Saturday, 31 August 2013

Needles or pencils (Part 1)


“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.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

See you @ the top

Have you ever descended from the top of a multi-storey building using the stairway? What a pleasurable pastime it was for me in my preteen years! It still remains one of my most effortless and mindless activities to indulge in. All I have to do is to lift each foot in turn and gravity does the rest. I just keep gaily dropping and dropping and before I know it, it is all over and I’m on the ground floor.

But when the directions are reversed and I have to climb the stairs, it is as opposite as day is from the night. The first flight of stairs, say up the first and second floors is a piece of cake; it is when I am approaching the third floor that my nostrils start flaring like a horse’s that has just completed the Olympics show jumping.
Starting up the fourth floor, my heart begins to pound so hard like a jack-hammer breaking up concrete I wonder when, not if, it will rip out of the rib cage. Even climbers that are as fit as a fiddle will have their faces covered with sweat at the fifth floor and their calves and lower thighs burning with excruciating pain. By the time most are on the sixth floor, their eyes are roving hard all over the place in search of a chair to sit in and relieve the fatigue. The gravity that was a willing helper on the way down suddenly becomes the arch-enemy to defeat on the way up.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What do you think?

A problem shared is a problem halved, hence this post.

Wumi, (not real name) my friend, called me last week to advise her on some career choice; she probably feels that blogging qualifies me as a career coach. However, the enormity of the task she gave me is such that I need to be guided myself and I hope you will lend some help.

She graduated in 2009 and after one year of compulsory national service, she moved to Lagos, the commercial nerve center of the country in search of work. It was during this period that she stumbled on the lucrative business of jewelry and accessories sales. After two years in the business she has grown her clientele and established product-sourcing channels from Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Although, she doesn't own a shop, she gets calls to make deliveries in homes and offices, mostly from referrals of past satisfied customers. She has an employee who also helps out with delivery and other job-related errands. Her profit every week is somewhere between N18,000.00 and N21,000.00.

Now, her dilemma is this: She has a job offer in Port-Harcourt with an oil-servicing company. After six months probationary period her take-home pay will be to the tune of N292,000 a month. She wants advice on what step to take.

What do you think? In advising her, please say what you think she should do and more importantly why you think she should. Thank you.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The rarer the dearer

Have you heard about the banquet hosted by Napoleon Bonaparte where the VIP guests were served with aluminium utensils and the LIPs (less important persons) had to manage the gold dishes?

The event planner was not trying to redefine the value of precious metals but at that time aluminium was more valuable than gold. The reason it is now so cheap is because it is very easy to come by while gold maintains its hard-to-get profile. I don't know why Mother Earth has made it difficult for us to lay hold on some things while surfeiting us with others; it's just the way it is. Take for instance, water was taken for granted a few decades ago but the harder it became to access clean water the higher its value climbed that nowadays we have several multimillion-naira water-bottling companies and water-sachet plants.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

It's ok to procrastinate

When I saw my nine year old niece, Tolu, two Sundays ago, she wore the prettiest smile as she walked up to me and said with a voice impregnated with pride, "Come and see my garden. It beats that of all my classmates". Reluctantly, I dragged my tired self after her as she led me to the backyard. I must confess that the sight that greeted me when she opened the screen door was almost out of this world. My niece's qualification of her garden as the best in her class did no justice to the Eden she had grown behind my sister's house.

One week later, her smiley face had turn teary and Eden was a wasteland. "What happened", I queried, scooping up her sobbing body in my arms to comfort her. But the pain of her loss was to deep for words, as each time she tried mouthing an explanation, all she could do was shed more tears.
My sister volunteered to explain: Tolu had learnt a new word 'POSTPONE' the following Monday, at school. The teacher explained that not a few good future had been ruined by people who chose to put away till later what they ought to have done immediately. Tolu, taking the lesson to heart, feared ruin coming to her garden and decided to be proactive. She would not wait for butterflies to come and pollinate her flowers; she was going to bring them into her garden now. She went to a friend's, 'harvested' caterpillars and brought them into her garden so that her flowers will be the first port of call once they turned into butterflies. What she didn't know was that butterflies in their caterpillar phase and