Ifeoluwapo Ajibike holds a master’s degree in English but has settled for beads making and appears so passionate about the art as she calls it. In this interview with AYO ALONGE, this CEO of Beads Speak spoke about her life, the art of beads making, her business strategy, driving force among other issues. Excerpts:
Tell us about yourself
I am Miss Ifeoluwapo Ajibike, the third child in a family of seven; father and mother inclusive. Being the first daughter, I have learnt to be independent and this has helped me to understand the essence of hard work, commitment and love. I am a lover of the arts and creative writing.
I hold a master’s degree in English Language from the University of Lagos and a first degree from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba.
You mean you have a masters’ degree and all you thought of doing is beads making?
(Laughs) Having a masters’ degree does not stop me from attempting other areas of life. Personally, I consider bead making as an art and through it, I task my creativity. The master’s degree is just a manifestation of my love for education. I still intend to pursue a doctorate degree in the field. As for bead making, it pays my bills!
So, how much do you make on a good business day?
Hmm! That’s a very tough question. No business is bad (laughs). What matters is consistent patronage. That a client can only afford beads at lower rate doesn’t make a bad business compared to the client that pays well. To be sincere, everybody wants to succeed in business and I always pray to God that I meet good clients. As for the amount I make on a good business day, I would say that it varies according to the style, the quality of beads and accessory and the amount a client is willing to pay . However, the bigger the style, the more expensive it costs. Similarly, the quality of the materials is another thing to consider. Most times, you may have to drag it hard with a customer to get a reasonable price. Some may never get to understand that their bargaining price is even less than the cost of production. You can now see what I am talking about here. So, it’s left for me to see how I can convince them about my quality and quantity. Most people are willing to get the best regardless of the price while some others want to get just anything at any price. Funny still, some want to get the best at a ridiculous price, and if you are in business yourself, you should understand what I am talking about here. My pricing is fair.
What is bead making in your own words?
As I have said earlier, bead making, to me, simply means having total control of creativity, and in this way, I see it as an art. Every time I am doing my thing, I see myself as a creator in this art. When I design, I’m in charge of my environment. The overall impact of this is the happiness of my clients at the end of the creative process. With every sense of sincerity, I cannot work for you and you don’t like it. I feel that’s because I have been able to see the art in my own terms such that I just feel I am merely having fun when I am working. Bead making is actually an art and an aspect of creativity.
What was the reaction of your parents when you ventured into the business?
Interestingly, they were supportive in every regard. When we were growing up as kids, they always taught us how to be independent through hard work. They consistently sang this chorus to us that whatever our hands find to do, so far as it’s legal, they are always around to support us . So, I never had any problems with them in this regard, instead, I had their support. Most times, my dad would even give me some money when I am broke. He is this type that believes that I am even assisting him, in a way, venturing into my own business. As for my mum, she often helps with the logistics of my business, and you also need to know that I have some of her friends as clients.
What’s your unique selling point?
Superb customer service skills, creative thinking and time management. Compared to other businesses , it’s an embodiment of all in one.
What are your core values in business?
My core values in business are customer focus, success, integrity, responsiveness, innovation and excellence.
What are your challenges in the business?
Some people are yet to realise that the old traditional beads that were used by our fore-fathers are back in vogue this modern age, and they are put together to make modern fashion statements. Some still underrate beads. Secondly, some people do not know that there are differences in the qualities of beads hence, they want a bead maker to make expensive beads for them at ridiculous prices. All these depend on awareness and ignorance.
What’s your strategy to achieve greater success in your business?
Already, I have a brand name which is Beads’ Speak. I believe that through continuous advertisement and hard work, my brand name would sail positively into the global market.
It’s a process which I believe, in due time, I would achieve. I believe that when one is good at what he/she does, then success is always at the door.
Do you consider your business profitable enough?
Yes, I consider it to be a profitable business, besides no one ventures into business to lose.
What do beads mean in the world of fashion?
Bead making has already taken its place in today’s fashion scene. Fashionable beads are among the most important things women use to adorn themselves. Usually, beads make fashion statements and give every woman confidence. Fashionable beads are in vogue and they are appreciated at local and internationally levels. In fact, most modeling companies adorn their run-way models with fashionable beads in order to make them look classy. Several magazines like Ovation, City People etc., promote the value of beads. For you to have a perfect look that will distinguish you from the crowd at any event, it is advisable that your wear beads, I mean good quality beads.
What does bead making entail?
There are a lot of things that can be made with beads and they include necklaces, belts, hand bags, earrings, rings interior décor, slippers etc. Largely, beads vary . We have coral, pearls, crystals, glass and seed beads for examples. They also vary in shapes, sizes, colours, and prices . Most importantly, there are fake and original beads. A good bead maker works with original beads and accessories. This is why I try to provide my clients with the necessary information when they need my services.
If you are offered a high-paying job somewhere would you quit making beads?
Working somewhere else doesn’t stop me from being a bead maker, because I do it at my leisure.
What’s your niche in life?
It’s my love for creativity. I find solace and expression, so to speak, through creativity. It could be in the form of writing or any other work of art.
How about the man in your life?
He is doing fine. No more, no less! (Laughs)
So,when do you hope to get married?
At the appropriate time.
What vision and goals have you set for yourself?
Until I achieve them, I will continue to be focused on them. Nevertheless, I believe that resilience, drive, hard work and staying positive will help me achieve my vision and goals. Until I achieve them, they remain personal. That’s it o!
What is your advice for all?
Source : SunOnline