BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
Shortly after graduating with a degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos, in 2002, her unquenchable passion for designs led her into pursuing a Diploma in Interior Designs at the Ivory House School in Lagos. Today, the product of that desire for self-enhancement actualisation is Sixth Sense, a designs and decoration outfit which she formally established in 2004 though she had been doing business under the name Sixth Sense since 1999 while she was in the university. With four offices in Lagos so far, Mrs.Temitope Olagbegi, MD/CEO of Sixth Sense, spoke with Vista Woman recently about her love for business, designs, challenges and all that have kept Sixth Sense thriving in the midst of challenges.
Read on as this industrious mother who won the Entrepreneur of the Year at the City People award ceremony in 2010 speaks.
Sixth Sense had always been the name of my business because I see our sixth sense as our ability to do more than normal. Everybody has got his or her five senses, but the sixth sense is always that thing that makes you think, that thing that makes you stand out and that thing that makes you different.
This understanding made me carry on with the name because every time I thought of a name for my business, Sixth Sense just kept coming up as the ability to think! As a matter of fact, for almost everything I used to do and all that I do, I seem to apply the sixth sense! It simply means doing something extra-ordinary.
I went to the Ivory House School after studying Accounting, because I believe that even if you have a flair for something, there is a need to harness that flair by acquiring some skills. My flair for design has been innate. I mean, those I grew up with have always remarked right from when I was still growing up that my corner in school and my beddings were always different because I would always add something to beautify them.
I had always been in business even before going to study Accounting. For instance, I owned a supermarket, a nail studio and a boutique even before I graduated from the university. All these businesses were done under the name -Sixth Sense. I love business because as a very active and restless person, I believed working for someone else would not give me the flexibility I want.
I had also always been into interiors even before going to the Ivory House School. After my Diploma in the Ivory House School, I began doing designs in the little way that I could because I believe that when you have a passion for something, you start small, and then it opens out.
I started by putting my pillows in the booth of my car, and going from office to office to sell them. People who also visited my home also asked me to come beautify their homes like I did mine. After a while, in 2004, I opened my first interior store in Ikoyi; it was a very tiny 12×12 showroom.
Sometimes, when God wants to send blessings, an upset or inconvenience could happen. I got a quit notice at my only showroom then, and that really got me depressed. But God being God, there was an opening at Ozumba Mbadiwe and somehow, I was able to pay for it. That was my first big showroom. From then, there have always been challenges which end up expanding the business.
For instance, I had a fire incidence in February last year in which the whole of my store at Ozumba Mbadiwe was razed down. I couldn’t salvage even my handset from the shop!
I’ve, however, realised that it takes things like this to bring out the best in us because if everything goes rosy at all times, we will fail to appreciate God. We ordinarily never really look deep down to find that we have strength. It is times like this that we understand that we have a father that we can lean on. He actually uses those turbulent situations in our lives for his glory to rebirth. To be honest, it’s not like I often don’t think about shutting down due to challenges, but the truth is that my passion for designs has always kept me going. Instinctively, whether I’m sad or happy, all I want to do is move a chair, rearrange and beautify cushions, etc.
More importantly, the grace of God has always been my stronghold because when there are issues, it’s only God that helps me get back on track.
I travel a lot and that helps me create new designs. Travelling around the world has made me realise that people are doing great things out there. I also gain inspiration from the things that I see. I also sit down to think through designs. More especially, I love bringing up new designs, and plan for new things to bring into my Sixth Sense every now and then.
Sixth Sense is basically into the production of aesthetically-appealing pieces of furniture and accessories to enhance and beautify spaces. We also refurbish old sofas for people because we don’t believe people always have to throw out old sofas. We are also into designing of ceilings and painting of walls.
What makes us different from every other design outfits is the eye! Every designer has got an eye, and our own eye is different. Another thing that makes us different is the fact that we work according to people’s budgets; our office is not only for the rich and famous. We believe that it’s not how much you put into a design that makes it look beautiful. As a matter of fact, designs don’t really have to be too expensive!
I hail from Ekiti State, and I’m married to Adedipo Olagbegi. We have three lovely children. My husband is from Owo in Ondo State.’