COVID-19 will among other things push entrepreneurs in the fashion and lifestyle business to explore e-commerce if they are to survive.
That’s the view of Ghanaian shoe maker, Tonyi Senayah.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions shifted demand from non-food items such as shoes and clothes to food items, medication and other basic things needed for survival.
Tonyi Senayah, a young Ghanaian Entrepreneur and the owner of Horseman Shoes, one of Ghana’s popular footwear brands, told Citi Business News that even after the three-week partial lockdown was lifted, his customer base reduced by a quarter, since for a long time, there was a ban on social gatherings such as weddings and funerals, where Ghanaians love to display fashion and style.
“For a very long time, there haven’t been weddings and parties and those who have weddings in this period are very few. They are not even out time in terms of social media because those occasions are when people go to flaunt what they have in terms of fashion. So if they are having small weddings there is no need to go and sew anything extravagant or get an extravagant shoe,” he said.
COVID-19 has led to job losses, whereas others have been compelled to work from home in an attempt by companies to enforce social distancing.
But depending on the nature of one’s work, working from home could be practical or unpractical.
For a shoe manufacturing company that has ordered leather to make shoes, time was running out as workers were asked to go home during the partial lock-down period.
“For the production side, all of them are back to work. It’s a small team and we don’t have the large numbers so we are able to practice social distancing and other protocols. But we have other staff and we had some professionals that we had on retainer. So, during this period, we told them we could not sustain the contracts so we had to suspend the contracts for a while,” he said.
As COVID-19 spread rapidly across nations, governments were forced to take drastic measures by closing borders to restrict human movements, and this affected many businesses, as goods that were scheduled to leave got stuck, and those scheduled to come in were locked outside.
Prior to Ghana closing its borders, Tonyi Senayah said he was getting ready to fly a number of shoes to Europe, but they’re now locked in transit.
“Just a week to the border shutdown, we had shipped some shoes to Melbourne. As we speak, when you check the tracker, the shoes left the shores and I am sure it’s mixed up somewhere,” he said.
Tonyi Senayah says the challenges of COVID-19 present an opportunity to think outside the box in creating leather laptop bags, leather wallets and leather belts.
To effectively sell and generate revenue, Mr. Senayah says E-commerce will be the new market place as physical shops will reduce in number.