Wunmi Akinsola is a Nigerian fashion entrepreneur who is building “Africa’s ASOS”. She first ventured into the fashion industry in 2008 when her siblings co-founded a fashion brand called Virgos Lounge, a London-based womenswear brand, where she worked as a brand coordinator. In her position, she monitored transactions worth over £1,000,000 (now $1.3m), she told TechCabal.
After having a taste of the fashion industry, Akinsola took her interest further by pursuing a course in fashion and textile at the University of Kent, England. She continued to pursue a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation.
She subsequently interned at a number of British consulting firms but eventually decided to return to Nigeria to pursue a dream of being her own boss.
“I just knew I wanted to be in Nigeria. It was an odd decision to make at the time. My family, even though they supported me, frowned at it,” Akinsola told TechCabal.
In her decision to move back to Nigeria, Akinsola was clear she wanted to pursue a business in the fashion industry. She wanted to replicate what UK fashion retailer ASOS was doing in Europe in Nigeria. However, her return was not as rosy as she expected.
She got hired as a project manager for the 2018 Bridal Fashion Week in Lagos. Following the success of the event, she got headhunted by Jumia to lead its Women’s Fashion Category. She was then back in the UK. In 2020, she left Jumia to start Fashtracker to provide a pan-African marketplace for the continent’s fashion. She built Fashtracker to do what ASOS was doing in Europe.
Initially, the company wanted to contract its offerings within Africa but soon, Akinsola realized that half of the customers came from other parts of the world.
“I was only running ads for Nigeria and neighboring countries, and yet about half of my customers came from other parts of the world. So, it became obvious that there’s a massive market out there,” Akinsola said.
Fashtracker allows fashion designers and retailers to list their products for customers to find them and buy. The company makes money from a small commission on every completed transaction.
According to TechCabal, the company has also created a new vertical called Skinntracker following the increase in demand for beauty and cosmetic products. The Skinntracker category is where cosmetic brands list their products for sale.
Akinsola initially started Fashtracker as a ‘one man’ business, serving as its founder and CEO. Now she has a staff strength of six. Also, the company has over 30 brands that have been listed on the platform and have completed thousands of dollars worth of transactions.
Starting Fashtracker did not come easy for Akinsola. She said she struggled to get brands to be on board her project. Logistics was another challenge she had to deal with.
“As we grow and learn, we will continue to onboard more brands and drive more buyer traffic into the platform,” said Akinsola.