By Victor Gotevbe
It is not an overstatement to say it would require some level of creativity or professional competence to turn an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities that are to take place there. Gloria at 25, CEO of Smiley Signature Shopping, an interior Real Home decoration enterprise is making a difference in her community.
Her business begins from conceptual development, liaising with the stakeholders of a project and the management, and execution of the design. All the way from Benin, Edo State, she takes us on a journey of how she has been able to emerge as an entrepreneur amidst all odds. Excerpt:
What was your growing up like ?
It has been interesting, tough and rewarding. I was born on January 16, 1987 as the first born of my parents. I attended Nigerian Navy Primary School, Navy Town, Lagos and Prisnoni Comprehensive High School, Ikeja, Lagos. Presently, I am in my final year studying Accounting at the University of Benin.
I owe every gratitude to the Almighty God that I do interior and real home design decoration. In addition, I sell clothes and make up kits. My dad is an engineer while my mum is a business woman.Growing up was fun. We were initially three girls for a long time before we had a brother. My father pampered us so much until he lost it somewhere; his business encountered a great decline when I was only ten years old in 1997. That was when I began to face the reality of life.
What motivated you to go into interior decoration business since you have an accounting background?
I encountered great difficulties during my Diploma career as I struggled to pay my fees and bills in school because my parents couldn’t help out that much. So, I had a survival strategy by raising some capital through the sale of items to my classmates which I picked from my mother’s shop with her consent.
I gradually developed interest in colours and materials. Hence, that interest provided an opportunity for learning. I learnt how to combine colours and materials together to make homes look their best. I kept trying as I took these materials to my friends who could create some design with them, and over time I have been able to perfect my skill.
So, I do not have any academic or professional certification for this. It was just a case of interest and passion being fueled by imagination to give life another meaning. Since the jobs weren’t regular come on a daily basis, I had to think of diversification. So,I invested in clothes and make up kits. I am thankful to God for this business idea.
What opportunities abound in this business?
Truly, life is a collection of relationships and these relationships compensate for what you do not have. The business has provided me with the opportunity of meeting people who have helped me to sharpen my creative ability and my Sales skill.
It gives you the interior designer, an opportunity to design and decorate clients’ homes while leaving a lasting smile on their faces. You can make some good money from this so long as you are good at it and your charges are not high. Creativity doesn’t come cheap, so people will have to pay for it.
As a single mum, how are you able to thrive amidst stiff competition in your career?
I must confess being a single mother is not an easy road to ply couple with my career but my parents have been very helpful, and I have been able to move on. This doesn’t affect my business rather it is fun to be a mother as you remain thankful to God who has given you a gift that you have to nurture and wish she is better than you.
Then you can stand tall to say the training you offered her is indeed something to cherish. The fact that you think you need to fend for her gives you the push to want to work hard as nothing works like work. Above all, God has been there for me.
How do you impact young people positively?
My business has given me the privilege to encourage other young people who are either confused with what they want to do with their lives. I have had to hold talks with some of them and I keep sharing the story of a 25-year old single mother that is not thinking of giving up any time soon. They come back to me to say thank you for inspiring them to take action.
Any advice for young people facing similar challenges and are interested in making a difference in their community?
The most challenging moment I have had so far as an emerging entrepreneur was one of the jobs I did in April 2012 in Okpara Island in Delta State, where I gave a quotation; I started the job almost immediately and thought by the time I was done with it, it was going to come out great.
But only to my greatest surprise after hanging the day blind and vertical blind, the job experienced a halt for a while due to some personal issues the client was going through at that time. It was not funny at all in view of the resources already invested in getting it done. It was only recently, my client called me back to continue from where I stopped, so I had to supply the sofas, tables and other interior items needed to complete the job.
My advice to young people out there is for them to be persistent and steadfast in whatever walk of life they are involved in. No matter how slow it seems to be in the beginning, one thing is sure that the time to smile is always closer than we can ever imagine. So I urge them to pursue their dreams and never relent in what they do.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
Tunde Akintoroye a.k.a. Tundey Ibadan
Tundey —real name Tunde Akintoroye—is what tastemakers and critics like to describe as a “360 artist”. A rapper, singer and songwriter in every sense.Tundey—or Vicar as he is often called has proven to be exceptionally versatile across all genres of music and musical milieu.
Beginning his musical journey as a teenage chorister in church where Tundey was a member of two Gospel groups growing up —Anointed Three and Motivators — and built his performance pedigree on the back of church settings.Tundey has gone on to work with a flurry of mainstream and emerging Nigerian artists such as Skukki, Kazz, Phizzle, Kilt Kranik, and many more.
Making music that is embedded and enriched with deep and meaningful words of wisdom and strong lyrical dexterity, Tundey coveys his message with melodious voice that not only has the power to captivate your soul and leave you speechless but also to move your body and make you dance.
The Chemistry Graduate from O.A.U cites such legends as King Sunny Ade, Michael Jackson, R.Kelly and Lagbaja as his inspiratiors and the influence behind his music. He is currently working on his debut album which is due out before the end of 2012.