How to start okrika business in Nigeria

Okrika business which includes the trading of “used clothes” or “Tokumbo products” is a business anybody can do with reasonable amount of certainty for profit and low risk of business failure.  You can start it with a small capital as low as  ₦5,000.00 and grow your business over time. Any town and city can be used including rural areas to trade in okriika business. As far the population of the town  is  relatively large. Nigerians including rich and not so rich wear used clothes in 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 is 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 it original condition for a long time.  The reasons why Okrika business is one of the easiest and profitable business people do today are as follows:

  • The population of Nigeria is still growing and many people –  young and old, rich and not so rich wear used clothes, so the demand remain high.
  • It is relatively cheap – the vast majority of Nigerian population fall on the low income group and prefer to buy cheaper okrika wares.
  • Ready market –  the availability of market in every part of the country for cheaper and affordable used clothes makes trading in it profitable.  Even though the market appear full, the demand for this body and footwears 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 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 retains its original texture and colour for a long time, unlike its counter part, new fabrics.
  • Location –  you do not need to rent an expensive shop to succeed, you can rent space on the road side, open market, also you can move about to  schools, offices and places where many people gather – churches, conference centres, etc.
  • Choices –  there are always 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.

From this write-up, I am going to tell you how you can start okrika business and succeed. A mini Okrika Business plan.  Follow the steps and you will not go wrong.

Steps to start Okrika business

Anyone can follow these 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, so the first thing to do is to learn the used clothes unwritten laws. You can do that by;

  • Partner with someone who is in the okrika business already. it is not enough to ask few questions about the trade and dabble into it only to begin to loose 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 River state
II.  Okrika market – this is located in River state
III.  Tejeosho market – this is located in Yaba, Logos state
IV.  Aswani market – this is a weekly market(Tuesday 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 clothe.  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 USA and ends up with bales from China, which is the cheapest. There are also cheap okrika bale in cotonou.  The content of a bale include the following:

I. Chiffon – this usually gowns and tops for women
II. Leggings for women
III. Jeans and chinos trousers for men
IV. Up and down mixed for children
V. Suits for men and women
VI. 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 ten thousand (₦10,000.00) or below.  You can begin by going for clearance sales.  Clearance sales 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 –  this can be in a market, shoping mall or street.  The rent for lock up shops are relatively high so unless you have so much amount of money:  you will find out that after paying the rent for a lock up shop.  You will not have sufficient money to start your business. This is what you can call 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, etc) 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 dummy.
  • Sort out the clothes by grading them. Grades of used clothes are as follows:

I. Grade A: This is fairly new material, either it has been worn before or not has been worn before and does not have any defect.
II. Grade B:  This has 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 way:

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 Face Book, Instagram and the Whatsaap to sell the wares and invite your friends to like your page. You can also advertise the clothes on the 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 large gathering of people.
V. 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 relatively easy business to start by anyone since it does not require 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.

If you are looking at other Business ideas to start, the read our page: Start a Business

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Chris Okafor

Chris Okafor

Chief Chris Okafor is a marketing consultant and CEO of C. J. Marketing Academy, providing training services to the industry and educational services to the profession.
He produces study materials for the students studying for the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) examinations.
He also provides tutorial services for students writing the NIMN examinations

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