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Adehola Ojo loves generating creative ideas that offers solutions to everyday problems. She is also very passionate about teaching and encouraging people to attain their potential. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria (2009) and has worked in various organisations like Guarantee Trust Bank, NuStreams Conference & Culture Center and The Bridge Network.
Tell us about your business
Adehola Creations is a Nigerian fashion label that specializes in manufacturing Shoes, bags and accessories for both men and women. Blending our exotic creative designs with African prints, we produce unique items that enable our customers get all the attention they deserve. We are currently focused on growing the shoes line of the business. Items in our line include Accessories, Bags, Shoes, Slippers and Sandals all inspired by the African culture. Drawing inspiration from the African fabric, we marry the colourful fabrics with top quality materials using the finest Italian techniques and finishes.
From having an idea to starting your business, share your journey with us
I started Adehola Creations in 2011 as an Ankara accessories business but have since grown into creating Shoes, bags and accessories for both men and women using both Leather and fabrics.
Why do you love what you do? There are so many other businesses you could have explored, why this?
I have tried other businesses like soap making, beading etc but I don’t get the same level of satisfaction I get from designing and makings Shoes and Bags. I love seeing my designs come alive and the delight on our customers faces gives me a sense of satisfaction.
At what point did you know beyond all doubt that this is going to work?
I got my “Aha” moment when I missed meeting a friend as previously agreed. My friend called and the first thing I heard was “You’re really serious with this your stuff”. I’ve always been someone who gets bored easily thus, I’m always on the move. Starting different businesses and stoping when I get bored. But with this, I loose track of time and food.
How did you raise the capital to start your business, especially with the high cost of running businesses in Nigeria?
I started with about N3,000. Bought a Hot Glue Gun and some materials which I use in making accessories for sale. Then I’ll go to a Shoemaker around my area and I’ll help him make accessories for his customers while in exchange he allows me to use his equipments.
Then I’ll take pictures with my phone and upload on the internet. I started buying my own tools with the money made from the sales
How soon did you start making profits?
About 3months after I started. (Don’t forget I was working from home and I was using someone else’s equipments). So I have less overheads.
Brilliant ideas don’t always mean great sales, how has it been marketing your services?
Sales wasn’t that easy. Being someone who is knowledgeable about social media coupled with the quality of our products was what gave me leverage. Our customers are our marketers. We always get referals through them.
As a small business owner you can’t do everything, what has been your experience hiring staff and building your team.
We hire staff based on skills and not their certificate. Most times we re-train them. Help them hone their skills so they can work with our value system.
Your greatest skill/strength that has particularly been of help in starting and running your business?
Persistence. I don’t give up easily.
Did you have to get a formal training or qualification to be able to do this?
Yes. I went to a Shoe Academy for 3months just to hone my Skills.
You have been running your business for some time now, what did you know now that you wished you had known before you started?
Any life experience that has particularly prepared you directly or indirectly for what you do now?
I didn’t have a sudden experience like most people. For me, it has been a series of events I didn’t even notice until last year when I started connect the dots.
Change can bring out a part of us we never knew existed, what new things have you discovered about yourself in the course of starting and running your business?
Calculation. The ability to calculate figures (or should I say money?) without a calculator.
The greatest challenge you have ever had to overcome to get to where you are now?
Convincing friends, family and clients I know what I’m doing
The greatest business advice you have ever received and by who?
“People don’t care about you. They care about the solution or what you have to offer”. “Stop doing things the same way” by Francis Madojemu. He also introduced and gave series of books on productivity.
What do you think are the most essential skills for women entrepreneurs especially in Nigeria?
We need Confidence. Perseverance. Most people still believe women belong in the kitchen. We need to prove them wrong and be successful.