The importance of creativity in any business cannot be over-emphasized. Entrepreneurs have high level of creativity that gives them an edge to success. Olatundun is not an exception when it comes to creativity.
The young entrepreneur is the founder of Trio Beads; a company producing wrist, neck and waist beads. With her creativity, Olatundun has transformed the conventional beads to well designed, specially packaged and luxurious products.
In this interview, Oladejo Olatundun (OO) shares with Women Life Magazine (WLM) her challenges, milestones and advice about entrepreneurship.
WLM – How do you get the creativity and inspiration for all those stunning beads you make?
OO- The basic thing I have in mind when making beads is the beauty (art), colours, the patterns, design. The bead itself is my inspiration. I simply love beads. So each piece I make, I love and decide to sell it I guess.
WLM- From your experience, can you say entrepreneurs are born or made?
OO- Some people are born rich while some create the wealth, so yes they can either be born or made entrepreneur. Taking the football world for example, I hear Ronaldo is a born talent, while Messi is a trained talent but both are amazing players.
WLM- Is there anything in your business (customers, employees, ambassadors or products) that has thrilled you beyond your expectations? What was it and how did it happen?
OO- Well if anything has thrilled me, it is the customer growth, product branding and quality upgrades. The customer growth and satisfaction makes me happy. The referrals, happy feedbacks, the encouragement and others has really been helpful in building the brand.
Product wise, the materials and skills are not definitely like when I started. It keeps improving and the branding isn’t left out. It started with selling with ordinarily nylons, to addition of price tags on the nylons, to the branded price tags, to the branded nylons and moving to branded paper tags and pouches. It hasn’t been easy moving through these stages but surely a thrilling improvement from where it started.
WLM- To start a business, one must have lots of capital, investors and other resources. To what extent is this true?
OO- (smiles) this statement/thought/mindset is what has hindered many businesses or innovation. Before I started the bead business, I was always thinking of getting one large sum of money miraculously from the blues to start up a lucrative business, the idea seemed so good at the time, so I kept telling myself it (capital) would come soon.
Nothing came oh, during one of the entrepreneurship series in church, pastor shared a similar experience on how the church building started, he also was waiting for that ‘huge sum’ of money to start. What I learnt that day was, it never starts big. A tree comes out of a tiny seed.
I eventually started with a sum of 5,000naira and over the space of 4 months I got over 30k aside the starting income. It might have not been huge but it showed growth which brought so much joy and I was proud that I started and didn’t wait for the ‘huge sum’.
Start from anywhere, even if it’s one customer or investor or partner, the laws of growth will surely kick motion.
WLM- What has been your major challenge as an entrepreneur and how did you (if you did) overcome it?
OO- Well some of the major challenges includes accounting, marketing, expanding and time. As a student entrepreneur starting a business, I had problem with account because I had to give some people to help me sell, I sold some myself, walked around hostel to sell.
The money either got mixed up or had to be used for unexpected personal expenses. Yeah I know we are always told to avoid this, and it’s true but I couldn’t help my case, when I realized this was going to be a problem, I got a book to account for everything including what I borrowed from business money so I could return it.
Marketing wasn’t easy, I was a really shy person so that one-on-one or direct marketing wasn’t my thing. I started selling to those around, some bought and paid, some didn’t, I moved it to school, sales increased a bit, I thought about walking to hostels off campus.
After practice on Saturday I dragged my friend along with me to sell. But then I realized most people gave excuse of no money at the moment or wanted something else or probably the fact that I was begging them to buy.
So I calculated the cost (financially, physically) of going round and took to online advertising. I started with WhatsApp and being that I loved and knew few things about design I started branding process – “make it what they will look for to get, make it appealing and reach farther than my legs could go”.
Time was just because I had school work during the day and other activities, so I had to work overnight to make beads and I gave myself the target of 100pcs per week so from 12am till 2am/3am I was producing. I slept off sometimes, worked into the morning or just work up early to continue and during free time I was creating new designs that people might like.
Expanding… at a point, the orders and delivery got outside Ilorin (where I started). So how to transport it was sort of an issue and being that the cost of transportation was more than the products itself, people backed out. Some waited till I found someone going in that direction and I lost some (customers). But with the branding, quality and packaging I got people who ordered in bulk and paid for delivery.
Everything is still a work in progress
WLM – What advice would you give to young ones who have dreams of starting a business?
OO- Well on this, I feel opinions are relative. What might work for me is different from what might work for you. But the universal thing there is that since we all are some sort of farmers in a way planting different seeds. It entails preparing the land, putting in the seed, caring and watching for that sprout which will eventually produce offsprings.
If you can see it in your head paint it out for the world to share in the beauty.