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Kikelomo Koleosho is a professional photographer, Chief Photographer at red19photography enterprise.
Tell us about your business
Red19photography is a company that provides professional Children, Maternity and Family Photography Services.
From having an idea to starting your business, share your journey with us
I discovered photography while in my 3rd year in Lagos state university. I was studying chemistry education. I had always had a heart for business and was ready to make a success out of anything I laid my hands on. When I discovered photography, I had no money to pay school fees and had no hope of paying for professional training nor buy camera to start out on my own. I went on to talk to God about my new found love for photography and asked for favour to start out. I was able to get a photography outfit that accepted to train me while I was still in school all for free. The photographer took pity on me considering the distance I had to go each day from Ijagemo in Ikotun to Ikeja. I took each day as they come struggling to transport myself to go for training on days I had no Lecture. I was supposed to train for 6months but stayed longer for 16 months so I could get more knowledge. I give the best of service I had capacity to do. From running errands to volunteering to wash toilet. By the 16th month, my boss/trainer sent me for the into business and gave me a camera to start out in business.
Why do you love what you do? There are so many other businesses you could have explored, why this?
I fell in love with photography without any particular reason. I just knew this is what I want to do. Few months after venturing into the business of Photography, God directed me to major in children photography. I plunge straight into this niche and I love it daily. The cuteness of each baby I photograph is a priceless gift for me.
Also photography has become a ministry for me. I aim to promote family bond in each Nigerian family I come across. This will in turn produce great leaders who feel loved at home and translate the love into building a great Nigeria.
At what point did you know beyond all doubt that this is going to work?
The point when families began to desire to be a red19 family.
How did you raise the capital to start your business, especially with the high cost of running businesses in Nigeria?
I did a lot of free jobs and gradually built my client base. I always put back the money into the business.
How soon did you start making profits?
We yet to make profit. All we have now is consistent turnover
Brilliant ideas don’t always mean great sales, how has it been marketing your services?
I did and still do free jobs but now I choose platforms where I provide free services. I volunteer in events that are related to children, maternity and family.
As a small business owner you can’t do everything, what has been your experience hiring staff and building your team.
I make use of interns and hire photographers on short contract. I realized that young people now do not want to serve for long and think that money is everything.
Your greatest skill/strength that has particularly been of help in starting and running your business?
Service to others has been a great skill that works for me.
Did you have to get a formal training or qualification to be able to do this?
Yes I did
You have been running your business for some time now, what did you know now that you wished you had known before you started?
I wish I had built a great network of people before starting business. Marketing would have been far easier
Any life experience that has particularly prepared you directly or indirectly for what you do now?
Loving and caring for children which is the meaning of my name Kikelomo. I did not feel so much love from my parents while growing up. I always yearned to be loved. But as I grew much older, I decided to give love to others and it is paying off in relationships in keep now in business.
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?
Tenacity. I was always quick to give up while I was younger. Now I see people look up to me in business and realize that I just have to keep pushing and holding in business.
The greatest challenge you have ever had to overcome to get to where you are now?
Believing in myself is the greatest challenge I had to overcome.
What do you think are the most essential skills for women entrepreneurs especially in Nigeria?
Relationship management, financial discipline and total dependency on God
Get in touch;
Facebook: www.facebook.com /red19photos