It was a wet Friday evening. The storm had passed but I could still hear the drizzling outside and I could smell the petrichor in the air….. Needless to say, it was a good evening. A 30 minutes WhatsApp phone call with Opeoluwa Anjola Olalanke, the CEO of Radiant Fashion House made it better. It was laughs and jokes from the beginning until the end of the call.
We started off talking about what she does and what makes her a person of interest. She described herself as a specialist in making artistry, nail artistry, and fashion designing. She started her entrepreneurial journey like many others…. out of boredom while she waited to gain admission into the university. By the time it was time to resume as a fresher she had fallen in love with her art.
As our conversations progressed the laughter between us increased. We talked about the difficulty she faced when she was starting her business. She told me a story about when she didn’t own a makeup box and got a job to work on a bride. The bride asked her “where is your make up box?” and she had nothing to say. She also didn’t own a ring light and would request for torchlights while working. That’s all in the past now, as she has grown her business from scratch.
Anjola is also a physicist and has plans to venture into a business that calls her education to action. Her plan is to go into the business of selling and fitting solar panels and accessories. She wants people to know about the benefits of solar panels as a sustainable source of electricity. She compares the benefits of solar to the negative environmental impact of generators. Anjola was quick to admit that the capital to start up a solar panel retailing and fitting company is a lot. But it is something she’s determined to work on. I could tell that she was also very passionate about this as well. You tend to expect nothing less than passionate from Anjola.
Like every other person, the CEO of Radiant Fashion House has faced some challenges. I asked her what they were and she had this to say. “Personally, my biggest challenges are finance and time. Imagine if I had had enough money while I was starting, that bride wouldn’t have doubted my competence. In the world of fashion designing, there are machines that make our work easier and bring out the beauty in our work better like the electric sewing machine… If I could afford it, it would elevate the level of my work but, I have to keep doing what I do best with what I have, the manual machine. Time is also a factor because I go to work almost every day of the week and I have to meet up with my customers’ deadline. In my line of work, you have to be on your toes because things change every day and you don’t want to be left behind….you know, out-dated. So I still need to find time to learn new things so that I can please my customers.”
The main constraint for most entrepreneurs is how to develop their customer base. I was curious about how she did and she had this to say: “I’m not really a social media person, I’m an introvert. I have tried to grow my business through it but I couldn’t focus on it…I know there are people that can help me do that but it still goes back to finance, I will have to pay that person. I get most of my customers from referrals actually. When I was starting out I didn’t do it for the money. I made a lot of free clothes and I was never late which helped constructed a system of satisfaction and trust between me and my customers that’s why they feel comfortable referring me to others without restraint. My happiness is helping people look good, feel good and appear smart because how you dress is how you will be addressed.”
Before we concluded our fun chat as the drizzling stopped. I asked her if she has ever felt like giving up. She had this to say “one thing about me is when I’m determined to learn something I don’t know how to stop until I have accomplished my goals.”
She said all this while laughing. It was wonderful and I expect to see bigger things from her.