“Alere Olurotimi Mobolaji” the class teacher called out, “Present sir” replied the soft-spoken bearer of the names. I looked to my left and saw an ebony skin guy with a playfully naughty grin on his face, and that was to be my first encounter with this friend I have known since forever. Alere and I attended the same primary and secondary schools and I remember him as an excellent pupil of technical drawing and the fine arts. Also, I vividly recall that you didn’t want to compete with him in the 100m or 200m dash because try as you might, it’s his heels you’d be looking at in front of you and the dust left in his wake settling on your face.
How Alere transformed from the classmate I knew so well, or so I thought, to the CEO of one of Ibadan’s foremost garment-making businesses is the focus of this post. This week and the next, we shall be profiling an ingenious couturier who is a master, not of the sewing needle and handwork, but of the sketching pencil and brainwork. His story is one of a man who embarked on a journey to the island of self-discovery; the story of an entrepreneur who turned the first sod with an investment of N4500 (<$30) and is today building a self-sustaining business that employs eleven workers and comfortably supports his family and the story of a brilliant adapter of winning business models.