Monday, 17 April 2017

RUBBING MINDS WITH ENTREPRENEUR BOLATITO BAYO- PUDDICOMBE

Bolatito Bayo-Puddicombe is the pleasant wife of Bayo Puddicombe, she is the brain behind Bolakoka ventures.  HOL caught up with the University of Lagos trained Chemical Engineer from Ogun State recently and she took us on her entrepreneurial journey.
HOL: Can we meet you?
Bolatito: My name is Bolatito Bayo-Puddicombe. I studied Chemical Engineering in University of Lagos. My business name is Bolakoka Ventures - My business is about Textiles I am fully Nigerian. Don't be deceived by my marital name o....full Abeokuta girl but now Lagos by marriage o


HOL: How did you start your business and what prompted your interest in this line of business
Bolatito: I started my business as a youth corps member in Jigawa state. I really wanted to make the best of my service year and I felt a bank would be the best place. I started "prepping up" as I had a very close family member as a Director in one of the top banks. Even after I had been posted to a school as a Mathematics teacher to resume only two days a week, I was still sure that my bank arrangement would work... I was just so sure I would get in. Let me say, I just needed to pick up my appointment letter that fateful morning in Kano before I received the huge shock...I would not be getting a job with the bank! Tears welled up in my eyes and I just wanted to get out of the bank and chill out some where for a bit before heading back to Dutse, Jigawa, a 45-minute drive from Kano. As I walked down the bank's staircase, I suddenly remembered during one of my Lagos-Jigawa trips that I had heard someone say that Kano had a huge fabric market. I asked the bank's security personnel outside who showed me the market, a 5-minute walk from where I was standing. For real??? I was too happy. I forgot about going to chill out and I bought two Ankara fabrics with the N3000 transport compensation I had received from the kind interviewer. Let me say that I ended up travelling to Kano from Dutse at least thrice in 2 weeks, each time to buy different kinds of fabrics to sell to fellow corps members, bank workers and top government officials back in Dutse. After 8 months in Jigawa as a primary school teacher and business woman, I recorded over N300,000 in profit from selling fabrics!





HOL: Interesting! How did you come about your business name?
Bolatito:I came about my business name from what my friends used to call me back then in Queen's College...The first four letters of my first name and my surname... Bola Coker. Since my first client was a fried from QC, I thought of something to resonate and then the thought of Bolakoka came (I changed the spelling) but retained the pronunciation.

HOL: What challenges do you face in your business and how. do you surmount them?
Bolatito: One major challenge I faced in my business was how to get my supplies. This was really tough because I had designed a platform where I would be the one to bear all the stress my customers would have thought of bearing. I made sure they had good and affordable fabrics, they did not have to tie their money down or be forced to buy the quantity they do not want. I want a business that was built around all that the customer wants. This meant that while I was taking away that stress, I also needed to insure myself and not become over-burdened. I had to develop a unique relationship with my suppliers and 
very few of them understood. The search went on for a while and it was a daunting one until a major breakthrough came.

HOL: How has your business been fairing in this Nigerian economy?
Bolatito:The current economy has had an adverse effect on my business because the textiles used all over for Aso Ebi are majorly imported and with the devaluation of the Naira, my hands became tied. One of the promises we have at Bolakoka is that one's Aso Ebi does not have to be unnecessarily expensive. People should buy Aso Ebi joyfully and not grumble behind you. With this economy, I have had to educate my clients on constructive ways of doing Aso Ebi which achieved little success until we launched our Ready To Wear line, Fabrikana. This is doing very well and opening opportunities where we did not look at originally. I would say something good has come out of a seemingly bad situation of the Naira devaluation

HOL: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Bolatito: In the next five years, we see Bolakoka as a major force in the Nigeria Textile Industry with incredible solutions to problems that have plagued the Textile Industry in Nigeria for decades. We are very excited about our future.

HOL: Advice for upcoming entrepreneurs
Bolatito:I would advise entrepreneurs to look for the good in everything. Be it a disappointment or economic problem, find a problem that you can provide a solution to and present the answer even if you do not know all the answers, present the one you have

HOL: Thank you so much for your time.
Bolatito: yYou are always welcome.

2 comments:

  1. Ibrahim-Garba Farida17 April 2017 at 10:21

    Wow. This is so inspiring. Thank you Bolakoka. And so much House of lawof. More grace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome ma'am. Thank you for reading. It is a blessing to be able to rub minds and be a blessing. Thank you HOL

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