Remember when I mentioned the fact that I wasn’t happy with my life at the moment, cos everything seemed dreary, and I felt I could do more than I currently am? Well, I am very happy to say I have finally started something.
I am now making Ankara accessories. I make sturdy hand bands, head bands, flowers, etc. The truth is I actually learnt the craft online, and was pretty surprised to find out how easy it actually was. For now, I sell mostly to my personal contacts and others who admire the accessories on them. It’s still small stuff for now but I know all big things start from small things. The bottom line is that for now, I am fulfilled, and that is what matters.
As said, I went to see Dimeji’s parents last Sunday, and to keep up good appearances, I had to make sure my hair was well behaved, lol. I packed it well with matching ankara hair ruffles and hair comb.
After some minutes of conversation with Dimeji’s mum, she commented on how she liked my hair accessories. She then opened her wallet to hand me N4000 and asked me to get her some. I immediately rejected her money, and told her that I actually made it, and it was a business I recently started.
Saying that to her made me feel proud of myself, not because I was trying to impress her, but because for the first time in my life, I could actually say I ‘owned’ something.
“Really? You made this yourself?” She tilted back, and looked at me.
“Yes ma.” I said.
“That’s great. You must be really enterprising.” She looked at the accessories again, really impressed.
Me? Enterprising? If only she knew. “Thank you ma.” I replied humbly.
“So how much will you sell a combination of your collection to me?” She asked.
“No ma. No o. Don’t worry. I can’t collect money from you. I will bring some for you.” I protested. See how my potential in-law wants to put me in trouble by making me look like one greedy stingy daughter.
“You won’t collect money from me? And why is that?” She looked quizzical.
“Ha, no ma. You are Dimeji’s mum na. How would I collect money from you?” I began to wonder if this woman was just testing me. If so, then I mustn’t fail this test, even though I didn’t know the right answer.
“Anna, when did you start this business?”
Hmm, trouble was brewing. “Last month ma.”
“So if I asked you to give me ten thousand naira worth of hair accessories, you would give me for free?”
“Ehm…” I hesitated and thought for a while. “Yes ma.” I said assuredly.
“I won’t charge you ma.”
“And two weeks later, I ask for five thousand naira worth for my female pastor’s birthday gift? I can just come and get it from you for free?”
“Most probably.” I said, suddenly unsure.
“And where exactly will you get the money to purchase the materials you would use to keep making these free accessories from me?
I had goofed. I began to see that I was failing this assumed test.
“I am sure you see where I am going. You can’t do business by refusing to collect money from people just because you like them or they are your friends.”
“But I can’t collect money from you ma. You are family.” I vehemently protested.
“And that is exactly why you should charge us. As someone who is newly starting business, friends and family are the ones that should support you and patronise you with their funds. They are your primary market, and the ones whose patronage would expand your market. There are no sentiments in business, and you cannot afford not to charge everyone. You need all the support you can get.”
I began to see what she was saying. It was obvious I had no great knowledge about how to successfully run a business, and I had already started goofing. “Thank you ma.” I said, really humbled this time.”
“You are welcome. And don’t forget to come to me anytime you need any advice on business. Now, take this money, and make me some accessories.”
I dared not hesitate. I took the money immediately. She gave me N4000 but I planned to give her N5000 worth. It suddenly occurred to me that she wasn’t even going to use them, and was just looking for a way to support me, seeing that she is on TWA.
And that was how I got my SME 101 course from the most unexpected source. Who would have thought?
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