Shoppe Black, a U.S. based startup hosts this event at the Social Media Week Lagos Conference. Shoppe Black focuses on how innovators can leverage followers to grow their business. There were four panel members to address: Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson, CEO and co-founder of Shoppe Black who moderates the session; Yaya Blay, Professor and Producer, BlackStar Creative; Shantrelle Lewis, Chief Dream Director, The Future Project and Nwaji Jibunoh, Management Consultant, Philips Consulting.
Yaya Blay, who has been profiled in a documentary by CNN, reckons she was able to grow her social media base organically by engaging the right audience. She opines that having the right relationships and friendships work together to contribute to whatever an individual becomes at the end of the day. “You can do it alone sometimes, but do you really want to? To create time to do other things, you need help,” she says.
Shantrelle Lewis is unequivocal in her belief that to grow your brand, you must do the work. Whatever you are passionate about becomes your brand, however, it’s also about your face and what you project to the public. She gave an example of Lisa Price who more or less started the natural hair movement but eventually went bankrupt when she went corporate because people just didn’t feel the brand was the same anymore. Team US is based on the concept that if you want to go far, you have to go along with people of like minds.
Nwaji Jibunoh advises anyone who wants to build their brand to align themselves to organizations, entities and individuals that align with them, just like he did when he decided to work for Philips Consulting. He reiterates Yaya Blay’s point about doing what you can do alone, but making use of partnerships in areas where you require assistance. There is the need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery so that we can build brands that are authentic to us. The late Otunba Gadaffi of the “Shit Business is Serious Business” fame brought this to bear in marketing his business. Don’t just spend money blindly to project an image that is not true to you. Focus on substance.
Shoppe Black wants to facilitate relationships between U.S. and Nigerian companies and is in the process of building the largest database of black businesses around the world.
Quotable Quotes from the session
“Black people are everywhere. In the grand scheme of things we are not the minority, contrary to what many think.”- Yaya Blay
“We need to have more cross-cultural connections. So much can be achieved through these collaborations.”- Shantrelle Lewis
“Never worry about perceptions that are not true while building your brand. Stand by your own truth.”- Nwaji Jibunoh