These days, Guyanese are no strangers to technology-assisted shopping…on line shopping is the appropriate term. Steeped as we are in old habits, however, some shoppers have been quick to draw attention to what they believe to be the downside of this pursuit, the absence of that instant gratification associated with seeing, liking, paying for and taking delivery, all in a matter of minutes. So that here in Guyana, for all the popularity associated with on-line shopping, the old-fashioned department store still has its adherents.
Na-Mar, a local virtual clothing store that caters exclusively to male fashion needs says that it aims to offer the best of both worlds, online shopping through their same day delivery or pick up policy.
Na-Mar showroom hosted at http://namarshowroomgy.
com, styles itself as a company with a unique solution for male shoppers of designer brands, offering both easy access and competitive prices. The company’s co-founders, Mark Murray and Namon Frank, told Stabroek Business in an interview that they aim to bring brand-name clothing to the doors of male shoppers with their same day – pick up or delivery in Georgetown. It is, they say, a service that targets, in large measure, male shoppers who are inclined to ‘hunt down’ clothing only hours before an event.
Established in July, the public response to Na-Mar’s, its proprietors say, has been encouraging. The virtual shop offers clothing and accessories from popular brands like H&M, Ex-press, Armani Exchange, Old Navy, Gap and Jack and Jones.
The co-founders told Stabroek Business that they decided to create a virtual shop instead of opening an actual boutique, since “doing business virtually” is cheaper so that those lower overheads can be passed on to customers. In effect they boast of being more competitive than actual clothing stores.
“We try to meet the pockets of the average public servant who should not be left behind in the fashion world. It’s more of dressing to impress while paying less,” the proprietors say, adding that they have taken a company decision to “always ensure that our products do not go past a certain margin like other stores.”
Asked about their payment options, customers currently pay upon delivery or pick up. However, they explain that in 2018 they are working to create a payment option that mirrors GTT Mobile Money, making it more convenient for customers.
For all the good fortune that Na-Mar has experienced so far, the initiative has not been without its challenges. One of those challenges reposed in putting together the ‘paperwork’ necessary to ensure compliance with the regulations associated with operating a small business. The two entrepreneurs say that they believe that there is a role for government in providing an incentive climate in which small businesses can thrive, not least, tax waivers on selected imports and support for technical training for aspiring small business owners.
Murray and Frank say that the future of their venture depends on patronage. Their current focus is on building a customer base in a competitive environment. In the immediate future they are seeking to partner with two other small businesses, Golden Crunch Coconut Biscuits and Rose Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to establish a ‘pop up’ shop inside the popular Giftland Mall. The Shop will offer for sale clothing from their virtual store along with locally manufactured products such as Coconut biscuits, Virgin coconut oil, Coconut casareep, Mixed Fruits (Carambola & Cashew) and Hot pepper sauce which are packaged in various sizes.
The pop up store, they say, is their way of bringing the online platform to reality in order to afford customers an opportunity to cash in on seasonal deals. Deals for the Pop Up Shop, Stabroek Business was told will be a frequent feature of Na-Mar Showroom during 2018 as the company extends itself into creating a network of small businesses that seeks to provide opportunities for aspiring young entrepreneurs.