Unique products, good customer relationship set me apart from others -CEO, Jazmin’s Jewels
Oluwatoyin Fabunmi Okpaleke, CEO Jazmin’s Jewels turned her challenge into a money spinning venture. She went into jewelry business after she had a challenging time getting a unique jewelry for her baby’s dedication.
She spoke to Feminine Nigeria recently and revealed that she doesn’t just source for any jewelry, but looks for unique and stylish designs that will ensure her customers stand out. Oluwatoyin Fabunmi Okpaleke is our Woman Crush this week. Enjoy her inspiring story below:
Being an entrepreneur
It was really more of an accidental thing. I never really set out to be an entrepreneur. I went into banking with the plan to be out in four years. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I left but I just knew that bank work wasn’t what I wanted for my life.
So four years went by quickly and I realized more than ever that I needed to move. At the same time, I needed something that could pay my bills and even though I write fiction, I didn’t see that paying bills. So the next thing that came to mind was to find something I could sell.
Interestingly I had never sold anything before, not even a pencil, so of course everyone around me didn’t see how I would pull it off. The beautiful thing was in a really short time, they all realized they were wrong and I could do it.
Lessons learnt as a businesswoman
I have learnt that while the risks are high, it can be truly rewarding to create something and grow it all by yourself. I have also learnt that it is really easy to fail and as such, one must be really ready to weather the challenges.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
You need to have a strong reason for doing what you do, that reason is what will keep you going when challenges threaten to overwhelm you. For me, it was knowing that I want to be financially independent despite not having a 9 to 5 job. It was knowing that I must create my own wealth so I can have enough and more to give to others.
Also, your eyes and ears have to be wide open so you can spot and hear of opportunities and take advantage of them before others even know they exist. Finally, there will be days that you just want to throw in the towel, it would look as if everyone else but you is making sales but you know what, hang in there. Keep showing up at your store be it physical or virtual. People are watching, things would turn around and you will forget you ever used to struggle with sales.
Why I chose jewelry business
I decided to do jewelry business when after I had my baby, I had a challenging time getting a really unique jewelry for my baby’s dedication. I didn’t want regular jewelry sets. I wanted something that would be quite different from the norm. I scoured the whole of Jumia, Konga and the pages I could find on Instagram and nothing really spoke to me until I came across a particular Instagram page where I saw a pearl set that was just perfect for me.
Before then, I had been thinking I was going to apply for a drinks distributorship on a small scale and grow from there. But after buying from the lady, I knew I wanted to do jewelry, so I signed up for a wholesale plan with her and in less than a year, I started importing myself.
Handling difficult clients
One thing I keep at the back of my mind is well this is a money matter. This person is parting with his or her funds and it’s a must I give value whether or not I like their attitude so I always try my best to stay calm. My background in banking also helps in this regard.
I have had extensive training in customer relationship management and also in a bank as a relationship manager you come across all sorts of people so that experience has really helped in great measure. People talk about how I am always so polite and calm despite the provocation but really, it’s not just an automatic thing. It’s a skill I have learnt over time.
What sets me apart
That would be unique products and good customer relationship. I don’t just source for any jewelry, but I try to look for unique and stylish designs that will ensure our customers stand out. We also don’t joke with durability so customers keep coming for more and referring friends, relatives and colleagues.
The amount I started with
I started with N50, 000 and I was so scared the money was going to waste because no one will buy but I sold everything out in two weeks. For a beginner, that was a great thing. Of course, I have added more capital along the way but my initial investment was N50, 000.
Experience as an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur is both difficult and sweet. It is difficult in the sense that what you sow is what you reap unlike being a paid employee that you could afford to not meet your targets. As an entrepreneur, you have to achieve set goals or your business dies. But it is also sweet in the sense that you can make your monthly salary as an employee in just one day.
Where I see Jazmin’s Jewels in 5 years
In the next five years, we would already have our own jewelry designs, and custom designs for Jazmin’s Jewels. My love for unique jewelry is really strong, I can’t stop thinking of having designs you can’t find anywhere else. We will also have a website that people in all corners of Nigeria will be familiar with and shop from. I am not really looking into opening physical outlets but we will definitely have a corporate office which will be for sorting, shipping and for those who will love to visit.
What you should know about me
I am Oluwatoyin Fabunmi Okpaleke. Asides running Jazmin’s Jewels, I also run a blog where I write fiction and articles. www.toyinfabs.wordpress.com. I have published two e-books which are available on Okada books, one of them (Not So Happily Married) has been made into a TV series that used to air on Africa magic entertainment but currently running on Linda Ikeji TV. I am married with two children, Jason and Jasmine. My business is named after my daughter Jasmine.