Sourcing Material from Balogun Market in Lagos
So to do some market research you have to understand the market – so we went to an actual market. Besides just doing basic research on sourcing material, we also wanted to buy material for some fresh outfits.
We headed to Balogun Market on a Thursday afternoon. Balogun is always bubbling – moving cars, bikes and bodies.
After weaving through the bodies and avoiding getting hit by cars and bikes, we stopped at the first shop where we saw some material.
Not too impressed by the shop (we would have liked to enter the shop to bargain properly), we decided to check some more options.
One of the guys on the street that was trying to sell us shoes. We told him we wanted to buy material, he replied “Senator Material?… You’ll find that one at Tinubu” He proceeded to take us to a store.
This store was air-conditioned and properly-lit, so we could take our time here. The store owner showed us a variety of his products.
He had both regular and high quality material. When we asked how we could tell the difference. He responded “make I burn am for you”. This is how we learned about the smell test.
By burning the material, you can tell the higher quality wool. It smells like burnt animal hair (wool). Besides the smell, you notice that the higher quality material is more fire retardant – that is it doesn’t catch fire easily compared to the lower quality material.
The store owner (who goes by the name of Dominic aka Don B) took his time to explain the difference between quality levels and I must say, he was a very patient salesman.
Talking with the owner of the store (who goes by the name of Dominic aka Don B) about where he sources his products, he said most of the products are imported from China. Even the ones that say “Made In Italy” are actually made in China. Although, you can also get high quality wool that’s made in China. Use the smell test to test 🙂
Besides testing out different material and watching my dad bargain with Don B, I also asked him about the challenges he faces with his business. He said they struggling through this “Buhari times” – meaning the economy is making it difficult for their business because it’s dependent on imports.
He also said it has been difficult to get Chinese visas because they are cracking down on Nigerians going to China. Making it difficult for them to source their products from China.
If the Nigerian textile industry could get back to its past glory – where material is produced locally – Nigerian distributors can reduce their reliance on imports of material and other products. There will be more value to be gained with the country by integrating and internalizing the supply chain.
We wrapped up our transaction and were pleased with the experience – bought some high-quality material and learned a little bit about the material supply chain in Lagos. So if you are looking for material in Lagos head to Balogun Market and you would find a variety of textile that meets your needs.