Here on Whoot Africa, we not only showcase brands, but we also talk to the people behind those brands and have them share with us their back stories as well as give tips on how to successfully start and run a business.
Welcome to Whoot Africa’s – 15 Questions with the CEO.
Can you tell us a little about Bukola Adejumobi and Pretty Fabulous Floral & Designs as a brand you represent?
My name is Bukola Adejumobi, a floral designer. I am the CEO /Managing director of Pretty Fabulous Flowers and Designs Limited. I graduated from OAU Ile Ife with a degree in accounting, I also have a diploma from the Floral design School, South Africa; I am also an alumni of Fate foundation and EDC of the Lagos business school. Lagos
Pretty Fabulous is a full service floral company that provides fresh flowers, exotic plants, event decorations for all types of occasions in Nigeria. We also have an online flower store where customers can see, choose and buy flowers and gift items for their loved ones (birthdays, anniversary, congratulations, sympathy etc.). We provide same day flower delivery services and through our e-commerce website, we are able to serve different customers from different parts of the world.
How did you get started in Business and what did it take you to get to where you are today? Why did you decide to start Pretty Fabulous Floral & Designs?
I started business way back in university; I worked for a while after I finished my NYSC programme. Even when I was working as a financial accountant, I had one thing or the other to sell. I stopped work to concentrate full time on being a mother and decided to start my business fully. I have put my hands on a few businesses before I finally decided to just go with what I love the most; nature, gardening and flowers.
Starting Pretty Fabulous Flowers came out of a need to provide something extra ordinary to events in Nigeria. I realised at the time I started that a lot of weddings, and events were almost the same in look and design. I knew flowers were considered expensive and was tagged” only for the rich”, so I looked for creative ways to provide affordable fresh flowers for brides for their events. When the word spread that our company could provide fresh flowers that were affordable, a lot of customers started ordering for their events.
We also found out that customers want us to convey their emotions and also wanted to give gifts that will make the recipient feel extra special, and what better way than to order fresh floral arrangements and bouquets nicely wrapped and hand delivered to their loved ones. You can’t imagine the reaction and smiles when we deliver our flowers. Totally awesome!
What kind of person does it take to do what you do?
I think first you have to love people; you must be ready to see people happy. Because our business is really about building relationships in a way. Flowers brighten up anywhere even the burial ground, and so it takes a lot of passion to be in this business. One must have great communication skills, be very down to earth and approachable as customers come to you for different needs, they may want flowers to say I love you, flowers to say I messed up, forgive me, flowers to say I want to marry you etc., and you must be able to deliver these messages on point all the time.
For those interested in your business line, do you think now is a good time to start up a Floral and Design business? Do you think the market is oversaturated yet?
No, I don’t think the market is oversaturated. I would advise proper training to new comers in the floral industry.
What services can florists offer in this do-it-yourself world to remain cutting-edge and in business?
Quite a few ideas; for example, Pretty Fabulous Floral and Designs offers reminder service to our customers for free, they register important dates they don’t want to forget, and we send out reminders before the dates, customers can also create their own floral bouquet by choosing the type of flowers, colour and style of arrangement they want us to deliver.
What are some of those challenges you encountered with starting Pretty Fabulous Floral & Designs?
Hmmm! Challenges! I honestly can’t remember them, because at the time when I started the business, I had planned for the worst case scenarios( even though I was also working by faith), so most of the challenges for me were not as big as I had imagined. One challenge that I think is peculiar to SMEs in Nigeria is that of finding hardworking and honest staff.
Are there any plans for Pretty Fabulous Floral & Designs franchising?
Even though it is not in the business plan now, I have thought about it and will definitely look into it for the future.
With your knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship today, what are some of those things you’d do differently if you had the chance to start all over again, also what are those things you need young aspiring entrepreneurs to know about doing business?
I don’t think I would have done anything differently at all. Just like you said, it is about building a business; young entrepreneurs should learn that building a business (strong/lasting) takes time, and patience. Young entrepreneurs should also be very focused, fight for the business, be consistent and have a good knowledge of the market they are in.
How did you get Nigeria’s Pioneer Banking Giant, First Bank to notice you and how did you get involved with the Ignite TV? What has the butterfly effect of being noticed done for your business so far?
I received a call from the producers of Ignite TV to come on the show and talk with young entrepreneurs. I was informed that the recommendation came from Mrs Ibukun Awosika. It was a great platform to discuss with other business owners from the agricultural sector, exporters, and farmers. In terms of creating awareness for our company brand, I believe it has been positive.
You shared your story like a true professional, you had young entrepreneurs on the edge of their seats while you spoke, is this a one off for First Bank’s Ignite TV or do you plan to take up entrepreneurial mentoring as well?
It is important to find mentors and also look out for young ones that need mentoring. In the multitude of counsel there is safety. I have been blessed with good mentors and I am always happy being there for start-ups, or youths. I am looking forward to coming back on the Ignite TV show.
The host of Ignite TV, Mrs Ibukun Awosika is one of Nigeria’s most successful businesswomen and a strong supporter of women in business, what was it like meeting her and sharing this platform with her?
She is actually one of my mentors and a great woman with a great desire to see more and more women succeed in business. I met her over 15 years ago and still learn from her every day. As busy as she is, she always finds time to discuss and advise me on my floral business.
Doing business in Nigeria is not for the faint hearted, if you had to sell doing business in Nigeria in a few words to an investor, what would they be?
Two words, BE PREPARED.
What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business? How would you describe your leadership style, and where do you see yourself and Pretty Fabulous Floral & Designs in 5-10years from now?
Important personal skills for a successful business will be responsibility, accountability, assertiveness, and good problem solving skills. My leadership style is task oriented, and also people oriented, I like to lead by example and listen to my staff opinions, everyone is important to the success of the business. My vision for Pretty Fabulous in the next 5years is to be the preferred and largest retailer of fresh flowers for people around the world who need flowers sent to their loved ones in Nigeria. In the next 10 years, to have our own farm, and accessories company producing fresh flowers, foliage, and accessories to the flower market in Nigeria, and West Africa.
Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life? What was the biggest risk you have ever taken? Would you do it again?
My Mum, she thought me the value of hard work, and resilience. She is a business woman herself and I still learn from her till date. Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Mo Abudu and the late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya was also a great mentor. The biggest risk for me was moving my business from the mainland to the Island, and starting our ecommerce website all at the same time. The cost at the time was almost five times more than what we had budgeted for and I was very afraid if it was the right move. But I thank God; it has definitely been the best move yet. I would do it again. Now I believe the saying “you never know until you leap (not try)”because mine was more a leap of faith.
What do you think about college education? Should kids go to college now or get into business if they feel it’s a better choice? Considering some of the world’s greatest never had college education, your thoughts?
In our environment, education is very vital and important, it may not be for the western world, but for us here I believe you have to have a degree, and also training in your chosen field. The bible says get wisdom, and with it get understanding. For those that can’t afford a college degree, find ways to learn and keep learning.
If you missed the previous parts of the 15 Questions with the CEO series, please click here