Fayples Transnational Ltd is a Niger Delta based company and the operator of Fayples.com, an online clothing store that offers rare but affordable clothing, sourced from a unique collection of international brands, to their ever growing customer base. They love to describe themselves as a Nigerian company with a global outlook. In a recent chat with Startup Nigeria, the company’s CEO and founder – Maple Dappa lets us in on the secrets behind the company’s success.
StartupNigeria: Please talk to us about Maple Dappa the entrepreneur
Maple:Maple Dappa is the CEO of Fayples Transnational Ltd and also the Principal Consultant of Mapemond Resources. I have a keen interest in brand development and organizational culture, harnessing youth potentials, and creative enterprise development. I believe in adopting new innovation and technology to meet everyday needs in more efficient ways. I obtained a degree [B.Tech] in Marine Engineering from the RSUST in 2006. On conclusion of my NYSC program in 2008, I spent a few years doing social work mainly in the area of youth and leadership development, based on the training I received from LEAP Africa, and then I ventured fully into entrepreneurship in 2010. In the same year I published my book – Seeds of Greatness. I used to run The Maple Institute a platform through which I trained over a hundred young people on how to craft a personal mission statement, goals setting, negotiation skills, communication and presentation skills, preparing for the job market, and so on.
StartupNigeria: Please share with us the vision behind Fayples
Maple: I first conceived the Fayples idea during my NYSC in 2008 but didn’t officially launch till 2014.Dating back to my days in the University up till this present moment, i noticed that a lot of people who desire unique but affordable clothes go from boutique to boutique, sorting through piles and heaps of clothes, yet barely barely able to find what they seek; Fayples is a direct solution to that problem.
StartupNigeria: We are eager to know what the next big thing for Fayples is
Maple: There is a whole lot more to reel out under Fayples. One is Fay Afrika – our collection of bespoke wears tailored by local designers in Africa. Our focus right now is on building Fayples into a successful and sustainable venture alongside my brand development firm Mapemond Resources. Beyond “next big things”, we need to grow our ventures to become profitable and sustainable. Also, we hope to have made significant progress in championing the growth of our local fashion industry because our platform is already being made available as a marketplace where local clothe makers and fashion designers can readily sell their products. I want to see ventures that outlive their Founders in this region of the country particularly.
StartupNigeria: What were the early challenges you faced starting with Fayples.com and how did you deal with those challenges? Besides, do you think its more challenging founding a startup in the Niger Delta than elsewhere (say Lagos)?
Maple: The early challenges had to do with insufficient funding. The seed funding we raised was less than the minimum capital we required, so we had to do a great deal of bootstrapping. Personally, I think creating a startup in the Niger Delta is a bit more challenging due to the absence of a startup ecosystem and culture down here. The work Focushub is doing currently, is part of what needs to be done to position the region as an economically viable startup hub. There is the dire need for more collaboration among entrepreneurs and the key driver is that entrepreneurs down south must strive to build profitable ventures no matter how small so that a viable ecosystem can be established for the growth of startups in the region.
StartupNigeria: It’s now a common mantra that sharing is caring. Any word for the young aspiring founders and innovators?
Maple: My advice to aspiring innovators is this- You must distance yourself from mediocrity if you want to be taken seriously. Gather as much knowledge as you can in the various practical areas of business like book keeping, people management, financial discipline and so on. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but avoid making them as much as possible and be willing to learn from the ones you make. Don’t be easily swayed by opinions, think through things thoroughly and match opinions and advice to what you really want for your business or venture. Lastly, you can’t be so sure of what will work and what won’t until you start. Put the basics in place and get started!