Hello TM readers, we would like to introduce a new section called “Young and Enterprising”. This section will feature young and thriving entrepreneurs from different industries in an interview about their entrepreneurship journey and lessons they would like to pass to prospective entrepreneurs. This week we interviewed a young, smart, SHE-EO. Let’s get to meet her and learn all about her journey into entrepreneurship and how she’s been able to grow her business amidst all of the challenges business owners in this part of the world face.
Ebosetaeley Ann Okoyo owns a beauty salon called Taeley’s Palace and is an event planner. Ebosetaeley, fondly referred to as Bose by friends and family, studied Communication, Media & Film at the University Of Windsor in Canada. It’s fascinating to note that Bose wasn’t always into beauty as a kid. She never used to wear makeup or care about her hair until she moved to Canada for school. This piqued our interest to know how she ended up in the beauty industry.
I think my interest started when I moved away from Nigeria and went to school in Canada. I never used to wear makeup or even care about my hair until I got to Canada. Then I saw how much people were really into that sort of thing, and that fascinated me a lot. Since then, I told myself that I wanted to eventually have my own beauty space.
Bose, who is also an event planner, spoke about how she got into event planning. And just as you’re wondering, we were also eager to know why she leapt from the beauty industry, which is at one end of the spectrum, into event planning.
I’ve loved planning events for as long as I can remember; I remember planning my dad‘s 50th birthday which was more than 10 years ago. I also remember planning my parents anniversary and actually going into their phone and calling their friends to take them out of the house so that I could decorate; this was years ago too. So for me planning events have been a part of me for a long time. I initially would plan friends/family events or even surprises for fun until a couple of people asked me to turn it into a business because of how good and detailed they thought I was, and so I did.
It’s one thing to have a passion for something, but an entire process of turning that passion into a business. So how did Ebosetaeley Okoyo finetune her skills and passion into two thriving businesses? She walks us through how she started her brand from the ideation process to establishing the business.
“So I had the idea to start the beauty brand even before I graduated, and I told myself that immediately after I graduate, I wanted to move back to Nigeria and start my business which might seem crazy to some people. So I started doing my research; on different beauty brands, hair salons and nail salons in Lagos and how they operate/what services they offer. Just so I knew what I was up against and what I needed to do differently.
For the event planning aspect, when I would come back on holidays from Canada, I would intern with some event planners; just to get the hang of the dos and don’ts. When I figured out what services I wanted my brand to offer, I registered my business name, came back a few months after my graduation and started looking for spaces for the salon. I finally found one and everything started. I honestly didn’t expect everything to move as fast as it did, but as God would have it, I came back in April of 2019 and opened the business in November 2019.”
This enterprising SHE-EO’s journey into entrepreneurship didn’t exactly start smoothly. Like most other business owners, she struggled with human resources, fake beauty products, shipping costs, and government policies and regulations.
“One of the biggest struggles would be Human Resources. I realized that nobody cares about your business as much as you do, especially when it comes to staff. Finding the right set of staff can be really challenging. Another struggle I face is fake products. There are so many fake beauty products in the market that it has become hard to tell which one is real. And to avoid buying fake products, I’ll try to order online from stores abroad; but that even is another struggle because it’s more expensive, shipping costs can be ridiculous, and it could take weeks or even months for your product to arrive.
Then you have all these government regulations and policies and all the different things you have to pay for to have your business running. Before I started this business, I had no idea that you had to pay a fee if you have a signboard on your building, you have to pay if you have a signboard outside, you have to pay if you want to put maybe carpet grass on a designated parking space, you have to pay for literally everything. So many different people will come to your office and tell you they’re from the government and that you need to pay this and that. That was one of the things that really stressed me out at the beginning.” She adds.
On how she was able to get funding for her brand, she answers. “Luckily, I have amazing and supportive parents, and they agreed to lend me the capital to start the business.”
As most would know, marketing is key to the success of any enterprise. To market her brand, Bose makes use of influencers and social media. She also states how important word of mouth is for the growth of any business. In this age of social media, many business owners market their brands on various social media platforms. However, not all are successful in achieving their strategies; and some others don’t believe social media is a good branding/marketing tool. We wanted to know how big a role social media has played in the branding of Bose’s businesses.
“Social media plays a very important role when it comes to my brand because everybody is on social media these days; whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, everybody is on social media. I also think the beauty industry, especially in Lagos, is gaining a lot of traction right now. Everyone is online looking for a new salon to go to, a new nail design or a new hairstyle. So I realized that when I promote my business on social media, it goes a long way. A lot of people see it and I think when people keep seeing the same thing over and over, they want to try it, so I think social media has been a powerful marketing tool for me.” she replied.
Bose has been into event planning for quite some time and as someone who has attended an event planned by Taeley Events, I’m able to say that she puts the “I” in Impeccable planning. So we asked her to give us rundown on how she plans an event.
“After the contracts have been signed and sealed, I send a form to my clients to fill. The form has questions like date, time, preferred location, colour, theme, etc. After the form is filled, I have a meeting with the clients to go over the form and discuss it. During that discussion, we also talk about the budget, which is very important because that helps me give them options on location, vendors, etc. and also to make sure that we don’t go over the budget.
Then I create a mood board and send it to the clients. This helps them envision what the event would look like based on what has been selected in earlier discussions. We finalize details with all the vendors chosen, which includes cake, décor, food, drinks, music, photography, videography, etc. At this point, I also draw up a floor plan; it is a key factor to planning an event because it helps the vendors visualize the wedding venue. It also helps in laying out table and sitting arrangements as well as where other key elements of the event would go. I also draw up a program of the day and go over it with the client.
A week or two before the event, I have a vendors meeting where all the vendors meet with me and the client to go over everything and the flow of the event. We go over the program, the floor plan and where everything is supposed to be. We also discuss timelines for the vendors, the dos and don’ts. Then we wait for the day when everything would come together.” she explained.
We imagined that as the name connotes, Taeley’s palace will be filled with lots of goodies. So we sought to know what product and service offerings the business has.
“Currently, we have a make up section and a barbing section for the men. We also have a nail section, a pedicure section, and a hair section. We have a mini spa that features; massages, waxing, facials, body scrubs, an infrared sauna, lashes and microblading. We also offer event planning services.” she replied.
Ebosetaeley Okoyo is big on cocktails with friends as a way to destress. She also loves to travel and explore new places. When asked about her secret to juggling two businesses in Nigeria, she replies. “Honestly I have no secret. I just take every day as it comes. I take a break when I need to; because I’ve realized that stress kills and if you don’t take a break once in a while, your body will take that break by force. I also have very supportive parents and friends that help when needed, so it’s not too bad.“
Successful entrepreneurship is not measured by just establishing a business but by how sustainable the business is. Bose Okoyo shares with us her plans in terms of sustainability and goals for the future.
“By the grace of God, I have plans to open up a few new locations of Taeley’s Palace over the next few years in Nigeria and one location in Canada. I also plan to move to a bigger, more permanent building as the years go by and add more services. I want Taeley’s Palace to be a household name and to be known worldwide.“
Finally, for potential entrepreneurs, Ebosetaeley Okoyo shared some advice. “I would say do a lot of research on the sector you’re trying to start your business in. Also, meet new people, go to events, make connections, market yourself and your business. I didn’t understand how much connections play a big part in any business you do, until I started my business. Knowing the right people can take you further than you think. Be very passionate about any business you do, because honestly, doing business in Nigeria is hard and can be frustrating; but as long as you love what you do, and you have a passion for what you’re doing, you’re good.“
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