Ogbuefi Victor Okolie, Chief Executive Officer of Silky Touch Emporium, a luxury goods shop, has explained reasons behind the renovation which heralded the recent re-opening of its Abuja outlet. Speaking recently with journalists in Lagos, the business mogul said, “We decided to reconstruct the Abuja Emporium just to meet international standards and complement the luxury brand we stand for. As time goes on, I believe one should look back and look at one or two things. The luxury emporium has to wear the look of luxury, not only with the goods, but the interior ambience, comfort, technology must also speak luxury.”
Okolie explained that the new luxury looks the Abuja outlet intends to offer its customers is something that can be measured with the best luxury shops anywhere in America, Europe and Asia, adding, “We want the Emporium to be at par with most luxury shops in the world or even better.” Speaking further on the benefits the renovation is expected to bring, he said, “It has to provide all the comfort you can think of- a good ambience, the atmosphere must be well controlled, the display stands, the floor, the walls and the lightings. Not only that, we are also working on the staff, the personalities. They would be trained to have an idea of what they are there for. So comfort isn’t only with the shop as a culture, but it has also got to do with the people working there because customers have to be comfortable with the staff.
“The after-sales service we render is also next to none. We have our Italian-trained tailors that do alterations to specification. Customers can be sure that they’ll be well taken care of,” Okilie added.
The luxury shop which stocks the best labels deals in various brands such as Stefano Ricci, now rated to be the best and the most expensive luxury goods. It also has in stock Pal Zileri, a brand which has upgraded so much with their change of management. There is also do Cortigiani, Umberto Biliancioni and in the leather section, it has NIPMAR, Mauri, The Bridge and Delga- all top-notch brands.
Okolie who has been in the fashion business for over 30 years recounted the challenges encountered so far. “There is no business without challenges, either with government policies or facilities needed for the business but most importantly is the human factor, as we try to get the real professionals in this field because it is a specialised one and you know the human factor has got a lot to do with the success of any business. Once you can get it right, then you can get the business going. We also have some difficult customers. Because we are dealing in luxury goods, customers always want the full benefits for their money. So we have to deal with every little complaint when it comes.
“Apart from that, one of our biggest problems is debtors. We are not good debt managers in Nigeria. Debts are owed all over the world, but it is better managed in some other countries. Here we don’t look at debt as a crime, we see it as a game and that is why credit lines should be better explained in this country. The issue of dud cheques and bad debts should be well addressed,” Okolie said.