Researcher, scientist and entrepreneur, Ifeoluwa Bejide, said FAITH AJAYI about his business
What are your study skills?
During my primary education, I attended Ecwa Nursery and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State. I went to Redeemer High School, Mowe, Ogun State.
I then obtained my Bachelors Degree in Microbiology from Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. I also have a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from the same university.
What services does your company provide?
I sell women’s clothing and accessories. I am also a fashion designer and illustrator. I also run a branding company, which trains entrepreneurs and teaches people new digital skills.
How did you manage to raise money to start the business?
I started with a small capital when I was still in high school (SSS3). When I joined the university about nine years ago, I took it as a serious business. Students then started coming to me asking for different items, and I always added those items to my stock list. My room has practically become a small shop. I thank God that I have a physical store now.
What are the challenges you face in business?
In the first stage, there was not much money. So, I had to start small and wait until the grocery store was over to buy a new bag. Lack of money prevented me from buying a lot of things. However, this challenge was eventually overcome. I realize that in business, capital may not always be enough; especially with the rising cost of living in the country. The import and export fees these days can drive people crazy. In addition, some customers are still not ready to pay for the delivery. In the beginning I only did door to door delivery across the country, so it was limited to potential customers staying out of the country. But now we deliver worldwide.
Another challenge is that many customers and friends owe one, no matter how hard one tries to avoid it. And, repaying these loans is often a challenge. But, things are getting better, and there are now easier ways to repay the debt.
How did you overcome the challenges you mentioned?
By trying new ways and listening to customer feedback, to continually improve. Also, I now use invoices and invoices. I also opened a website for my business to reduce the level of customer debt. For a customer to successfully purchase from the site, they must pay in full.
In terms of delivery, I switched to a better plan with better logistics services.
How do you get customers?
Through referrals, and on social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. Some customers also come into the store
How do you take care of customers online?
There are different types of customers that businesses encounter. They can be calm, understanding, rude or straightforward. A person will meet a customer who wants to cheat one.
I learned to be very polite and cheerful, no matter what kind of negativity I received from customers. Recently, a client told me that one of the reasons they keep coming back to me is because of my humility and courtesy.
Did you do any form of training before joining the company?
No, I didn’t. Doing business comes naturally to me. Also, it runs in my family. I have been familiar with thrift stores since childhood.
What major support have you received since starting the business?
My biggest support comes from my family, contrary to what some say that family does not support their business. In the beginning of my career, my mother did the deliveries. He took the goods to the park, called the customers, and even supervised them.
My sister had a great time too. He ‘feels bad’ for me and is very supportive of my cause. He supports me and calls many of his friends to me. I also have friends who bring me bags of clothes, advertise for me and expect no response.
How do you manage your business and still have time to do other things?
Many people ask me this question. As much as I hate to say ‘cliché’, it’s by the grace of God, because it’s so hard to explain. But, from a more physical point of view, it also helped me to have proper planning and discipline. I give time to my business, and to other things. I work well on time. If I decide to spend two hours a day posting marketing content to my social media accounts, I won’t exceed that time. I believe there is a time for everything.
Have you thought about quitting?
I know this may sound unbelievable; but, I have never thought of leaving. I don’t believe in sacrifice. But I rested when needed.
What are your other areas of interest?
I have a program that talks about life, vis-à-vis experiences and expectations. I am also interested in doing research.