on the premise of its weirdness and the fact that it rolls out on the tongue quit easily, and of course I lost the dare. The genesis of the business idea stemmed from my need to be self-sustaining. I had a lot of thoughts bordering around being self-sufficient financially, outside of my monthly salary. Interestingly, it all started with the purchase of these really cool comfy fleece blankets I came across from my cousin. As soon as I used 1, I was hooked. My first order was 11 fleece blankets that cost k960 (Zambian Kwacha), $79 as of today. I had advertised to a few friends using my WhatsApp status. I do that a lot😀 and I feel this made even the more sense to start-up my company as an online store through the use of social media hosted on Facebook and Instagram. And so started my passion for sharing comfortable fashion wear with the public. That’s how Fat’s comfort was born.
- What is the company’s line of business (products or services)?
Answer: Our line of business; all things comfort, from clothing, shoes, to fashion accessories. We will soon be expanding to household goods that turn that house into a home. Stay tuned.
- For how long has it been operating and what are your dreams for the company in the next five years?
Fat’s Comfort has been operating for just under a year. In that period we have enjoyed considerable support for our products from our customers. They are an amazing tribe of fashion conscious people who care about their style. We match that care by providing the latest trends at their convenience. You should check out our hashtag #fatscomfort #styleconvenience…it ROCKS!
- Where do I see the company in 5yrs?
Well, I plan on expanding our product portfolio to include soft goods that you can place around your house, to transform it into a home. I plan on growing the business to other online platforms as well as offer a wider offline presence. I see ourselves as industry leaders in the local clothing sector, providing our own designs that will reflect the trendy Zambian fashion landscape. This will be supported by widening our delivery coverage to include all parts of the country. There is a distribution challenge in Zambia at the moment, we will overcome this challenge and fulfill our goal of providing affordable fashion to the populous across the country.
- As a female Entrepreneur, what are the challenges you face?
As a female, I guess it’s the term itself ‘female entrepreneur.’ there is no gender when it comes to entrepreneurship. Apparently the wider perspective thinks otherwise. the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ will rear its ugly face at some point, however, there is research that shows banks and other sources of external finance actually have a higher trust thresh hold for women entrepreneurs, interesting.
There may be the general perception that male business owners may look down upon their female counterparts, but I am yet to experience that elephant in the room.
- What is Fat’s Comforts Employment power?
Employment power has an interesting twist to it. Being nimble in terms of employee numbers is the future. I want to keep my fixed costs as low as possible so as to pass on that saving onto my customers, through affordable pricing structures. We now live in the age of freelance labour, this works well for us because primarily we are an online store. So in answering your question, our employment power resides not in the number of permanent employees but in the skills of the total team across several skill bases. Currently I have a very powerful team of 3 permanent staff complimented by a varying number of freelancers that include make-up artists for my shoots, hairdressers and the l (myself)
- What is your success story (What advice can you give to Zambians that can make them to hail as job creators and not job seekers.
Answer: Get a coach somebody that you can look up to. Somebody that is ready to help you achieve your goals. A Coach that has gone ahead and has experience in a particular field that you are interested in. Be open-minded and learn from others.
Surround yourself with people a team who are like minded and are capable of influencing you positively for a greater good.
Be determined, positive, focused and persistent in achieving your goals. Always have a positive attitude and energy to keep you vibrating at a high frequency; my coach would say.
Categorically, becoming successful does not entail working with or for the government, its entails building self-confidence, visions, positive attitude and above all embracing challenges. For so long, An African woman especially Muslims have been regarded as inferior beings whose capacities and capabilities can only be exercised in the kitcken. That notwithstanding, Women across the globe and Africa in particular have defeated such odds to meet up with the changing times.
Article from AFRIC editorial
Credit image/ Google images & fat’s comfort facebook page.