Shopping Made Easy
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney
My dear readers, as we are in the Christmas spirit, a season of love and sharing. Let’s not forget to patronise small businesses owned by locals as their growth and expansion depend on it.
Today, I want you all to meet the very promising business owner, Hawanatu Uwanie Dumbuya popularly known as Aantie. She is the CEO of Shop With Aantie. A candidate at the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, an MBA Finance Student at the University of Zambia, a postgraduate candidate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Amity University India. She holds a professional certificate in Human Resources Management from UNICAF University, a verified certificate in Data Analytics for Managers, Michigan University, a certificate in Equity Finance and Innovative Markets and Industrial Technology from The Open University (UK). Hawanatu graduated from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone with a Second Class Upper in Accounting and Finance. She is currently working as a Finance Officer in the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project.
She had always dreamt of starting a business since she was a little girl. Born and raised in a household known for entrepreneurship, she saw first hand, how her mother was able to raise them through her business alone. Even though she wanted to work in the corporate world, she was not going to sit and wait for a job. So after graduation she went ahead and start her business venture known as Shop With Aantie. Now let’s hear the rest of her journey from the horse’s mouth.
Dasalonetiti: Tell us about your business?
Hawanatu: Shop With Aantie is an online gift store that caters for kids ranging from ages 0-15years. I am also into; home decor, office furnishings, cleaning Items, and personalized picture frames. Shop with Aantie makes it easy for my clients to discover, access, and buy products they see in videos, pictures and flyers. The public can access Shop With Aantie 24 hours round the clock, seven days a week. I offer premium customers satisfaction. As I bring my clients their choices right on their doorsteps.
Dasalonetiti: What made you start Shop with Aantie?
Hawanatu: I started Shop With Aantie to provide the general public with a much easier way to buy gifts for their families and friends. To ease the stress associated with going to town and walking miles just trying to locate the right place or the right gifts, cleaning materials or home decors. No one has time for that now, as people are extremely busy nowadays with work and other side dealings (which could be family, business or education). The goal is to take off the stress associated with scouting for gifts and home decor for our clients. I provide a one-stop service to my clients, as they can just go online locate all they want and I can get it for them.
Dasalonetiti: What are some of your successes since you started shop with Aantie?
Hawanatu: One of my biggest success has been getting different contracts with notable organizations and offices to supply assorted food items, gifts, water, and drinks. As this was not part of my initial business plan. But one thing I have learned is to be flexible based on our customers demand. My close proximity with my client had led to the opening of a whole new area for my business. Another Sucessful thing about Shop With Aantie this year is that we made our first 100 million or $ 10,000 in sales this December, the year 2020 has not been bad after all. Business has been good and favourable so far and I am sincerely grateful to all my clients.
Dasalonetiti: You are known for gifts, home decor and cleaning materials, why the moved to general supplies?
Hawanatu: (laughs out loud!) Well like I said earlier this few months of doing business I have learned to be flexible. Doing business with corporate staff and workers, the question about general supplies will always come up in conversations. As a smart and savvy businesswoman that I am, I cannot let such opportunities slide. If my clients want general supplies for a specific occasion or their organisation, then that’s what they will get.
Dasalonetiti: Can you share with readers some of the challenges you’ve faced in the course of doing business?
Hawanatu: Sure! One of the major challenges for me so far is time. Being caught up with school work and business at the same time and now working a full time job has not been easy for me or those around me. I am in constant pursuit of ways to manage my time so that nothing that concerns me is affected. It was hard at first as I rarely have time for Shop With Aantie. But so far I have been blessed with good and hardworking people supporting me. Another constraint is the cost of transporting goods to the doorsteps of our customers. I usually spend a huge amount of money to hire the services of a delivery van for a whole day sometimes. Especially, If I have an urgent delivery of supplies for a client
Dasalonetiti: How has covid affected you and your business?
Hawanatu: Covid 19 has not spared anyone or anywhere in its quest of wreaking havoc. Personally, the inconveniences of wearing a mask and the ban on social events or gathering, the restrictions on movement, have not been easy. Business-wise covid19 pandemic has adversely affected my placement of stock. I usually run out of stock because of shipping constraints. Most of my gift items are from the United Kingdom. The UK had been severely hit by covid 19 and was in lockdown. land, air, and sea thereby bringing everything to a halt. Goods took longer to get here when they resumed services leaving us out of stock a few times. Thereby causing clients to wait for long periods to get their supplies. Thankfully, most of them have been understanding, patience, and tolerance towards me and the business.
Dasalonetiti: what should we expect from Shop with Aantie in the coming years?
Hawanatu: I just want people out there to watch my space. I am moving and will keep working hard. Even though it may seem as though Shop With Aantie is taking another route. They should also know that I am an online gift and decor store operating as an enterprise. I am still into what I established this business for. I have just added general supplies to it wherein I supply Food items and other essential to different offices and organizations. Shop With Aantie is now beyond the normal Baby, family and friends gifting thing or Picture Frames. I do bulk supplies of drinks, bottle water, gift hampers, and cleaning enssentials. Shop with Aantie has been doing huge things behind the scenes. I hope to continue that way and keep satisfying my clients.
Dasalonetiti: What is your advice to other young people, who are afraid to take the risk of starting a business?
Hawanatu: Being able to do what you love and want to do is a good thing. I can tell everyone and anyone who cares to listen that for sure business pays. No matter how small you have to start, try to give it your all. It is usually important to start small in the first place. Always back up your hard work up with prayers as this is key as well.
Dasalonetiti: Thank you very much, we hope to catch up with you in the future. We wish you the very best with Shop with Aantie.
So, there you have heard it all from Hawanatu CEO of Shop with Aantie. Even though some people will say we are romanticizing entrepreneurship, it is not an easy thing as others are claiming it to be. Nobody said it will be easy. Entrepreneurship is hard everywhere. But if you have the zest for it, why not take the risk and start small like Hawanatu?
What are you waiting for? Are you looking for any type of gifts for your loved ones. You are moving into your new home and wants to decorate? Do you want to redecorate? Are you looking for a supplier for your office essentials or private events? If you are in need of any of the above or you simply wish to get more information on how to Shop With Aantie? Kindly, contact them on:
Instagram Shop With Aantie
Facebook: Shop With Aantie
©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as Dasalonetiti Rahima