In order to promote women’s empowerment and to generate awareness of the importance of achieving gender equality, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments each Wednesday.
For this week’s #WCW #WednesdayCelebrateWomenUNIC Windhoek celebrates Loide Amadhila, the owner of Namibia’s first online fashion store, 264Online.
Check out Loide’s interview with UNIC Windhoek! Read along as she talks about how her passion for fashion inspired her to start her own online store and explains the vital role information and communication technology (ICT) can play in women’s empowerment.
1.) Tell me more about yourself and why you decided to start up an online fashion store?
I’m Loide Amadhila, I was born in Eenhana, Ohangwena Region. I am married and a mother of 2 very energetic boys.
I have a passion for fashion and styling and always wanted to have my own business. I want to create a unique shopping experience for women like myself, who love fashion and who express their identity with the clothes they wear but don’t necessarily have time to stand in queues. Ecommerce is no longer a luxury for today’s businesses. It’s a necessity. Without ecommerce, you’re limiting the potential for growth.
2.) As the owner and founder of Namibia’s first online store, what opportunities do digital platforms provide entrepreneurs with?
The world-wide-web gives me the opportunity to sell my products to all the people [who have access] to the internet. That means [a] GLOBAL [market]. Thus digital platforms reduce the effects of geographic barriers. On the Internet, even the smallest online retailer can be as attractive and functional as the largest store, without the need to have a physical presence on the street corner, thus [providing] the opportunity to establish ourselves on a level playing field with larger competitors. Being an online retailer allows my brand to connect with a myriad of different people from all across the city and the country, as opposed to the limited clientele I may have had, had I opened a physical store.
Marketing benefits of reaching a wider audience is also a key benefit of using digital platforms. With the advancement of technology and the development of the Internet, entrepreneurs today are provided with a lot of potential customers to their venture. Videos, blogs and social networking can easily be accessed by people around the world. I saw these opportunities being taken advantage of by businessmen and women in other countries and decided to follow suit.
3.) How does the Internet and access to information play a role in promoting gender equality?
I believe that equitable access to ICT’s is an important tool for empowering women. I find social networks to be of a particular use for linking women and girls globally and facilitating transmission of good practices from developed countries to developing ones.
At the same time, I believe that social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are a great tool for women to create a sense of community, in order to share ideas and subjects that are of common interest.
Internet and access to information has potential roles towards [achieving] gender equality by empowering women. The utilization of ICT influences women to achieve individual satisfaction, independence and decision making roles through economic participation.
4.) What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment, and why it is important?
Diminishing the importance of women means failing to make use of humankind’s full potential. Simply put, women and girls are the most potentially capable untapped resources on the face of the earth. And this is why we need women’s empowerment. Women should get equal opportunities to grow, learn and add to the society in whatever way they feel happy with.
5.) What is your advice to girls following their dreams?
Persistence is much of what separates the successful from the pure wishful thinkers. Distinguish yourself by staying motivated even in the toughest of circumstances and remember you can’t follow your dreams at a leisurely pace. You need to give them 100 percent of your effort if you want to achieve them, and be happy with what you have, but never give up on what you want.
6.) What is your motto in life?
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.