Entrepreneurship in Nigeria is not for the feeble – Ogundele Oluwatobi (Ceomania alaso-oke, CEO)
Took a while; But We are back, This time we met-up with Ogundele Oluwatobi, the founder of Ceomania alaso-oke (the guy who does what older women do; and surpasses all expectations) and of course he’s the Ooni of Owambe community (without him, you won’t slay that much at your event)
May we meet you sir?
Awetech: May we meet you sir?
Ceomania: My name is Oluwatobi
I’m a fabrics and fashion entrepreneur. I make clothes
Awetech: Nice sir
Awetech: A brief history, Background
Ceomania: I am from Ekiti State, Usi Ekiti precisely, I am graduate of English and Literary Studies from the Ekiti State University.
I started out Ceomania Aso-Oke in 2013, I love everything cultural so settling for that line of business wasn’t hard for me. Our baby brand “PONLEclothings” is less than 6months old. It caters for traditional male outfit only.
Awetech: Have you always loved fashion, do you have a background related to the fashion industry particularly Aso-Oke
Ceomania: I have always been fashion conscious, I have always liked detailing. Am the type of guy that thinks about what he is going to wear a week ahead. So, my fashionable instincts level has always been high.
I never had any background relating to this. In fact, I learnt the business on the job. I was a novice who got a calling and became curious alongside.
Awetech: Have you always gotten support from your parents Families and friends?
Awetech: Since you had no previous knowledge; can you sink a little deep about your days of little beginnings?
Ceomania: At this point I think I need to give a standing ovation to all friends and families who at every point stood up for me. I can’t ask for more. Its numerous I must confess funds, prayers, time, sacrifice, trust, shelter, words of wisdom etc. It’s endless
Ceomania: Little beginnings (Laughs)‚
We are still at that face though, just that we have come a little above the usual routine. We never had it smooth as expected, our propositions did hit the rock several times. I remember a day I started out in Pen Cinema to Allen then Opebi then Surulere then Idumota then Ketu then Maryland before heading home. All along I was marketing, making deliberations and moving around with Aso-Oke fabrics…we all know how heavy it could be at times, I didn’t even have a car not a bike to myself.
Awetech: How did you go about funding?
Ceomania: Started out on zero capital. Got the first 6k loan from mum in 2013, then other ones came in from thrift (ajo), I have done and I am (still) doing all the available thrift in Nigeria. I once got a cooperative funding through my big brother which I paid back in a spread. All this and many unmentioned mediums have helped me through.
Awetech: What do you think of Fashion and Technology infused; Do you think Nigerian Fashion Entrepreneurs should do more tech stuffs to improve the ecosystem?
Ceomania: This is the best thing that has happened to clothing industry since Adam ate the apple.
Ceomania: Technology for me is anything made available to make life and job process easier than it used to be without reducing its initial quality
Ceomania: Of course, we are in the computer age like they say and everything is so digital. Visual has gone up to 5d 10d the last time I checked. So, art is becoming more real than the fictitious ideas we had in the 80s. Thus, there is a need for fashionpreneurs to embrace the quality sustainable gadgets available to further translate arts in touchable and moveable piece in form of outfits.
Ceomania: Before now, making embroidery design on traditional outfits is subject being at the mercy of experts to make it happen, but currently I can sit in the convenience of my studio, program the machine and watch it do the needful as preferred repeatedly without stress.
Awetech: Do you sell on the social media? How does the social media work for you?
Ceomania: This is my largest market I must confess. Spent a less than $1000 on advertorial and I can say I have gotten over $25,000 in returns. For me aside God, social media is everything. I don’t joke with it.
Awetech: Perfect sir; Do you have any special skill you use for the social media or do you have any social media manger?
Ceomania: All social media accounts have one app or the other for tracking and publicity. You might just need to pay to unlock it’s tracking features
Awetech: How do you see entrepreneurship in Nigeria? Do you think Nigeria as a country can depend on Entrepreneurship to improve the economy?
Awetech: Five years from now what do you think the Nigerian Tech+Fashion (ecosystem would be like)? How has entrepreneurship changed your life?
Ceomania: Entrepreneurship in Nigeria is not for the feeble. Not necessarily physical strength but mental ability to strategize and move above societal limitations. Trust me we have several of that out there. Above that we need a force in the game. I will say a walk with Jesus is better and simple.
Ceomania: If the nation will be fair enough with interest rates and the likes, I see entrepreneurs lifting the economy sooner than expected
Ceomania: If Jesus tarries, I see something bigger than our widest imaginations can conceive. I hope we will be ready when the time comes.
Awetech: Have you got any other words for upcoming entrepreneurs in general? What would you tell them to avoid doing?
Ceomania: Entrepreneurs need to know the world isn’t about out personal needs, we can only see ourselves by first seeing the people’s need and selflessly going to put lasting solutions to it.
Ceomania: Kindly avoid lack of vision. It can perish a lifetime goal.
Awetech: And on a final note sir; we’ll like to know, what motivates you, what keeps you driving and what inspires you? Plus, we’ll like to know; Where do you think the idea to start an ideal entrepreneurial journey should start from?
Ceomania: The journey of a thousand years starts with a walk, start with high integrity I must advise. My motivation comes for a need to meet expectations. Whatever your hands find doing, do it diligently.
Ceomania: Doing legit business is good business, do it proudly. No matter how seemingly little it appears, one day it will surely fly
Awetech: Thanks for your time sir.