interviews

Oisi, The Electric Photographer

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From his vantage point behind the camera lens, Oisi certainly sees a lot. After working with him on location for a photo shoot, I knew there was more to this corporate photographer and delving into his world reveals as much. I drew this Mr Quiet out of his shell in the ensuing interview:

What’s your business about?
My business is about wedding and lifestyle photography. This means I basically create lasting photographic impressions for my clients on their big day. I also do the well known general photography which can range from portrait photography to fashion, commercial photography etc

Tell us about yourself, growing up and education
I am Godwin Oisi Ibrahim. The first of three kids for my parents. My growing up was really a modest one. My parents were disciplinarians and so we grew up as kids having to be serious children especially with academics. I graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Akure with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering and a Masters of science degree in Information Technology Security from the University of Westminster London.

So where does science meet art?
Well to me science is art and art is science. Just kidding.  Art for me had always been there, hidden down in my heart. I remember then in early secondary school, I was always eager to help my friends with their drawing/art assignments. I simply loved the fact that I could create something with my hands. And even as science came along in school and all that, the artistic part of me was always looking for some form of expression. Even though I didn’t take it seriously I knew one day I would return to it.

So how did you get started?
I started playing with cameras in university; I had a small compact camera then. I graduated and got a job with a financial institution and had to go through a class based training for some months. During that period, I was the go-to person for class pictures and my colleagues liked what I was producing and encouraged me to put some effort into formal photography training. So without a proper professional camera, I started reading about photography, I stockpiled several literature on it and I only got the much needed training and exposure when I was in the UK for my masters program. I saved some money at the time and bought myself a mid-range professional camera. And the real professional journey started from there.

What inspires you and your work?
I get inspiration from God who is the source of all knowledge and also things around my every day life. I do lots of research especially works of great photographers and they inspire me a lot too.

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Who have you worked with and on what projects?
Because of the nature of my genre in photography, I have worked with several couples planning their weddings. I have worked with some fashion designers, some corporate organizations who I may not be permitted to name.

Do you have mentors or icons in your field?
I do have icons and people who inspire me greatly. Sue Bryce, Sal Cincotta, Susan Stripling, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Lee Varis, to mention a few.

What’s the best part of your work?
The best part of my work has to be the excitement and satisfaction I get to see when my clients receive their finished work from me. It is such a fulfilling experience to know my job is appreciated.

How would you define your work?
Refined, soft, contemporary

Tell us about the challenges you’ve faced.
So many challenges I must confess. A few of them include lack of business support and training as a new business owner so I had to learn on the job. Also getting people to appreciate and pay for the kind of job I do is a challenge. This I believe is because there are so many “photo snappers” who have devalued the job of some of us who are professional photographers. Then photography is a capital intensive venture and to consistently produce good results, you have to invest in equipment, training a whole lot more. That’s not so easy for a small business owner.

How have you been able to cope despite these challenges and the pressures of work and family life?
When you really love what you do you just get along no matter what. I do love my job, the passion to keep getting better drives me  everyday. I also have a supportive family so it’s easy on that part.

Where do you see your establishment in the next few years, say 3 years?
In 3 years, my brand should be a go to brand for most things photography, media and multimedia. I also hope to expand my services beyond Nigeria.

Okay. What would you do differently, anything?
I will probably prepare well for the business of photography. The business is a lot more than taking photos, it’s about knowing the right clients for your type of work, creating relationships with them, expanding the client base etc

Is there any particular job that stands out in your mind?
Many I must say but a recent one is a wedding I shot in Abuja in August. It was the wedding of Ernest and Comfort. Everything went as I planned it. The clients were super supportive too.

What’s your personal mantra or philosophy?
My life has a purpose and that purpose has to be fulfilled rightly and excellently.

Advice aspiring entrepreneurs
For aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s important to follow your dreams. No one will spoon feed your dreams to fulfilment you have to do it by yourself. There will be challenges on the way, but the more challenges you overcome, the greater your chances of becoming who you dream of becoming.

Contact details
Email :info@godwinoisi.com
Phone : 08094832786
Instagram : @GodwinOisi
Facebook : Facebook.com/GodwinOisiPhotography
BBM : 7915D0E6

The Queen of Dessert, Yemisi

For one who is coveting Genevieve Nnaji’s wardrobe, who has two degrees, and is confident she has found a niche in confectionery, Yemisi is certainly on top of her game! She says there’s nothing she’d like to change because she’s in a good place. Here are the highlights!

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Tell us what kind of business you run.
I run a cake and confectionery business.

What does it involve, day to day?
It involves baking cakes and catering for desserts at weddings, corporate events, birthday celebrations and so on.

What is your outfit called and for how long have you been in business?
Yelashcakes and Confectioneries. I have been in business for about 2years now.

With all the competition in this field, what made you decide to branch into it?
I have always loved baking and cooking. I was always in the kitchen with my mom when I was little watching her cook and helping with the dishes. My decision to start a business in cake making was formed due to an issue I had after I completed my m
Masters degree. I found myself out of work and it was a difficult time in my life. Then one day I was watching a program on TV, Come Dine With Me, a program where four or more strangers cook and bake for a price. A thought came to mind for me to try out some of the recipes I got from the show and since then I haven’t looked back. I got my first paying customer in November 2011. I officially started Yelashcakes and Confectioneries November 2012.

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So looking back, what challenges have you faced as a small business owner?
I started the business while I was still aboard and was able to build a client base. Since moving back, my major challenge has been Awareness. Most people are afraid to try new hands and so it has been hard to break into the business but I am positive that will change soon.

Tell us about yourself, your background was not in catering…
My name is Oluwayemisi Ladipo- Ajayi. I can describe myself as a middlevert-a bit of an introvert and extrovert. LOL! I am very principled which some describe as strict(rolling eyes). My background was not in catering but I have about four years in customer service. I have a first degree in Mass Communication and second degree in Advertising and Marketing. I have done a few trainings on cake making and decorating as well as specialised dessert making.

That’s good. So with your qualifications are you better able to deal with the challenge that awareness poses?
Yes, I have started working on it already. I have seen improvement in the last few weeks.

Now as a lady, how are you able to deal with attention from the opposite sex?
I encourage it because I am still very much SINGLE. Some don’t come with intentions of dating you and you just might learn a thing or two from them. As for those that come with the intentions of dating, I know from the first conversation what their motives are (every lady knows). If its good, I give it a go and if its bad I shut it down fast!

Does the Nigerian economy support SMEs? Your answer with reasons.
SMEs are important drivers of growth in most economies. I would say the Nigerian economy today doesn’t support SMEs because SMEs in Nigeria are still faced with issues in their operating environment. For instance, the poor state of roads increase the cost of transporting both raw materials and finished goods to and from markets. Poor supply of electricity has affected many SMEs and caused them to shut down operations. Licensing and registration often creates barriers to their smooth operations. 

How have you coped inspite of the economic situation?
It has not been easy but with God everything has been working in my favour. Initially, I discovered that I wasn’t making profit due to some of these challenges but I have over time built a good business relationship with some suppliers who supply materials to me. On the issue of power supply, I have invested in a good generator to service the business when there is no power supply. On licensing and regulation, my lawyer friends have been of  great help in educating me on what needs to be done so as to be in the good books of the government.

Sounds like you’re sailing a smooth ship. Aside from confectionery, do you have any other business interests?
I have done a lot of selling prior to cakes and confectionery. I have sold clothes, shoes, jewelry and in my undergraduate days, I even had a home video rental business. (I am not jack of all trades though, LOL) I think for now I have found love in making seriously delicious cakes, pastries and desserts. I love every moment I spend baking. Maybe in the near future I may expand into sales of baking utensils.

After 2 degrees and trying entrepreneurship, will you accept a secular job/paid employment now?
Emm, I actually have a full time job at the moment. The reason is because my mom couldn’t just comprehend me been a full time entrepreneur. When I moved back, it was a struggle to get  clients to order cakes plus I did not have enough capital to start the business the way I wanted it. So I had to get a job to support myself and the business. Today, I have a staff of three working for me and I get to come back home to make sure orders are ready to be delivered the next day. Stressful? Yes, but I can’t complain.

So where does mass communication meet baking?
There isn’t any relationship between mass communication and baking, however I have been able to use the skills I have learnt from studying mass communication to promote my confectionery business.

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What then should we expect from you in the next three to five years?
You should expect unique cakes, lovely pastries and yummy desserts. Yelashcakes and Confectioneries will be on the lips of every sweet tooth and we will be ahead of other players in the confectionery business.

I hope you have your strategy mapped out… I just  might do a repeat interview then. What advice will you give would-be entrepreneurs?
Yes, I do. Its going to be a walk in the park with God’s grace and favour. Advise for enterpreneurs: Stay focused. I like this phrase I hear on ‘Moments with Mo‘ – If you can think it, you can do it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a process of learning. Take risks in business.

What inspires your work?
I get my inspiration from research. I spend long hours surfing the internet, reading up on new trends and educating myself. I have been self taught for the major part of this business.

Do you have mentors or icons in your field?
Yes I do. I have always followed and admired the works of Buddy(cakeboss), Mary Berry and Aisha(Saycheese cakes).

Do you have any personal philosophy?
Business is a marathon, so make sure you can survive the race. Stay focused and work extra hard.

Contact Yelash:
Yelash cakes and confectionary
info@yelashcakes.com | hello@yelashcakes.com |
http://www.yelashcakes.com
08188636751| 08023104177
http://www.facebook.com/yelashcakesandconfectionaries
Instagram: @yelashcakesandconfectionaries

YOMI TIJANI: “I’M NOT SELLING PANTS, I’M SELLING EXPERTISE”

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He migrated from the world of mass communication to fashion where he now reigns supreme. The sokoto expert talks to us about building the client’s trust and continuity. It is not hard to see his love for fashion reflected in every single stitch. Since leaving secular employment, he has found fulfilment and more focus and allows this passion to drive him. He obviously knows what he’s talking about and he shares details of how he began.

Tell me about your business
I’m in the business of fashion but I make only one article: pants. It was borne out of the need to satisfy people, male and female, who have the peculiar problem of ill-fitting or problematic pants. My business is bespoke or what some call made-to-measure. That way, I can address the unique problems that individuals have.

Do you have any plans to go into fashion on a wider scale?
If you mean do I have any plans to expand my label to a full-fledged one with other categories of outfits, then of course the answer is most definitely. The decision to begin with just pants is a strategic one. The result of that decision is to ultimately be seen as an expert in that area so that I’m not simply selling pants, I’m selling expertise. That expertise will deliver the customer’s trust. Once we have that trust, then we can gradually and systematically introduce a full range of different clothes, from shirts to suits and everything in between. Also, we can introduce a children’s line. But first the grand strategy is one of earning the customer’s trust.

How easy has it been setting up a business with the “Nigerian factor” at the back of your mind?
Obstacles are not a Nigerian factor. That is something that is common to businesses all over the world. To answer your question, it is never easy setting up a business obviously because you are on an eternal journey of overcoming the obstacles you alluded to. But overcoming challenges of whatever nature is what makes business worthwhile. One of the challenges I had to overcome was one of knowledge. I didn’t always know how to make clothes, namely to cut and even sew, for example. So I was always at the mercy of tailors that I paid. This didn’t seem wise to me and I knew I couldn’t sustain my business that way so I had to learn. Of course, there are now other challenges, including how to get the best out of staff who don’t understand that what will help us satisfy customers and earn their trust is if we give them the best all the time. So it’s never easy. But once you’ve made the decision to be in business you understand that it will not be easy.

How have you been able to cope with challenges?
I’ve had to do whatever was necessary. Acquire knowledge, manage people, customers and expectations.

Do you have other business interests?
It’s just fashion. That is my life, the only thing I’m really interested in.

What is your label called?
Sokoto By Hesed.
That’s Sokoto, as in trousers

Have you showcased your designs at any fashion shows?
That has not been a priority. Fashion shows are not in line with our strategy. Maybe sometime in the future it’s something that we will consider. Our target customer doesn’t necessarily attend fashion shows. His buying behavior is not influenced by that. And that’s very key for us: what is it that makes our target buy? For our customers, it is not fashion shows so it would not be a wise way to spend our tight marketing naira.

For how long have you been in business?
Off and on since 2004. But I just really organized things as a business like 2 years.

What platform have you used to spread the word?
The most effective for us has been word of mouth. We measured this by result and found that a bulk of our business has been coming from referrals. Our customers love our products and feel the need to share with friends and family. And so there has been an incredible buzz in that regard. Because I’m coming from a corporate background, I appreciate the value of a platform like LinkedIn. I carry on an engagement with many of my contacts on that platform and the result has been amazing. Twitter, Facebook and other online avenues have opened up more possibilities. We are looking at 2015 as the year when we fully launch our online presence with our website, which is under construction. That will also drive our e-commerce activities.

That sounds like major work is under way. So how has leaving paid employment to become an entrepreneur turned out?
Absolutely. It’s been the best thing for me, to be honest. I’m doing something I want. My destiny is in my hands. I can finally reach the peak of my potentials. With paid employment, I never felt this fulfillment. I always felt like something was missing, I wasn’t at rest, didn’t feel secure. Of course it has its challenges as we established earlier. But I’d rather have that excitement than an 8-5.

Have you been able to harness that energy into your work? Are there not distractions that come from having your time to yourself?
Focus has been a primary driving force. There is so much to accomplish and I’m constantly working that there is no place for distractions. Where I take time out, I find that it’s not really time off because this is my life. And I have a business lifestyle so if it’s not adding to the bottom-line, it can’t distract me.

How easy was making that decision?
Not easy at all. It required all the courage I could muster. Imagine leaving the seeming security, certainty and comfort of a monthly salary for what a lot of people call ‘the unknown’. Except that for me, I was launching out into the ‘known’. I knew very precisely what laid ahead. I knew it would be rough but I also saw clearly the possibilities that business had for me. In the end, that clarity of vision and faith eased the difficulty of the decision.

That is impressive I must say. So in the next three years, where do you see your company?
To start with, our target for next year is to make a minimum of 5,000 pants. And very possibly, a minimum of 5,000 polos which we are simultaneously working on. To create partnerships of value, like the one we have with a dedicated blogger like yourself. To deepen the customer relationships we have right now.  When we do this, we can then look at growth, diversifying our product offerings, opening up new markets and ultimately owning the number 1 spot for pants in Lagos. And that’s a vision that transcends the next three years.

Who do you consider your fiercest competitor?
When it comes to competition, Sokoto By Hesed is in a special place. We have been lucky to occupy a position in the market and the customer’s mind that we created. What other label do you know that has the mission of providing a solution to problematic pants? It’s just us really. So there is no direct competition right now for what we do. Having said that however, we have found that we have to work to dislodge mostly foreign labels that people have become accustomed to. They are not really the best providers of pants but that is what was available. So that’s the position that we have set out to claim because we make better pants. Our pants have the best fit, they do not shrink, the colors don’t fade. We are the best available now. And Nigerians deserve the best.

Very interesting. Your competition must be tightening their belt by now. Do you offer apprenticeship programs?
It’s really interesting. No apprenticeship programs right now.

Any plans for that in the near future?
It’s something that we can certainly consider.

Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Well… to be patient, humble and listen with an open heart.

I must thank you for your time.
It was a pleasure

Contact details:
10, Ola Street, Obawole, Ogba
08037200811
E-mail: iskandar_ng@yahoo.com
Twitter  @sokotobyhesed

MEET I.T, THE FIRE OF HER CREATIVITY SHINES THROUGH!

While I spoke to this young lady, I realised what I missed…  An undergraduate at the University of Calabar, she combines work and education and still manages to strike a balance to be an Honour student. Get thinking and be inspired! Read on to find out what she’s about: 

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Tell me about your business.
I design and make clothes, female clothes.

For how long now?
About three years now.

Okay. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Itohowo Pius,a native of Akwa Ibom state.I’m the third in a family of four. A third-year student of English and Literary Studies in the University of Calabar. I grew up in Calabar and attended Saint Christopher Nursery and Primary School and later, Limelight Secondary school.

Where does fashion meet English?
Fashion meets English where there is love for creativity.

There are a lot of people in this business, why did you decide to join this lot?
It wasn’t a decision,I just flowed into it.

You must have gotten your creative streak from someone in the family…
I learnt my grandmother was a seamstress…she didn’t stay around long enough to tutor me though.

As with any enterprise, there are challenges, what challenges have you faced?
There’s the basic financial challenge, and of course the fierce competition out there.But where passion is involved,there’s no challenge at all.

How have you surmounted this challenge?
Where competition is concerned I try to stay unique and original. I make a statement with simple pieces. And as for finance, I am gradually overcoming it though it’s a tough one.

Fine, do you offer training or apprenticeship?
I do.

What training sessions have you fine tuned, how frequently do you train and what is the duration of  such trainings?
Okay. My trainings are for six months and a year. It depends on which the trainees can afford. I start with the basics: how to paddle a machine, thread it and all that. When that has been done to perfection the next step is to learn how to cut a fabric for a particular design. This is where sewing is hinged not in the paddling or threading. Once the mastery of cutting is attained there’s almost nothing left to learn.

With your studies, how do you manage a business?
I work before, between and after lectures and mostly at night. It’s really hectic but worth it.

Is there any satisfaction to be gained?
The ultimate satisfaction is the expression on my clients’ face when they put on the piece they had made.
I treasure every second of it.

What should we expect from you in the next few years, say 5 years from now?
By the next five years I’ll be a force to reckon with in the fashion industry. I intend to take the industry by storm with pieces that speak.

Given the opportunity, what would you do differently?
I would have taken up a course in designing four years back.

And now?
Right now I’m letting my passion inspire creativity until I get around to studying it.

Do you have any other business interests that you’d like to pursue?
Presently I make ankara bags, bangles, clutch purses, necklaces and earrings for commercial purposes. Other interests may yet set in.

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Ankara creations

Have you showcased any of your designs in any shows?
No, not yet.

As we approach the holiday season, ladies scramble for the nearest dress maker, how do you deal with disgruntled clients?
Humans generally are a tough bunch to deal with. So whether my client is right or wrong I make sure they are pacified. Besides where business is concerned the client is ALWAYS right.

Thank you for your time.
The pleasure’s mine.

“DANGOTE… BETTER WATCH OUT!”

This interview brought some things into sharp focus for me and I realised that I didn’t know it all. Here are some things I learnt for the first time:

What kind of business do you run?
I’m into haulage of goods.

For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the term, tell us what it entails.
Haulage is transporting goods by road or rail for other companies or for one’s own company. In my case, it is by road. I have large trucks that move goods all over Nigeria for various companies.

For how many years have you run this business?
Well, this will be my fourth year in this line of business.

So you have been able to study the lay of the land. Who will you say is your fiercest competitor?
I will say Dangote. LOL, because he has everything on point. Actually, I see him as more of a role model but he better watch out!

Nice, so how many trucks do you have?
Presently, I have two trucks running steadily. I have plans for expanding my fleet.

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Do you have any other business interests?
Yes I do. I am a business man at heart and I am definitely looking into expanding into other profitable sectors.

For example?
Well I want to go into agriculture. Aquaculture and snailery to be precise. I have done a lot of trainings and research in these fields and I see it as an untouched but very profitable venture both locally and on the international level.

Good choice. I’ve also heard that quails are prolific breeders. Heliculture is another good choice. So do you have a farm already?
I’m presently in construction mode having just acquired the land which is to be the farm. The structures are in the making and in the nearest future, we shall open officially. I picked up the interest from my mum who has a mini farm and I realised that it is very profitable if you know how to go about it.

That’s nice. So in the next few years, what should we expect from you?
By God’s grace, our name will be on the lips of everyone both locally and on the international field.

How easy has it been setting up a business in the Nigerian environment?
Well business in Nigeria has been challenging to be honest. There is no encouragement from anyone, the government inclusive. In the transport sector, we have terrible roads and the risk factor in the conveyance of goods is always present. Again, the ‘Nigerian factor’ is always present in all you do. But still the success at the end of the challenges encountered makes the whole exercise worthwhile.

Given the opportunity, would you do it all over again given the odds? If yes, why?
I will do it again. These are my reasons: firstly, I am a Nigerian and there is this certain ‘never say die’ attitude of ours that makes us keep going. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Again, you must know that a life without challenges is not a meaningful life. Also we have to make a difference when the odds are stacked against us. It is what keeps the nation alive. Better to be a boss in my land than a boy in someone else’s!

Hehe! Is there anything you would do differently if you are presented the opportunity to restart your business?
Yes… before you can say you’re a success in any field, you must have made several errors and mistakes. If I had the chance to start all over again, I would remedy those errors. Then I would really listen to people already in that field because in some instances I did not. I chose to do things my way and got knocks for it. Also, I would not delegate much work to people that aren’t necessary to have around. I will do things myself.

You realise you cannot do everything yourself, right?
I do but one should delegate only the necessary. It is a business where you have to be present on most occasions and do things yourself if you want it done right.

You’ve not told us about yourself. We would like to know who you are.
My name is Afolabi Akiwumi, an indigene of Abeokuta in Ogun state but I am a Lagos boy. I’m in my early 30’s.

Most people in the haulage business are diabolical, any merit to this?
We are in Africa, being diabolic is a part of our culture as some believe. In fact I think it is not limited to the haulage sector. Nigerians attach diabolism to all aspects of their lives which is for those who believe in it. But personally, I wasn’t brought up that way so I don’t believe in it. And my religious upbringing forbids it so it is a No-No. All you need is effort, diligence and determination coupled with God’s grace then the sky is not your limit but the beginning.

Any advice to those who are thinking of becoming entrepreneurs?
Don’t ever limit your imagination. Think big and work hard for what you believe in and never give up. Pray.

You sound religious. Are you religiously inclined?
Yes, very.

I must thank you for making the time.
The pleasure is all mine.

Contact details:
Qc intergrated services
25, obafemi edunjobi st , Akowonjo,Lagos.

akiwumiafolabi@hotmail.com

08056505221| 07030503565| 09098845790

MAC-JANE: MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN ANY HOUSE IS THE TOILET

Jane

Mac-Jane Chukwu is a blogger and she was a hard one to track given that she has her fingers in so many pies; a bundle of energy! With her bachelor’s degree in International Relations, she is now pursuing her masters’ in this field with a dream of specializing in National Security Affairs; she hopes to become the first youngest female president of Nigeria.  With her background in media production, Mac-Jane is equally interested in building people, hence her involvement in projects that encourage positive change. She is the Executive Vice President of the International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO), currently the Graduate Administrative Assistant with the career services at Troy University, and founder of Tower of Hope Teaclub, a foundation to help troubled street girls. Like Joseph in the Bible, Mac-Jane wears a coat of many colours!

Tell us about you, what we won’t find on Google.

Hmm… well, there’s a lot not on Google but I’d tell you that I’m a pretty reserved person. My favourite place in any house is the toilet, if it’s fancy though. (Laughter) I love the mic. I used to keep a collection of cute baby pictures especially twins. LOL. I make one of the best pancakes anyone has ever tasted. LOL. I’m ever ready to learn, I sing but I can’t dance and I love my family so much. I talk to them every day and oh yeah, I’m in love with Snickers bar but my friends rather think I’m addicted. Yeah, that’s a lot.

How did you enter the world of writing?

Well unlike most people who would probably say “I’ve been writing since I was born”, writing for me was not something I thought of any significance in my life. I started writing in elementary school and my favourite part of any assignment was “How did you spend your last holiday?” But after a series of short stories I wrote, my mom felt that the world needed to read my books and that was when she encouraged me to publish my first book. After that, I realised writing was a passion for me as I began to write everywhere I went so long as I was inspired. It could be in the church, toilet, restaurant, anywhere; as long as I had a writing pad.

I know you have a blog, what informed it?

Well a friend of mine thought it would be a great idea for me to have a blog so he went ahead to create “The world according to Mac-Jane.” And it took me a while before I finally decided to start publishing my stories there instead of Facebook. Today, I’m grateful for that push as I have readership from all across the globe.

book

That’s encouraging. Tell me about your published book.

Open Secret is a novel that talks about high school relationships, sex and HIV/AIDS. It is a mixture of my personal experiences as a child and fictional imagination. Everyone should read it since it is a first-hand experience of what goes on in the minds of young adults and how growing up really is.

What else should we expect from your stables?

I hope the world will see more of my books. Aside from writing a lot of research papers which isn’t so much fun sometimes, I hope to publish my next book soon. Look out for that. More seriously, I hope to share with the world a females perspective, what women really face in diverse cultures and nations and I pray that through my works the world will see Jesus through my eyes.

mac-jane

A lot of writers have diverse views about religion, what’s your take?

Well religion for me is not just an institution, it is a lifestyle. I try to live what I believe. I don’t judge others for whatever they believe. I deal with people every day who are members of various religions but all I try to do is live the truth and let my life reflect Christ. I don’t want to be called a Christian and yet be known for hurting other people. Jesus showed love and that’s exactly what I try to do: show love to everyone irrespective of religion, culture, race, gender.

Where can we find your book and what genre do you favour?

My book will soon be available on Amazon but if you’re in Nigeria I have contact people you can buy from and those in the U.S can just contact me. I write mostly Christian romance fiction and real life experiences.

Advice aspiring authors.

Get a notepad, keep a pen handy or rather ensure whatever device you have has a notepad or journal app. Write, write, write! Whenever you get the urge to type something, do it. Start small, do a little at a time and before you know it you would have a book finished. And more importantly, read, read, read! Read the works of other people, get information about all things, watch the news not just fashion and style(laughter), and know a little of everything!

I must thank you for your time.

Oh no, it is my pleasure. Thank you.

BLOOMIDO: WE LOVE PROJECTS THAT BLOOM!

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Right before I interviewed the rep of Bloomido, I didn’t know about brand management companies (at least in Nigeria). The conversation that follows will show that it not only educated me but enlightened me. I had so much fun during this interview. Here are the excerpts:

Please introduce yourself.

I am Onisokumen Egwu. I was born and raised in PortHarcourt. I had my elementary and secondary schooling there as well. I had to go all the way to Niger state for my Bachelors. I majored in Industrial Chemistry but I currently work as an IT consultant with MTN Nigeria and as a brand management specialist with Bloomido Solutions.

How was Bloomido born?

Bloomido was born from the idea that we(I and my partners) love projects that bloom, hence the name Bloom-I-do. It was founded by three equal partners Muna Egu, Chibuikem ‘Mg’ Ihebom and myself. We were registered in 2012 as a partnership by the CAC.

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Nice. But… Industrial Chemistry to graphic design, what’s the correlation?

I will like to say I am not a graphic designer per se. I am an entrepreneur. I did Industrial Chemistry for my bachelors because in all honesty, it was the easier way to gain admission into school. In the course of my bachelors, however, I had to develop myself- learning a lot that will enable me live my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

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I stand corrected. What then makes your establishment different from others?

Our objective and mission as an organisation stands us out from others. We have a collective mission which is “to constantly improve the human experience”. This motivates us to harness ways and methods that drive our customers and clients to success. We like to think that we do not strive to satisfy our customers but we push for their success. THIS makes us different. More so, as an organisation we are governed by a culture duly informed by our core values. We strive for success in mind blowing service delivery, we are adventurous and creative, we exude passion and determination, we are honest and open in communication, we work hard and play hard, we are happy and humble people. These are values that govern us and give us that extra drive to always remain on top.

I like the sound of that. What has been your greatest challenge?

Publicity. We have lovely projects but getting the message out is pretty expensive and difficult.

How have you been able to overcome this?

We are still in the process. Thank God for social media. We find Facebook especially helpful. Family and friends have equally been helpful in spreading the word.

What personal philosophy do you imbibe?

A very simple one: hard work pays. It may not be immediate but it will pay off.

Well said. What new frontiers are you hoping to conquer in say three years?

In three years, we are looking to become the major ‘clinic’ for small, micro and even medium scale businesses in Nigeria. We will love to be their source of inspiration and the cause for the growth of their businesses.

So I’m correct when I say you’ve found a niche and you’re feeding it…

You’re very right.

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How hard do you play?

Not as hard as it sounds, but just about enough to strike a balance between responsibility and fun!

Advice to younger entrepreneurs and those still in the ‘dream phase’.

For the record, I am equally a pretty young entrepreneur myself. My advice is that anyone dreaming of being an entrepreneur should do all he/she can to live that dream. It is the best thing that can happen. Be ready to make sacrifices and then read, develop yourself.

Finally, tell me something you’ve never told anyone.

I am not that much of a secretive person.

Here’s how to find Bloomido 

Contact Info:

M Close, 21 Road, Festac Town, Lagos

Phone: 0805 4197 935

Mail: info@bloomido.com

BBM: 7F3ABD3F

http://www.bloomido.com

Egwu, Onisokumen

+234 805 419 7935, +234 706 649 3854