Education is key to self development and success, however for some students the aim to be an entrepreneur can not be easily or completely overshadowed by the quest to achieve a degree. Olowu Ife is one of such students. In this exclusive and very inspiring interview he takes us into his mind and his business, also his plans and how he has been able to start and run a business while still in school.
ADEBIMPE: Kindly tell us about yourself and what you do.
HOD: My name is Olowu Ife, I am a final year student of Creative Arts (Visual Unit) in the University of Lagos. I was born on February 7 and hail from Osun state. I am a visual artist who draws, paints, design and create content. I love watching movies and I’m also into sports.
ADEBIMPE: Why and when did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
HOD: I became an entrepreneur ever since I set foot into the university, I started in my year one days, I didn’t sell any product but rather rendered services. It was called YB Ventures out of my nick name Ybim ( my music brand), LOL that’s a story for another time. YB ventures offered services; Generals arts and event related services. It got to the point when we decided to give a name and rebrand the image of our brand. I as a visual and artist and my sister as an event planner. I was in my third year when we rebranded and named the brand ”House of Designs” House of designs is a brand that offers services; Event planning (Hall decor, Indoor/outdoor catering, Bead work and Event management) and General Arts (Art portraits and paintings, Printing i.e banners, books, fliers and so on, Ankara craft and Graphics design).
ADEBIMPE: How did you start up?
HOD: I started on my own, I started small, from class commissions. Majorly did brand awareness for the first two years in school. I was nominated as a fresher then as “entrepreneur of the year” but didn’t win; although i was happy about the recognition. Major funds came in when we were about to rebrand, my sister and I came together to bring up something. As the saying goes “Two good heads are better than one”.
ADEBIMPE: What have been your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur and how are you scaling through them?
HOD: Combining school, sports and business (entrepreneurship) together. This has become part of life and I have been able to overcome this by proper planning and time management, it hasn’t been easy but I give Glory to God.
ADEBIMPE: Wow, so how has the response been to your business , from family, friends and the society at large?
HOD: The response has been positive, I got a family member on the business and my mother supports us and refers clients also. The kind of family we come from has taught us that nothing good comes easy, work hard and pray and everything will fall in place. My best friend Tobi has been supportive with his advice also, and also my coursemates. Out of 100 brand awareness is 60%. We still pushing for more. We will get there
ADEBIMPE: What factors do you feel are most likely to help boost your business performance if set in place?
HOD: To start with, good services from our end and everything will fall in place. Also good publicity, funds and client connections will do a lot for us.
ADEBIMPE: What are some of the challenges you often face with clients?
HOD: LOL, customers are always right. I hardly have problems with my clients because I always try to satisfy and deliver the very best. I can remember one challenge I had, it had to do with money. A lady didn’t want to balance up for a job she stressed me in doing.
ADEBIMPE: Where do you see your business in 10 years and what tools are you setting in place to make it work?
HOD: 10 years to come, I see our brand and I in bigger places and doing great things. I would have my own printing press, My personal visual Studio and also build a Gallery. I would impact by organizing workshops for people.
ADEBIMPE: What has been your biggest achievement, mistake and motivation.
HOD: My greatest achievements include featuring in an Art exhibition,. Working for Madam Tinubu hall (Designing and printing of hall magazine), Kofo hall ( designing and printing of books), printing of publicity materials for local government election and many more, portrait of Olakunle Churchill, portrait of E-money’s first son and many others. I have not made any mistakes so far, at least none that I can remember. My motivation is to never give up, no matter what.
ADEBIMPE: Who is/are your biggest role model(s) and why?
HOD: Renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci; greatest of all time, Business Tycoons like Bill gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and our very own Aliko Dangote
ADEBIMPE: Any words for your fans and clients out there.
HOD: Three P’s, practice, preserve and Pray. God bless our Customers.. Keep on patronizing us.
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