How to start Okrika business in Nigeria


Okrika business which includes the trading of “used clothes” or “Tokunbo products” is a business anybody can do with a reasonable amount of certainty for profit and low risk of business failure.

You can start it with a small capital as low as N5,000.00 and grow your business over time.

Any town and city can be used including rural areas to trade in Okrika business, as long as the population of the town is relatively large.

Nigerians, including the rich and not so rich, wear used clothes to varying degrees. Some low income earners wear it as a matter of course; some others wear it because they have spotted designer and fashionable wares. Okrika clothes, Okrika bags, Okrika shoes are very popular among Nigerians which makes Okrika business very lucrative.

Why you should start Okrika business

Today, the Okrika business is booming, not only because of the continued recession in the country but because of the popularity of being durable and retaining its original condition for a long time. The reasons why Okrika business is one of the easiest and profitable businesses people do today are as follows:
Population of Nigeria is still growing – Many people young and old, rich and not so rich wear used clothes, so the demand remains very high.

It is relatively cheap – The vast majority of the Nigerian population falls in the low income group and prefers to buy cheaper Okrika wares.

Ready market – The availability of markets in every part of the country for cheaper and affordable used clothes makes trading in it profitable. Even though the market appears full, the demand for this body and footwear continue to surge on.

Affordability – The majority of people can afford the clothes because the clothes are graded according to newness, quality, fashion and style
Everything must go syndrome – There is no unsold stock in Okrika business as everything must go. It means that all stocks must be sold. The market for all grades of Okrika is Aswani market, Lagos, where there is always opportunity for any unsold stock to be sold through “clearance sales”
Popularity of Okrika clothes – People believe, me too, that used clothes are more durable and retain their original texture and colour for a long time, unlike its counterpart, new fabrics.

Location – You do not need to rent an expensive shop to succeed, you can rent a space on the road side, open market, also you can move about to schools, offices and places where many people gather – churches, conference centres.

Choices – There are always a variety of grades people can choose from, such as A grade, B grade and C grade.

There is relatively high return on capital. The business of this nature is lucrative if you learn and play by the rules of the trade. This means buying good quality materials and selling at reasonable prices thereby making profit by “turning over”

Capital is relatively low – The amount of capital required to start Okrika business is relatively low, since you do not need to pay for a shop, you can even hawk the products about.

Steps to start Okrika business
1. Learn the trade
Since nobody can be successful in any business venture without first mastering the tricks of the trade, the first thing to do is to learn the unwritten laws of used clothes. You can do that by partnering with someone who is in the Okrika business already. It is not enough to ask a few questions about the trade and dabble into it only to begin to lose money from the outset.
You will learn about the major markets for used clothes, i.e where you buy all classes of grades of Okrika, since not all markets will favour you. The popular markets include:
I. Okrika market – this is located in Rivers state
II. Okrika market – this is located in Rivers state
III. Tejuosho market – this is located in Yaba, Lagos State
IV. Aswani market – this is a weekly market (Tuesdays only) located at Isolo, Lagos
Grading of used clothes: To sell Okrika clothes, you must understand how used clothes are graded, i.e what you take into consideration when grading. For example, the country from where the Okrika was imported from, how fashionable the clothes are and the clothes’ newness and quality, i.e the condition of the clothes.
How to market your wares: You must learn how to price your Okrika clothes and the price you attach to each of the wares will depend on the grade of the clothes. So you price your clothes on how new they are, how fashionable they are and the general condition of the fabric at the time of sale.
Know what is contained in a bale of Okrika and the type of potential market for the clothes. The bale of Okrika from the United Kingdom is most popular and expensive, followed by bales of Okrika from the USA and ends up with bales from China, which is the cheapest. There are also cheap Okrika bales in Cotonou. The content of a bale include the following:
I. Chiffon – these are usually gowns and tops for women
II. Leggings for women
III.Jeans and chinos trousers for men
IV. Up and down mixed for children
IV. Suits for men and women
V. Complete wares for babies

2. Capital
The capital with which you want to trade determines the level at which you are going to start.
At the basic level, you need about N10,000.00 or below. You can begin by going for clearance sales. A clearance sale means that you buy leftovers – these are low grade materials and they are cheap and so you sell at low prices and make profit.
At the intermediate level, you can select and pay i.e you select from available materials and settle the seller. This now becomes the clothes you can sell in your location.
At the advanced level, you can buy bales (sealed sacks of used clothes) and sell them either in bales or open the bales and retail the contents

3. Find a location
With location, you have three main options:
Roadside – Here you pay the “Area Boys” and use the space allocated to you
Open market – Here you pay the daily market fee collectors and use the space allocated to you.
Lock up shops – These can be in a market, shopping mall or street. The rents for lock up shops are relatively high so unless you have a large amount of money, you will find out after paying the rents for a lock up shop. You will not have sufficient money to start your business. This is what you can call an Okrika boutique. Most of the big boutiques in cities across Nigeria trade Okrika products.

4. Marketing and sales
In order to be successful in the Okrika business, you must make your wares attractive to passersby and others who care to buy the clothes. So, you wash the clothes (with toilet soaps such as: lux, joy, premier, imperial leather) in order to remove the stinking odour associated with Okrika. Put them in first class grade particularly those that are fairly new.
It is also aimed at making clothes clean and attracting potential buyers when they are displayed in a shop. However, those who sell in open markets or roadside do not have to wash their wares because they do not display the clothes either by hanging or the use of a dummy.

Sort out the clothes by grading them. Grades of used clothes are as follows:
I. Grade A: This is fairly new material, whether it has been worn before or not has been worn before and does not have any defect.
II. Grade B: This has a small or minor dent like stain.
III. Grade C: This has a major dent, either torn in a vital part, fairly old, or it has been amended.
IV. Mixed grade: This has little of grade A, B and C

How to promote the used clothes: You can promote your Okrika business in the following ways:
I. Word of mouth – You can tell your friends and invite them to your place of business to select and pay.
II. Social media – You can use the FaceBook, Instagram and Whatsapp to sell your wares and invite your friends to like your page. You can also advertise the clothes on social media. You can form a group and advertise your products to them.
III. You can create a forum and advertise your products in such websites as Nairaland,, and
IV. You can hawk your products by carrying them about and to offices, schools, places where there is a large gathering of people.
IV. You can take pictures of the finest of these clothes and shoes and send them to your friends on your constant list.

Okrika business is a relatively easy business to start by anyone since it does not require a large amount of capital. Usually no registration of business name or incorporation is strictly required. No compliance with any regulatory body, so far you buy your products in Nigeria. That is because the importation of second hand clothes is disallowed into Nigeria. If you have a lock up shop, it is most likely you pay tax and other levies imposed by the state and/ or the local government authority. This is one of the best business ideas in Nigeria for small scale capital.