Doing business comes naturally to me — Bejide

Researcher, scientist and entrepreneur Ifeoluwa Bejide told Faith Ajay about her business

what What is your degree?

For my basic education I attended Ecwa Kindergarten and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State. I went on to attend Redeemer High School in Mowe, Ogun State.

I then did my BA in Microbiology at Redeemer University, Ed, Osun State. I also have a MSc in Medical Microbiology from the same university.

What services does your business provide?

I sell women’s clothing and accessories. I’m also a fashion designer and illustrator. I also run a branding business where I mentor entrepreneurs and teach people new digital skills.

How did you raise capital to start the business?

I started with very little money when I was still in secondary school (SSS3). When I was accepted to college about nine years ago, I took it seriously. Then students started coming to me asking for different things, which I kept adding to my inventory list. My room has almost turned into a mini store. I thank God I now have a physical store.

What are the challenges you face in your business?

At the beginning, there was not so much capital. So, I had to start small and buy new ones when I sold out. Lack of funds does not allow me to purchase items in bulk. However, I eventually overcame this challenge. I realize that in business, there may never be enough capital; especially if domestic prices are rising. Clearance and import fees can literally drive people crazy right now. Also, some customers are still reluctant to pay for delivery. I initially only did nationwide home deliveries, so this was a limitation for potential customers who lived abroad. But now, we handle global deliveries.

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Another challenge is that many clients and friends owe one, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. And, recovering these debts is often a challenge. However, things are improving and there are now easier ways to recover your debts.

How did you overcome the challenges you mentioned?

Continuous improvement by trying new approaches and listening to customer feedback. Also, I now use invoicing and bookkeeping apps. I also started a website for my business to reduce my clients’ debt levels. Customers must pay in full in order to make a successful purchase on the site.

In terms of delivery, I also switched to a better logistics service plan.

How do you get clients?

Through referrals, and on social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook.Some customers also just walk into the store

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How do you handle online customers?

There are different types of customers that you encounter in business. They may be calm, empathetic, rude, or straightforward. One may even come across clients who want to scam one.

I’ve learned to be really polite and cheerful no matter what kind of negativity I get from clients. A customer recently told me that one of the reasons they keep coming back to me is because I’m very humble and polite.

Did you have any kind of training before entering the business?

NO, I have not. Doing business comes naturally to me. Also, it works in my home. I have been exposed to selling things since I was a child.

What has been the main support you have received since starting your business?

My greatest support comes from my family, contrary to what some people say family doesn’t support their business. In the early days of my business, my mom used to do deliveries. She’ll take shipments to the park, call customers, and even follow up with them.

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My sister is great too. She “hyped” me and was very supportive of my business. She patronized me and introduced me to many of her friends. I also have friends who carry bags of clothes for me and advertise for me for nothing in return.

How do you manage your business and still have time for other things?

Many people ask me this question. While I don’t want to sound “clichéd,” it’s actually God’s grace because it’s so hard to explain. But, from a more practical standpoint, proper planning and discipline have also helped me. I divide my time between my business and other things. I work fine. If I decide to spend two hours a day posting commercial content on my social media accounts, I won’t exceed that. I believe there is a time for everything.

Have you ever thought about giving up?

I know it sounds unbelievable; however, I never thought about quitting. I don’t believe in giving up. However, I will take breaks when necessary.

What are your other areas of interest?

I have a talk show where I talk about life, face-to-face experiences and expectations. I’m also interested in doing research.

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