Researcher, scientist and entrepreneur Ifeoluwa Bejide explains AGENCY OF FAITH about his job
What What are your educational qualifications?
For my primary education, I attended Ecwa Kindergarten and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State. I went to Redeemers High, Mowe, Ogun State.
I then earned a BA in Microbiology from Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. I also have a Master’s in Medical Microbiology at the same university.
What services does your business provide?
I sell women’s clothing and accessories. I am also a fashion designer and illustrator. I also run a branding business where I coach entrepreneurs and teach people new digital skills.
How were you able to raise the funds to start the business?
I started with little capital while I was still in secondary school (SSS3). When I was accepted to university about nine years ago, I perceived it as serious business. Then students started coming to me asking for different things and I kept adding these products to my stock list. My room was like a mini store. I thank God that I now have a physical store.
What are the difficulties you face in business life?
There was not much capital in the initial phase. So I had to start small and wait until I finished selling the merchandise before buying new sets. The lack of funds did not allow me to buy goods in bulk. But I finally overcame this challenge. I realized that capital in business is probably not always enough; especially with the rising cost of things in the country. Right now swap and import fees can really drive you crazy. In addition, some customers still do not want to pay for delivery. Initially I only did door-to-door delivery nationwide, so it was a limitation for potential customers staying out of the country. But now, we are dealing with worldwide delivery.
Another difficulty was that many customers and friends were in debt, no matter how hard they tried to avoid it. And getting those debts back is often a challenge. But things are getting better and there are now easier ways to collect debts.
How did you overcome the difficulties you mentioned?
By constantly trying new ways to improve and listening to customers’ feedback. I also now use billing and accounting applications. I also launched a website for my business to reduce the level of debt from customers. For a customer to make a successful purchase on the website, they must pay in full.
I switched to a better plan with a better logistics service in the delivery area as well.
How do you get customers?
Through referrals and on social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. Some customers as soon as they enter the store
How do you deal with online customers?
There are different types of customers encountered in the business world. They can be calm, understanding, rude, or outspoken. There are even customers who want to defraud.
No matter what kind of negativity I get from a customer, I’ve learned to be genuinely polite and cheerful. A client recently told me that one of the reasons they came back to patronize me was how humble and kind I was.
Did you receive any training before starting the job?
No, I did not. Working comes naturally to me. I also have it in my family. I have been exposed to selling items since I was little.
What is the biggest support you have received since you started the business?
My biggest support came from my family, contrary to what some say that families don’t support their businesses. In the early days of my job, my mother made the deliveries. He would take the goods to the park, look for customers and even follow them.
My sister was great too. He ‘overestimates’ me and is very supportive of my work. He patronizes me and refers many of his friends to me. I also have friends who carry bags of clothes for me, advertise on my behalf and expect nothing in return.
How do you manage your business and still find time to do other things?
Many people ask me this question. While I don’t want to sound like a ‘cliche’, it’s actually a blessing from God because it’s so hard to explain. But from a more physical point of view, proper planning and discipline also helped me. I make time for my work and other things. I work very well over time. If I decide to dedicate two hours a day to posting business content on my social media accounts, I will not exceed that time. I believe there is a time for everything.
Have you ever thought of quitting?
I know this may sound incredible; But I never thought of quitting. I don’t believe in giving up. However, I took a break when necessary.
What are your other interests?
I have a talk show where I talk about life, experiences and expectations. I am also interested in doing research.