Today, 1st September 2020 makes it exactly a year that I started Phyreels Ijebu Garri Product. What started like a joke with serious determination has grown to become what I am truly proud of. We started with supply to one supermarket then to the other and another, and presently we are supplying about 25 supermarkets across the Abuja metropolis.
I have single-handedly been the marketer, sales manager, factory worker, driver, accountant, customer care personnel, quality assurance manager, distributor and so many more. I have worked tirelessly in the past one year, alongside taking relevant courses that have sharpened the growth of this business.
Today, I can proudly say we have sold over 1,700 pieces of 1kg and 380 pieces of 3kg at an average price of 450 Naira and 1,350 Naira respectively; and still selling… I took this business like my life depended on it because truly, before I started, I was in a state of….. I can’t even find the right word now. I was just there and was trusting God for the business to begin.
I have actually worked with a real estate company but I had to resign and take the bull by the horn; somehow, I knew there was more to me than just being an employee. I felt I was doing less than my capacity and it’s a red signal for my personal growth. Coupled with the stress of taking care of my 9 months old baby at that time; from my day one at the company, I knew I wouldn’t stay long.
I was thirsty for what to do and the way forward, I prayerfully sought God’s face for direction and boom! This business idea came through and I found myself along the value chain/ addition of the agricultural sector. I started to think of all I needed and how sustainable the business can be. The business that I started with just 20,000 thousand Naira, has grown to become hundreds of thousands in one year!
One of the things I enjoy being an entrepreneur is the flexibility that comes with the job. Even though I work harder and for longer hours, I am still in control of my time and I can do multiple things, including taking courses that enhance my growth. Secondly, there’s no job security that is as strong as you being the owner of the business. The last person that gets sacked in a company is the owner (the originator). I have enjoyed this peace of mind in the last one year.
I should also let you know I have heard countless “No” while marketing my product, does it bother me? No. I have developed thick skin for rejection and in a way turn it around as motivation for the next available store/supermarket. “Madam, we have so many Ijebu garri, we don’t need it ”; “why is everybody coming with ijebu garri, what is so special about this garri sef, we have enough madam, sorry”. Some will even frustrate your life by saying come back, come back till you realize you are being played; in the minds of the store managers, “na you go tire”. But you know me now, I always persist, with my smiling face; sometimes I jokingly tell those managers “help this hustler now, let’s create space on the shelf together”; “Do I have to see oga or madam? I’m sure they will like the packaging of the product”. And then we agree on SOR- Sales or Return. My focus is to ensure I make sales. If I tell you how many SOR I got enh, virtually all the supermarkets that I am supplying today. I drove around Abuja sotey, looking for the next supermarket to conquer and I can say right now, that it has been a very fruitful journey.
In the last one year I have practically improved on my marketing, management, leadership and entrepreneurship skills. I don’t just preach it, I practice and that’s what The Jewel Empowerment Foundation is about. As I move from one supermarket to the other, it has been an eye opener for me on the retailing business. I’ve unconsciously learnt retailing operations and I am now looking to expand my coast with other agricultural products, such as spiced smoked catfish, yam flour (elubo), beans flour, fufu flour, unripe plantain flour ETC. I’m presently working on all certifications needed, including my post graduate, and I am very hopeful about the future.
I am open to collaboration, partnership and/or consultancy. The knowledge that I have gained is worth sharing. Presently, I’m training someone in this line of business. The sky is wide enough for all birds to fly, and so I am not afraid of competitors, rather I work most on improving the quality of my products and human relations. Who says you can’t begin your business today? You can! Remember the best job security is the one you create by yourself. Nigeria has the population and a great turnover for a good product. There’s a lot of potential in the agricultural sector because people will always have to eat regardless. Every young person should tap into this sector; I am ready to mentor as many people that may need my service as possible. Just find your place in the value chain. If nothing else sells, food must sell. Those that made more money all through the lockdown and beyond were those that sell food related items. Be proud of your hustle, nobody will continue to spoon-feed you. I am a proud Ijebu Garri seller, what are you proud of? Get out and start something today!
For those that have bought my Ijebu Garri directly or indirectly from me, I say a very BIG THANK YOU, your consistent purchase is what has kept me in business. CHEERS to this one year anniversary!!! The future is bright and beautiful!!!