I left Lagos in May, as some of you might already know. It was a decision that I made in a day, despite having it in the works for way over a year. I just stood up that day and told myself that I had had enough, Lagos did not seem like the place for me and I just could not cope any longer. I made some calls, left for Ibadan to see my parents and to tell them of my next plans, I was going to Abuja and I had high hopes that I would be better and happier there.
I definitely knew that it was not going to be a bed of roses. Many of my friends did not think it a wise decision because they felt I was leaving certainty for uncertainty. I understood their fears as I also had same but I just knew I had to do what I had to do. After all, I had prayed about it and I had my faith solidly built on the fact that favour and Grace would follow me everywhere. I stayed at Ibadan for a while then went to Lagos with my brother to move my clothes, gadgets and other things to Ibadan. My brother left with them and I packed the remainder of the clothes into two boxes, Off to Abuja I went.
I got in, went to my family friend’s house ( I had pre informed her of my coming) and with her help, I started settling in gradually. I began applying for jobs and soon, I started getting interview invites. Yaay, that looked good yh?
For a long time, anytime anyone suggests Business to me, I was always quick to respond to them with : ” Nah, I’m not a business oriented kind of person” or “Do I look like someone who who can sell and buy to you”.
People’s reasons for wanting me to start a business stems from the fact that they believe I have the charisma, disposition and ability to run a business. They also felt that I already have the audience and getting customers will not be a huge task. They do have valid reasons but I just was not ready to listen.
I understood why I was like this. I have friends who do business and they never stop complaining about how hard it is and how people can be very difficult while dealing with them. I just did not see myself as having enough patience and perseverance to condone some insult that these friends do tell me will definitely come with the business, regardless of how amazing you or your products are. This seemed ridiculous, so I told myself I’d rather stick with 9-5.
What I did not think of, however, is that meeting unpleasant people or getting to deal with some forms of insolence was not restricted to business doings alone. Getting a salary earning job and loving it does not stop all forms of interactions from coming your way. I worked at a place for two years and due to the nature of the job, I came across different individuals. Some very respectful and the others otherwise, the company sure followed the mantra of : Customers are always right” , so I learnt to suck things in more and accept that people are different and that does not make them bad people, The summary of this is that, that work helped greatly in building my people management skills and I am proud to say I am better now.
I like to wear pretty things, it is something that has been part of me since I was little. I would gather up money to go shop for really fancy things and play dress up even when there was no occasion. This went on and I found myself spending lots of money on clothing. Unlike some people who liked fancy shoes or wristwatches or bags, clothes were my own thing and you’d always find beautiful ones in my corner. What this means is that I could spend so much money, which some people might think ridiculous, on Abayas and tops and dresses and what have you. It is an addiction.
Whenever I wear these pretty things, I’d have people ask me where I got them and I’d just direct them to the store or designer who made it for me. I cannot count the umber of friends I have hooked up with my personal tailor in Ibadan, they all have good stories and it started from admiring my outfits.
Okay, where is this rant leading?
I started thinking of business, I had many options from suggestions by friends and off the top of my head but one stuck, I knew whatever I would sell had to do with clothing. I was not particularly sure of what manner of clothing I would sell, I just knew it had to be something different. I started thinking and it came to me: Hayyy!
I have these comfortable pants that I wear. They are called pallazos or wide leg pants, they are so beautiful and easy to wear, people pass nice comments my way when I wear them and they can serve different purposes. You either use them for a casual evening outing or to an owambe or to a reunion with friends; you only need to pair it up with the appropriate top and accessories and you are good to go. There I had it; We shall sell Pallazos!
Then I drew up a plan, I googled business steps and strategies, goal settings and things to expect in a business start up. I buzzed some of my friend doing business and sought their counsel. I put it all together and knew I had to get funds. (Fam, starting a business is not cheap). I made lots of inquiries and when I got satisfied, I knew I was good to go. I also needed a photoshoot to show the already existing ones and get people aware of what was coming. I spoke to friends and two people immediately offered to foot the bill for the shoot ( I have wonderful friends, I know ) .Odunayo, my friend who owns House of Moh said she would pay for the shoot and we should do it as soon as possible. Imagine a friend being even more passionate. We went for the shoot and she modelled for me too, just look at us:
My friend repped from Austin, Texas and I really just wanted to hug her, it was such a perfect fit!
I am proud to say that the first collection is out, after over a month of going back and forth and getting things organised. We are live and we are receiving orders. Please patronize us and join the team, wear Nigeria and support the movement, after all, we share doses of happiness here and there.
I present the collection:
Suggestions are welcome as regards what you think we should continue and what we can do better.
Sizes available from 8 t0 14, limited stock though, we will be working on the basis of first come, first serve
Twitter : @omotolaniee
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: 08052966906 (Whatsapp available)
Thank you , and we look forward to doing business with you.