While residing in the United Kingdom, Zaheed Mahmood and Surayyah Ahmad spend most of their income at high street shops. According to an article on Techpoint Africa, Ahmad sourced her inspiration on brand loyalty which perplexed the shop owners.
The couple viewed this as a chance to help people buy some of these products from nearby stores at no cost. They later started the YDS online platform to cater to fashion customers. Instagram also plays a role in marketing as YDS plans to ease Nigerians access to global consumer products.
Ahmad mentioned how they would pack hundreds of their products in parcels and were blown away by the orders arising from them. That being the case, most of the revenue generated only benefited the U.K economy. It is for that reason that they decided to shift to a business model that also benefits the African continent.
Began in the United Kingdom, now shifting to Nigeria
2018 marked a year since they began the e-commerce business and they had a vision of expanding inside Nigeria. Before starting YDS, Ahmad had prior experience working for two e-commerce companies – Ocado and JUST EAT.
As a software engineer, Mahmood perfected his trade working for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). As co-founder, Mahmoud still lectures at the University of Hertfordshire. Both of them have a history of having studied at this university at one point. Ahmad points out that they are doing their best to ensure Nigerians get good quality at globally competitive prices. The startup has thus far raised $250000 from angel investors.
YDS approached Miniso in August 2019 to partner. After negotiations, they came to an arrangement that saw the launch of MINISO Online.