Thursday, 01 December 2016 07:58

The ethnic doll going from Nigeria to the world

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Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya is taking his Queens of Africa doll brand to the world Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya is taking his Queens of Africa doll brand to the world
Entrepreneur Taofick Okoya made headlines when his African dolls outsold the legendary Barbie in his native Nigeria. Now he is focused on the rest of the world, not least the huge North American toy market. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports in its latest issue that Okoya began the Queens of Africa doll collection in 2007 after he could not find a black doll for his niece. Today his company, FICO Solutions Nigeria, has two ranges: Queens of Africa is targeted at both the African and global markets; and the more competitively priced Naija Princesses, which is focused on the local Nigerian market. Apart from the dolls themselves, there are brand extensions such as books, comics, music and an animated series. In 2014, he began exporting to various countries with children of African heritage, and has also created an international online portal. Customers can buy the dolls from the Queens of Africa website, or through global online retailer Amazon in the US and in five other countries. He is also in talks with other e-commerce sites and the brand now has representatives in Senegal and Benin, as well as Europe and Australia. Okoya believes that, so far, Queens of Africa has only scratched the surface. “As people get to know more about our products through word of mouth, sales have grown. But significant future growth is dependent on securing new customers in other parts of the world.” He recently completed a roadshow in the US to meet with potential buyers in an effort to expand the brand footprint. It was, he says, largely driven by a desire to have a meet-and-greet with the dolls’ growing fan base. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’ is published quarterly and distributed through AMC member organisations. It is also available in selected airline lounges.
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