Good day ladies and gentlemen, it is such an honour to be standing here talking to you beautiful people today. |
I am Architect Fridaous Bello, an entrepreneur and also a co-owner of the Heritage Architectural firm, Being an entrepreneur in Nigeria is not an easy task as most of us can testify to. My entrepreneurship journey started as a teenager; see I come from a family of successful entrepreneurs, my maternal grandmother of blessed memory was an entrepreneur; a huge one at that, my mother, and most of my uncles are entrepreneurs. My grandmother would encourage us to start small even if its selling hijab pins, doing manicure and pedicures for people at your free time, making people's hair, doing editing works at school, just start something, she would always say.
I started doing free make up for my friends as far back as my remedial days in SBRS, a friend Magdalene adviced me to start collecting money as my talent was too much to be given out for free, I would small money like 200 naira, 500 naira if I had to use my powder and stuff, that was the start.
When I got admitted into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, I infused hair making and fashion designing, although fashion designing came later towards my final years in school.
As an architecture student I had little to no time to focus on my personal business but I would squeeze in time during weekends to make money with my hands, it was really difficult as so many of my friends complained of my lack of time to hang out with them. I lost a considerable number of friends beccause I was chasing a goal. That's one of the life's lessons I learnt, I'll explain later.
During the global covid-19 pandemic when school was on lockdown I decided to perfect my art and learn fashion designing on a more professional level, it wasn't easy as transportation was really difficult and too expensive, my mom would encourage me to just go ahead, being an entrepreneur herself she told me that achieving great things in life doesn't come cheap.
At work my boss would sideline me because she feels I am a threat to her, I understood everything too fast, can you just imagine a reason to sideline a student. I would beg her to please give me more works to do but no she was so adamant. When it got too much I had to change to a more professional learning institute.
I finished at the Sharonoats' fashion school. A big shootout to my boss, she was exceptional, she made sure the fire in me didn't die out.As a tailor, as I like to call myself, I started with sewing for myself, my parents and my brother. Hmm it's a blessing having such a wonderful family. I sew for family members as well, some paid me some didn't, when I got to my final year in school, I decided it was time for a change, I would put a price to every service I render to everyone. Some amazing people paid me accordingly and I lost most people as they were not ready to pay me.
After my service year, I got a job at a big architectural firm in Lagos, the pay was fine but I was not getting enough joy being paid every month.
I decided to start my own fashion business when I gave my cloth to a tailor and she charged me 15,000 naira to sew a gown for me, the gown was just anyhow. I took the bulls by the horns and started my fashion line, I worked from home at first then my husband got a shop for me, the challenges were too much as so many people are into fashion designing, I had to go extra miles in order to be unique, I would charge way lesser than I deserve to charge in order to stay relevant, I went for fashion shows home and abroad in order to stay updated, I went for retraining sessions, months would pass by sometimes I would not have serious customers, I sold fabrics as well, I had people that would buy from me and not pay me, they even returned goods they bought from me, customers would sew and not pay me in full, I got rejected from fashion shows because my designs were tagged as been to covered up, my designs were mainly for the muslim sisters, I got so frustrated and almost went into depression, thankfully I have a very supportive husband he was there to give me moral support and financial support, after about 22 years of trying to get to the top I am now a CEO. FAAMBAS is now a global brand, we offer services such as hair making, spas, fashion designing and we train students we have branches in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu. Alhamdulillah, we've had over 2000 graduates so far, both home and abroad.
You might be wondering what happened to my architecture degree, I practice architecture as well, we have firms in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu thanks to my amazing husband who supports me and makes everything easy for me to juggle.
To be an accomplished entrepreneur you need to understand the concept of SWOT
S- Strength, that is the ability to do the work you intend to do, physically and also have financial support, and enough knowledge to set out on your path. Strength can also be surrounding yourself with the right kind of people, so be wise in choosing your friends.
W- Weaknesses, might be lack of money, opportunities etc.
O- Oppotunity, you should be able to see opportunities and not be afraid of going for it.
T- Threat, every business has it threats. Hard work, focus and prayers will definitely make a person overcome threats.
Before I go, I would leave you all with this: IF YOU WILL IT YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT, WITH HARDWORK AND PRAYERS.
You are more than enough, Trust yourself, invest in yourself, pray for yourself and you would see God doing wonders in your life.
Thank you all for listening.