Making An Impact With Le Petit Marche – Isoken Ogiemwonyi and Wonuola Odunsi

Posted: February 15th, 2011

Isoken Ogiemwonyi

Wonuola Odunsi and Isoken Ogiemwonyi have created a platform for emerging designers, retailers and fashion entrepreneurs to gain access to their desired target market with Le Petit Marche -  a monthly fashion market destination for fashion insiders in and around Lagos. What started out as an opportunity to promote their personal interest has grown beyond them into a mission to help grow the Nigerian fashion and lifestyle industry by providing the number one retail solution and creative platform for Nigerian fashion designers and entrepreneurs.

This month, Le Petit Marche partners with Freedom Foundation (“a non-profit organization committed to affecting society by empowering individuals who are affected by various categories of social and economic disadvantage (drug addicts & sex workers for example”) on their monthly fashion market event by donating large proceeds from stall rentals to Freedom foundation.

As they celebrate their 2nd year anniversary, the dynamic duo share their journey so far with us, the highlights and their mission to make a difference in the Nigerian fashion and lifestyle industry by giving MORE.

What inspired the launch of Le Petit Marche Nigeria (LPM)?

Isoken: Initially, it was really just Wonu and I brainstorming effective ways to gain exposure for our own interests (Obsidian and Lagos Look), but in what feels like the blink of an eye, we have evolved past that. Now, we aim to be the number one retail solution and creative platform for Nigerian fashion designers and entrepreneurs, mainly by support emerging talent, introducing and exposing them to the buying public, and very soon we will be expanding our format to include content that we hope will help to build and sustain the burgeoning fashion industry.

Tell us about the LPM Team?

Wonuola: the team started off with Isoken and I playing on each others strengths but of course the growth of LPM has lead to diversification of our service offerings and workload reacquiring a larger team. Now our team is larger than its payroll because we get a lot of help from friends, family and collaborators.

Isoken: For a long time it was just Wonu and I, but we have recently hired an assistant to help us with the more administrative tasks and have brought in a partner (Latifah Adams) for our public relations arm.


How do you maintain a healthy balance between your respective careers and LPM.

Wonuola: Well!!!!! Necessity is the mother of invention! If it means that much to you, you’ll find a way around it!

Isoken: Well, needs must. I don’t really think it’s a ‘how’. You do what you have to and you just learn to instinctively prioritise.

What role do you think Pop up stores like LPM play in a retail environment like Nigeria?

Isoken: I wouldn’t describe LPM as a pop-up store at all. Mainly because, pop-up stores are transient by their very nature and LPM plans to be very, very permanent. Lol.

Nevertheless, I think LPM (and all its various incarnations) is very important because it gives people a singular avenue to buy hard-to-find lifestyle products, and for hard-core fashion enthusiasts – there’s nothing like that new ‘find’. Additionally, it has shown that there is a ridiculous amount of talent and drive in Nigeria. There are so many people exploring their talents, whether it be in fashion and lifestyle or in retail merchandising (it takes a good eye to source things that consumers want to buy).

Wonuola: I will have to agree with Isoken on this!

What is the distinguishing factor between LPM and other retail events?

Wonuola: PASSION, LOVE for what we do and genuine desire to make a difference.

Isoken: LPM is the originator. Furthermore, we are building a brand and are committed to growing the Nigerian fashion and lifestyle industry. We have very clear long and medium term goals, and it isn’t a haphazard undertaking.

Can anyone request for a stall at LPM? What is the criteria?

Isoken: Well, technically anyone can request, but your goods have to pass a basic quality test, one that we are looking at making more stringent. If it wasn’t so unprofessional, I would’ve given you some funny stories (laughs).

One year on…. Describe your journey so far.

Wonuola: it’s been one big adventure with many ‘i give up’ moments but in the end we persevere. There is such a huge disparity from our humble beginnings till now…hard work and patience pays off and we’re very proud and grateful for getting thus far.

Isoken: One word. ROLLERCOASTER. Going from 8 stalls in TBS to 60+ in the space of about a year and a half alone is beyond amazing. It was hard at times, and doubt can be a big hindrance. Like, can we do this? Are we moving too fast? But no matter what, we have an amazing team and we try to execute within the limits of our ability, and that alone has made it all worth it.

Pls share your favourite LPM highlights and least favourite.

Wonuola: the highlights for me is when I speak with a satisfied vendor, it just make me feel all warm and fuzzy reminding me why we go through all the trouble.

My not so happy moments generally occur when I’m unable to deliver the quality service that I would like due to circumstances out of my control :’(

Isoken: A major highlight for me was definitely the 2010 Grande Marche. Everything came together perfectly. I really felt like we were favoured. Filming the LPM Documentary was also immense fun, Bolaji Kekere-Ekun is a joy to work with. Funnily enough, one of my lowlights is related to the 2009 Grand Marche – we had monumental venue issues, but I guess it’s one of those things! 2010 might not have been so great if we hadn’t had teething problems in 2009.

What inspired the LPM/ Freedom Foundation collaboration?

Wonuola: it was a fall out of a meeting with Mrs Bali, who always champions some fund raising events for the Freedom Foundation. Also as a member of This Present house I had followed a lot of amazing work done by the foundation and had always wanted to be a part of giving.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Freedom Foundation?

Wonuola: Freedom Foundation is a charity organisation that assists and rehabilitates socially challenged individuals by empowering them the tools and skills necessary to fit into society and make a good living. They have various shelters for men, women and children assisting them with education etc.

What does giving mean to you?

Wonuola: to me giving is being able to do away with something that is of great value to you. It could be monetary, time, love…whatever works for you. For me, my time is very valuable!!

Isoken: How does that saying go? A man with $5, 000 and one with  $1million, but they both give $1000. Who’s the charitable giver in this story? Lol. Basically, give what you can, contribute positively and leave the rest to God.

What next for LPM?

Wonuola: aside from our plans to grow, we plan to make a positive impact on the Nigerian fashion and lifestyle industry.

Isoken: Big Big plans! It’s all top secret at the moment though. SHF will definitely be one of the first to know :)

What should we expect to see at the LPM Freedom Foundation ‘MORE’ event?

Wonuola: a completely different atmosphere with new and exhausting vendors and a new troop of shoppers!

Isoken: New format, New vendors, An amazing shopping experience as always.

Describe LPM in 3 words?

Wonuola: Fun, Network, and please, who are we fooling SALES!!!

Isoken: Versatile, Interactive, Unique.

Describe your individual styles in 3 words.

Wonuola: Dreamy, Colourful, Vintage

Isoken: Laidback, Deshabille, Comfortable.

How will you be spending Valentine’s day? With who?

Wonuola: errrr she will be watching dvd’s with the “he” lol

Isoken: Haha. That would be telling.

What is your definition of love?

Wonuola: freedom to be ones self.
Isoken: The Biblical version

LPM 2nd Anniversary Edition in association with the Freedom Foundation
Date: 27 February 2011
Venue: Harbor Point, Wilmot Point, off Ahmadu Bellow Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Time: 12 Noon to 6PM
For more information about participating, please email lpmnigeria@gmail.com

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COMMENTS

28 Responses

  1. [...] the rest here: Making An Impact With Le Petit Marche – Isoken Ogiemwonyi and … Tags: ahmadu, buying, format, harbor, harbor-point, include-content, nigerian, one-retail, [...]

  2. [...] the rest here:  Making An Impact With Le Petit Marche – Isoken Ogiemwonyi and … Share and [...]

  3. LPM isn’t exactly the originator, there was something like this called FEZ (fashion entertainment zone) way before LPM came into existence. That’s where u got the idea from isoken! Some of those who rented stalls include Yeside Mohammed, CaxtonAlile and Obsidian herself. Pls correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. CamCam says:

    Wonu & Isoken are fab, professional and great at what they do. LPM is a fantastic and affordable opportunity to ‘Buy Nigerian’ but its also a cool platform for other lifestyle retailers who don’t have their own premises. For customers to know they can find us at LPM on the last Sunday of every month is priceless. We’re proud to be associated with the event and the brand. Well done Ladies.

  5. [...] can also check out the interview LPM Founders -Isoken Ogiemwonyi and Wonuola Odunsi did with StyleHouseFile.com – Click Here ___________________________________________________________________________________________ [...]

  6. Ruth O says:

    Ok now that LPM is a huge success it was your idea all of a sudden and it was nicked? Come on, everyone can have the same vision. It is how you run with your vision that sets you apart from others. Sorry, LPM has a vision and they are running in the right direction with it. The best part, they have our full support. But for now, what matters is giving MORE.

  7. Isoken says:

    @bankolesmartcole

    Fashion Entertainment Zone? No idea what you’re talking about, and no I did not participate :s … so I guess you stand corrected.

  8. I agree with you Ruth. No idea is original but there’s no point lying about where you got an idea from, we’re all inspired by one thing or the other. Isoken, deceive urself all you want, there are pictures to prove it. Dammie Amolegbe, Osaru Alile, and so many others who were at the event will agree with me. You’ve done very well already don’t ruin it with lies and the typical Nigerian hypocricy and dishonesty that’s starting to rear its ugly head now.

  9. bibi says:

    bwahahahahahahaha!!! –> *points fingers*

  10. Isoken says:

    @bankolesmartcole

    Can I start by saying, It was WONU’s idea, her brainwave, eureka moment – whatever.I still have no idea what you are on about.So I’m not sure how I could’ve ‘gotten’ the idea from this mysterious event. Unless you know – she was at FEZ too.

    To my knowledge, we were the first to execute. If you claim FEZ was ‘first’ then so be it. I don’t believe you, you need more people.

    This is the last time I’ll respond to you. There is no need to undermine people’s hardwork and credibility with baseless assertions. We have never tried to hide the fact that we were inspired by Portobello, why a random event I have never even heard of would take precedence is beyond me.

    But please by all means, knock yourself out. Unearth these photos, I participated right? You’ve piqued my curiosity to be honest.

    All this is beside the point, LPM IS TWO PEOPLE! PLEASE COME AND CELEBRATE WITH US AND HELP A GOOD CAUSE

  11. LPM says:

    Thank you CamCam, Ruth, that1960 chick and everyone else who supports us! SHF Rocks!

  12. No no no, I’m not tryin to undermine ur “hardwork”. Its all good. If you say u know nothing then I believe you. Everyone here does anyway. I’m not fightin with you so pls calm down, I commended u as well. U’ve done well. Good luck with it.

  13. chi chi says:

    FEZ or no FEZ, LPM has done great givin so many of us an opportunity to breakthru!!! Thanks Isoken and Wonu!, but i actually know FEZ was way before LPM only the stalls were way more expensive and it was a bit discriminatory or “upscale” as they called it. And yes i remember there was an Obsidian stall there as well which Mariah was in charge of.

  14. Nicole. says:

    To be honest,whether it was Wonu or Isoken’s idea is neither here nor there.Execution and Sustainability are key.There are several other pop up markets such as Fusion,The Mobile Market etc,which the LPM ladies could argue was stolen from them as well.At the end of the day its all conjecture,all you can do is be the BEST at what you do and continue to grow,as opposed to twiddling your thumbs for two years (whilst they’ve been grinding) and attacking Isoken on a website.

    When other pop up markets started to emerge,did they leave comments on the internet?No.They got bigger and better in order to stay fresh and relevant.So should you.It was your idea first?Fabulous!Come back harder!Show them you are the real innovator with even better ideas than they have.Thats what being in business is all about.I wish FEZ the very best of luck regardless.

    P.S- Cannot wait til the MORE edition of LPM.

  15. Wemi says:

    Lol. Are you really being serious? Wasn’t FEZ a one off event? So how is it anything like LPM? So that means every single one off trade event that has happened in Lagos is also exactly like LPM?

    The major selling point for LPM is that it is MONTHLY. You know its going to happen and you know there is going to be a variety of vendors. EVERY MONTH.

    Please you have brain cells. Use them

  16. V says:

    EXACTLY! My sister, you took the words right out of my mouth. My mother organises groups of friends to come over and buy asoebi and jewelry and stuff like that. I’m sure LPM stole the idea from them. Nonsense.

    Don’t let this ‘he said, she said’ take away from a great organisation that has allowed me actually SHOP since moving back. 2 years! every month for 2 years, where were you in that time?

  17. bankole says:

    Well if any of those markets tries to call themselves the originators then I’d personally leave a note on the website. You’re all friends so I guess its only logical for u to c things the way u do. Don’t tell me to come harder cos I dint do fez, I only took the pictures but I kno those who did and I’m sure they’ve even forgotten bout it. I just thot to point out that there’s no point being in denial. Except u want to tell me I’m not free to comment on a site, can it rest now? GREAT JOB ISOKEN AND WONU!!!

  18. bankole says:

    And I mean that like if any of the other markets says they didn’t get the idea from LPM. “LPM is the originator.”

  19. b stylish says:

    LOL! Isoken u would have been better off not replying at all, now its just sooo clear u know this fez thing. my 2cents.

  20. NAM says:

    I participated at the first LPM and I am amazed at how far it has come. This is undoubtedly due to Wonu (and Isoken’s) singular vision and tenacity. it is honestly rare to find young women with the patience and diligence to carry an idea through and not just talk. The first edition was not great (Wonu can attest to this!) but they kept at it. I applaud them.

  21. T.I says:

    Ermm I was one of those who did Fez and it was meant to be a one-off thing, LPM is great and I’ve been a couple times as well. Isoken and I are childhood friends, there’s no need for all this friction. 2 similar ideas, one after the other, I think that’s a pretty normal occurence in life and business.

  22. jane.. says:

    Great job isoken and wonu, lpm is an amazing initiative I do hope that people will learn to appreciate peoples hardwork and easeup on the negative energy. It is absolutely ridiculous that people use amazing platforms like this website, to lay claims that are not.two young entepreneurs do an amazing job and instead of supporting them people find the need to be dramatic!and unprofessional.

  23. [...] can also check out the interview LPM Founders – Isoken Ogiemwonyi and Wonuola Odunsi did with StyleHouseFile.com – Click Here __________________________________________________________________________________________ [...]

  24. Kemi says:

    People need to rise above this silliness. All the additional comments are really not necessary. I do not know who Bankole or Isoken are, and they have ended the conversation.

    Congratulate LPM, Isoken/Wonu and move on.

  25. @Bankole says:

    Go and do something with your life …i donot mind if you steal someone else’s idea. Just do something.
    Well done LPM

  26. Torera says:

    @bankole A pop up market is a great idea and I believe there’s room for more considering there are only two major ones in Nigeria. So would you be so critical of some else who is inspired by LPM? Just asking. I’m really just asking. I’m hundred percent against imitation but I believe pop-up markets have been in existence a really long time so let’s just see who stands the test of time.

  27. [...] You can also check out the interview LPM Founders - Isoken Ogiemwonyi and Wonuola Odunsi did withStyleHouseFile.com – Click Here [...]

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