Abiodun “A.J.” Johnson and Esosa Ighodaro (courtesy of CoSign)
If you’ve ever admired someone’s shoes, wardrobe or general style on social media and wanted to grab it, the good news is there’s an app for that called CoSign. The greater news is that it’s a black creation courtesy of first-generation Nigerian Americans Esosa Ighodaro and Abiodun “A.J.” Johnson.
When Johnson complimented Ighodaro’s outfit on a New York City subway platform years ago, they had no idea they would be here. At the time, neither one of them had even considered an app like CoSign. That is until Johnson saw a pair of red shoes in a car commercial that he needed in his life. But when he went to the all-knowing internet, he surprisingly struck out. When he noticed he wasn’t the only one looking for those red shoes, an app was born.
CoSign bills itself as an app that “helps style-conscious millennials monetize their social media images.” And CoSign makes it super easy. Just download the CoSign app. Once it’s in place, “snap or upload a picture of your favorite product. Tag the product info. Share it on your social media channels.” Then wait for the ka-ching because, if they buy, you earn. Social commerce is what it’s called. “It’s peer-to-peer recommendation, and we’re trying to amplify that,” says Johnson.
When the duo started out, they didn’t have money per se. Luckily Johnson, a Dartmouth grad who grew up mainly in Memphis, Tenn., worked initially in the tech industry in project management and later in e-commerce. Ighodaro, a Temple grad who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., worked in finance and banking. But like anyone else, they had to start, even with full-time jobs.
“The first step for us was kind of putting together sketches in regards to what we were looking to create from an app perspective and then just finding the right team to put a prototype together,” explains Johnson.
“We put our money into it to begin the initial prototype phase and then, after that, started raising money through friends and family to make the more valuable product,” he says.