Home Startups Jendaya is raising funds to scale up its Africa-focused luxury e-commerce platform • businessroundups.org

Jendaya is raising funds to scale up its Africa-focused luxury e-commerce platform • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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Fashion items are among the most – if not the most sought after – on many ecommerce platforms. For example, in Africa, fashion has taken the top spot in Jumia for the largest category of items sold over the years. This means there is no shortage of demand for fashion items across the continent and supply is picking up steam even in the more expensive categories.

The luxury goods market in Africa and the Middle East was Worth $35 billion in 2019, with designer clothing and footwear alone bringing in more than $7 billion in retail sales. Behind such transactions is cross-border trade, with African brands exporting their items to global audiences through personal shoppers. However, the more prominent scenario is the opposite: in this case, African consumers get help from family and friends in the US and UK to buy and ship luxury items to them.

While general e-commerce activities between African shoppers and global brands have taken place informally through long-standing relationships, different platforms have used technology to centralize these processes across different retail chains. Jendayaa year-old startup that acts as a gateway for global luxury brands to the African continent and for consumers around the world to discover African brands has come out of stealth and raised £1 million (~$1.2 million). in pre-seed financing.

The London-based but Africa-focused platform was founded by the CEO Ayotunde Rufai, who had the idea to start Jendaya after repeatedly acting as a personal shopper for luxury items in the UK for relatives in Nigeria. Other co-founders are COO Kim AdetuCCO Teni Sagoe and CSO David Elikwu; split between London, New York and Lagos, they launched Jendaya in December 2021.

“We wanted to create a platform where Africans on the continent, if they want Gucci loafers or Bottega bags, they don’t have to jump through hoops or be delayed by a month or a few weeks, because they can have them in their hands within days. or a week, so that’s why we started Jendaya,” Rufai said while speaking to businessroundups.org.

From apparel to beauty and home decor to accessories, the e-commerce platform connects African and African diasporic luxury brands with luxury consumers around the world and African shoppers with global brands. According to the company’s statement, it aims to shed light on the plethora of talent and stories emerging from the region by “seamlessly positioning African names in the same league as seasoned Western labels such as Issey Miyake, Lanvin and Givenchy.”

“Jendaya is a luxury e-commerce platform for the global citizen – Africa is also the most important part because the African citizen is also very global, they are very metropolitan, well traveled and visible, they are tastemakers,” said Rufai of the regular Jendaya shopper . “So these customers don’t just want Orange Culture, they want to mix the Orange Culture with Versace. They want to mix a Bottega with Valero and Casablancas and other new brands coming out worldwide. In that sense, these consumers dictate our brand offering.”

With an ethos that supports slow fashion, artisan crafts, made-to-order luxury goods and emerging talent, Jendaya is home to a range of brands, including Brooklyn-based minimalist accessories brand Marty Moto and others that integrate heritage into a modern context, such as Kenyan brand Adele Dejak. Other notable brands include Beninese-French silk shirt label Alledjo and fast-growing names such as Casablanca, founded by Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer, finalist of the 2020 LVMH Prize.

Jendaya works together with DHL and uses the logistics giant’s brand and extensive network. Jendaya also ships these designer offerings from Africa, Asia, UK, US and Europe to customers around the world. To date, Jendaya has received most attention from the UK, Nigeria, Ghana and the US, markets representing the most affluent black and diaspora neighborhoods.

The year-old e-commerce startup has processed about 300 orders since launching 13 months ago. Meanwhile, the average order value per cart is $350, less than a third of the benchmark — typically $750 to $1,500 — recorded by high-end luxury ecommerce stores, according to Rufai. “Customers are enthusiastic about our platform and selling luxury online is a different story. You have to build credibility, you have to build trust, and consumers have to be consistently aware of the platform and the brands we have,” the CEO commented on Jendaya’s order value compared to offline stores.

He adds that while the London-based luxury e-commerce platform has up to 70 brands on board through an invite-only pilot and direct relationships with multi-brand boutique partners, it plans to double that this year. By doing so, Jendaya hopes it will promote more African luxury designers globally and strengthen luxury e-commerce on the continent.

In addition to the e-commerce product, there’s the platform’s B2B offerings, which have brought it in around $100,000 in revenue to date. There’s Jendaya Editorial, showcasing not only the brands on the platform, but also key historical and seasonal news to inspire an international audience. And Jendaya Labs, the creative agency of the startup whose clients include Casablanca, Ozwald Boateng, Paul Smith and Burberry. Rufai says Jendaya differs in this respect from other larger Afrocentric fashion e-commerce platforms such as ANKA, in addition to an exclusive focus on luxury items: they are also global brands for Africa,” the CEO added.

Investors in Jendaya’s pre-seed round include Sabi CEO Anu Adedoyin Adasolum and several angel investors. The startup has also received funding from Ada VC, Culture Capital, actress Maisie Williams, and music celebrities Bizzle Osikoya and Asa Asika.

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