Dabota Lawson, a Real Estate Public Relations event manager, business woman and the Head of Corporate Communication Sujimoto Construction, a real estate developing company that majors in luxury real estate.
Most people in the society know her as an ex beauty queen. However, she is an accountant by profession. In this interview with Esther Onyegbula she talks about life a public relation manager of a real estate firm and other sundry issues.
How long have you been in the Real estate sector?
Off and on for about two years, I first started up with my family; my parents are very much into property investment. I manage my father’s estate and I used to promote the sales of their properties in Port Harcourt until I moved to Lagos and started working with Sujimotor, who is the CEO of Sujis motor constructions.
It has been 3years now since I moved back from the UK. My passion for corporation communication landed me in the real estate business. And right now we have just completed six unit town houses in Ikoyi which we just launched.
So what do you look out for when you develop a house?
What we look out for primarily is the location. For us the location is the key when we want to acquire a real estate or we want to buy a real estate, which start from acquiring the land.
So we play extreme level of attention on research on why must we buy this land, why must we partner with this land and how can whatever we put into this place play a great role in the lives of people that will live in this place.
So we put into consideration security, we put into consideration the location, including schools, for examples people who have one or two kids how far are the children to you, the social contribution of the environment also plays a great role to purchasing a location.
How does your brand stand out from the crowd?
The way we stand out from the crowd is by guarantee that whatever we are doing would not only meet the Nigerian challenges but will meet international standards, when it comes to luxury estate.
Our attention to details is one of our core foundations of who we are. We want to make sure that anybody that works with us will also be contractors that pay extremely level of attention to details. In their flooring, in their paintings, roofing, in anything we are doing our works always stand out from the crowd.
Since you started how would you rate your business goal?
So far so good, I think in this new age, because of our focus in Ikoyi, Banana Island, we always compare our projects with the old Ikoyi. What you are used to seeing, the type of building, how they cost and what it took to actually create what they call luxury apartment.
And I believe that so far so good even when you come on our site. You will see a tremendous difference. Not so much of a different price. For instance some luxury apartment in Ikoyi maybe three bedroom apartments will be going for about three hundred million.
We have town houses with a penthouse, a gym, a lounge, a bar, 24 hours electricity and security around the clock at far less than that. So in terms of growth, I think there is a huge difference with great value that is very evident in today’s world especially in the real estate market.
How would you describe the Nigerian real estate sector?
The Nigerian real estate sector, especially in lagos there is a lot of development more refined homes, better designs, beautiful estates, more of them are similar houses. People now prefer to live in smaller lovely houses. And we have luxury apartment that are more affordable for young people.
These days it is becoming increasingly difficult to get land space to build castles and big homes but we make that available. In Nigeria now we have gone ahead of most African countries and we are now doing things that people in first world countries do.
We now live a lifestyle like people in the developed world. Things like service apartments. Generally even the light situation that people have in their living environment is a lot better. I think there is tremendous growth and difference in the past four years.
What is the future of real estate in Nigeria?
I see a bright future and Sujimotor is going to be part of that future. We have got the project that is called the Casimo a semblance with the empire state building in New York.
That will be a standard set for the future of the real estate. I know there is a bright future ahead for Nigeria as a whole. But if we are going to talk about what the future holds lets talk about the casimo.
What are the challenges in being a real estate developer?
Some of the challenges that we face as real estate developers are issues that has to do with our Corporate Social Responsibility, it is not easy to please people but it is important for us to give back in every community that we are developing in.
Other challenges that we face is health and safety, people are generally exposed to hazardous situations and some of these situations you can’t really contain them which is why we continually educate people onsite and off-site during construction.
Attitude to work, wearing of safety gargets as you know some of the people who work on our site are not all educated. So another challenge we have is trying to educate them.
Not practicing what they know from man no man but to practise the real construction as a real professional.
To carry out the ethics, health and safety rules, maintenance to be able to educate the security staffs to know what to say to someone who wants to make enquiries. These are some of the challenges that we face.
Before I became PR to sujimotor, I was into Public relations event and what I do right now for the company is corporate communication, putting the company in a good light, own company called diamond ink. I moved into corporate communication which is more challenging, and more detailed.
I used to be a beauty win of former Miss Nigeria UK, I have done a couple of films, I have done TV presenting, those are things I do as a hobby that comes natural to me, modelling internationally in US and UK South Africa and West Africa.