The novel coronavirus outbreak would forever be remembered by people across the world for the untold hardship it brought and still bringing to life and businesses across the world. To United Kingdom-based Nigerian entrepreneur and boutique owner, Anne Namgbeh, a.k.a. Anne ATS, the lockdown declared by governments to curtail the spread of the deadly disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, really affected her two businesses, ATS Hair and Boutique ATS, as sales massively dropped during the lockdown period.
“My worst moment so far as an entrepreneur was the pandemic experience. The most difficult thing any business can go through is not making sales, so this was hard, very hard. This experience made me stronger and I’m confident now that I can go through anything and come out of it.
“Since last year, the fashion and accessories sub-sector like other businesses have greatly been disrupted by COVID-19. My businesses was particularly affected by this pandemic because I sell clothes, hair extensions, and accessories and we were on lockdown.
“People won’t buy clothes to stay indoors, so 2020 was terrible for me because no sales were coming in. Soon as the lockdown was eased, we created a massive discount for almost all our products so we could get rid of the old stock and that worked well for the business.
“Business is slowly getting back to normal as we’ve been on lockdown due to the pandemic. As you know United Kingdom was affected a lot by the COVID but sales are starting to come back in and business is doing well,” narrated Anne ATS, an Edo State-born entrepreneur, who studied Business Administration at the De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.
Speaking on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the UK, Anne ATS said, “First of all, being an entrepreneur in general is challenging. It doesn’t matter where you are. The initial challenge I encountered in my business was making profit. I didn’t make profit for the first six months and that was very difficult for me.
“This wasn’t because I was doing something wrong, it was a new business and needed publicity. At the time I had no website. So, I started selling on Facebook. I also would drive around universities and share my business cards.
“I used to tell the students they’d get a special discount if they refer one person and get more discounts if they refer two or more people. This strategy worked for me until I created my website. I still sell my products on Facebook marketplace, Instagram, my website as well as on dogebay.
“The major lesson I have learned about doing business both in Nigeria and UK is that it’s impossible to predict the future. We had plans to launch new products as well as working with some major celebs last year, but the pandemic had a different plan,” Anne ATS added.