By CHARLES KUMOLU
Founder of many successful businesses, Seyi Banigbe, is the appropriate definition of a serial entrepreneur. Ever since she obtained a N200,000 credit facility to start a retail business as an undergraduate, she has been creating successful brands. Banigbe speaks on her life, explaining how she got the story of Bland2Glam (a top-notch jewellery brand), Deterge Nigeria Management Company and Nibo & Tac Legal Practitioners, started.
My upbringing has so much to do with who I am today. My parents did everything within their means to ensure I got a good education. My mother did a full-time job but ran a couple of businesses too. She taught me businesses that I could do and be successful. My parents are very hard working people and this set a great foundation for me to build upon. My parents allowed me to fly high and were extremely supportive of all my dreams and aspirations. They encouraged me to start every business that I sought to start and sit for every professional examination I wanted to write, even when it wasn’t exactly financially comfortable for them. I’m a lawyer with MBA from the Imperial College London. I obtained my Law degree (LLB) from the University of Lagos and was thereafter called to the Nigerian Bar. I am a certified member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) UK, and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) UK.
Sold-out in one night
Many things contributed to who I am today but I will talk about my first major foray into retail when I was in the University of Lagos. A friend had introduced me to an older friend who travelled abroad to get clothes to sell and I was able to convince her to give me fashion merchandise of about N200,000 on credit, so I could sell in school. The first day I took the clothes to Moremi Hall was an amazing experience for me. I got many people to to shop and I saw all the items I brought get sold-out in one night. I was happy and surprised but that event built my confidence in my ability to sell fashion wares and also make a good living from the business of retailing.
Not to live a substandard life
I won’t say that I took a decision to be a woman of many parts. It was simply just me deciding first not to live a substandard life. Hence I ensured I worked hard to build a strong career in my profession which is law. My passion and love for fashion and retail led me into starting my jewelry brand, Bland2Glam. I recognised the need to make top quality jewelry more affordable and accessible to Nigerian women and I made that our mission at Bland2Glam. Today, people buy Bland2Glam jewelry from across Nigeria and even Europe and USA via our online store and we are present in most major retail stores nationwide such as SPAR, Greyvelvet, Mobos, and many others.
Things can actually work
I believe so much in giving life to my dreams and passion as there is a certain type of fulfillment in living one’s dreams. Such fulfillment can’t be derived anywhere. My facility management company, Deterge, was borne out of me wanting to solve a problem around the ease of getting water dispensers cleaned in my society. The same could be said of my talk show, Binging with Gamechangers. I felt the need to showcase people that have worked hard at their craft and have attained success through replicable means. I believe that people eventually become what they watch consistently and Nigerians need to see that things can actually work if we put our minds to it.
My story gives credence to the fact that one can become anything they choose to become. The only limitations we have are the ones we create in our minds. Once you decide to attain a career or business goal, develop a plan and work passionately with that plan every day and don’t give up even in the face of setbacks. I’ will also say that the ability to keep going even in the face of all odds, is a key nugget. I have had reason to give up on every business I’m involved in today but once I confirmed that my idea or goal is valid and scalable, I simply remained committed to the idea every day.
More than one project
I worked in the tax and corporate advisory unit of PwC. I am a talk show host and entrepreneur. I take things one day at a time. Though I oversee all these entities I am involved in. I work with an amazing team of people that are involved in the daily administration of my businesses. I usually don’t have more than one project consuming my attention but I have built structures around each business to ensure that even when a business is not getting my direct attention, I have capable hands on the ground to ensure smooth service delivery to all our clients. I also ensure that I outsource some tasks that can be outsourced. This is particularly essential with tasks that are time-bound as it enables us to keep our payroll as light as possible.
Thoughts and perspectives of successful brands
What I have found consistent with most of my entrepreneur guests is their ability to stay dedicated to their vision. They remain hard working and give 150 percent energy to achieving their set goals. They all have that “possibility mindset”, believing that anything is possible in Nigeria irrespective of the limitations that surround them. There is always so much to learn from the business people that come on the show and I would actually like to encourage everyone to watch so we can all learn together. The show airs on Africa Magic Family on Sundays at 6 pm; STV on Saturdays at 1.30pm; LTV on Sundays at 9 pm; NTA Network on Saturdays at 10 am and NTA2 on Sundays at 5.30pm. The show is also on our Youtube channel @ B2Gnetwork. I established Bland2Glam because I was appalled at how expensive fashion accessories were priced and sold in Nigeria and thought to disrupt the market by sourcing good factories and suppliers in order to make top quality fashion jewelry and accessories available across Nigeria at guilt-free prices. I love solving corporate problems and I am quite enthused by the workings of corporate transactions and entities, hence my passion to support both small and large businesses with my wealth of knowledge acquired through the years.
Mind of successful people
Binging with GameChangers doesn’t only spotlight exceptional brands and entrepreneurs but we also celebrate high-flyers from corporate Nigeria as we believe that both entrepreneurs and employees need to be inspired to be their best in order for our country to blossom all-round. One thing consistent with the successful career folks featured on the show is their ability to be deliberate on what they want from each job and where they are going to. Even though these individuals work for organisations, they are mindful of what they seek to get from their organisation, what they seek to give their employer and where their current role should lead them to. Such a strategy is essential for consistent career growth.
Everything is possible
My strong faith in God fuels me from the inside; gives me a lot of strength, confidence and hope to embark on projects.
Read full interview on www.vanguardngr.com
I’m convinced that with God on my side, everything is possible. Integrity is also another thing that guides all I do. I believe individuals loose value before organizations/people when they are found to be dishonest. The truth is that when people can’t trust you, big deals will never come your way.
*Deciding first not to live a substandard life
* I believe so much in giving life to one’s dreams
* Big deals will never come your way if you are dishonest
*The only limitations we have are the ones we create