MY HUSBAND MOTIVATED ME TO GO INTO ASO-OKE BUSINESS
CEO, Arike Alaso Oke
Bukola Odukoya is the beautiful face behind the popular made in Nigeria fashion outfit; Arike Alaso Oke.
Despite starting less than ten years ago with meagre amount in the face of uncertainties and harsh economic condition, Arike Alaso Oke has been able to stay on top of her game which is in turn expanding her client base home and abroad.
A communicator by training, but now making waves as a fashion entrepreneur, the Modakeke, state of Osun born Bukola explained to OSUN CITIZEN’S Executive Editor; Dotun Olanibi how it all started, her sojourn abroad, return, experience, the influence of her husband, relaxation, aspiration and many more.
Enjoy the interview.
What inspires your style?
Well, anything can inspire my style, It can be anything! Colours, my mood, just anything .
How old is the company; Arike Alaso-oke?
Arike Alaso-oke is 8 years old
How has it been so far?
Well, so far so good I can say it has not been easy but I have grown, learnt a lot, I’m wiser, I have learnt how to handle my customers well because relationship matters in this business.
Patience is key. All in all, I am grateful for everything.
You were trained as a communicator but now you are in the fashion business, how did it happen?
That is very true, I was a trained communicator, as a matter of fact I specialised in Broadcast, but we all know how difficult it is to really practice the profession you studied in school, although back then I was able to secure a job with City people Magazine; a soft sell society magazine, and later with Street Journal, a Dublin based newspaper but I was just earning peanuts.
I tried to get another job but it wasn’t easy, you had to be highly connected to get a really good job.
So, I relocated to the UK for greener pastures.
On moving back to Nigeria and newly wedded, my husband who is an investment banker encouraged me to think of what I can do on my own , so I went into the make up buisness briefly unfortunately it was encouraging at all so I was wondering what next.
Then my husband suggested I should go into the Aso oke business since that was what my mum was into all her life and I had also learnt first hand from my mum way back in Ibadan, so I called mum and she gave me tips as to how to start the buisness and since I’m fashionable too that was what I needed, something I love doing , creating something unique for people.
So would you say you journalism is gone for good?
I still love journalism, let me say I might go back part time but not full time.
So why did you take the decision to follow your husband advise that you should become an enterpreneur?
I took that decision because when you are self employed, you are your own boss, you have the time to yourself and your family .
Then most importantly, Aso oke is part of our culture as long as the Yoruba people exists there will always be the need for my services.
How much was the start up capital for this business?
I started with 1000:00 naira or so
What are your plans for Arike Alaso Oke?
It’s for the brand to be known for its uniqueness and quality.
To represent the Yoruba culture anytime and any day, everywhere in the world.
What is the origin of the name of your brand; “Arike Alaso oke”?
The Brand name Arike is actually my native name that was given to by my paternal grandmother.
And since my line of buisness is synonymous with our culture and I have a beautiful native name, I decided to add Alaso-oke which means Aso oke seller or dealer.
Now, we are in the period of economic recession in Nigeria, as an entrepreneur, what advise do you have for young people going into business?
In this economic recession period, my advise to young people is not to put all their eggs in one basket because nothing good last forever.
You must think of something you can do by the side not just anything, you need to be creative you need to be innovative not a copycat.
And the most important thing is to be patient, let yourself grow, learn from your own mistakes and improve for the better.
Which countries would you love to visit?
I have so many places in mind that I would love to visit in my life time, but the Bahamas tops my list, then Italy, Japan , Switzerland and the list goes on.
When will Arike Alaso Oke hit the international runway?
Hmmmmmmm, time will tell.
Hopefully, sooner or later
How affordable is Arikee Alaso oke?
Arike is very affordable o.
You can get a piece of Aso oke cap for 1000 naira!
As a matter of fact, we cater for our clients according to their pockets.
How do you combine being a wife and mother with your busy schedule as an entrepreneur?
It’s not easy o, sometimes i get overwhelmed but I have learnt to prioritise.
My family comes first, i have learnt not be anxious about anything, rather I let each day come and handle whatever comes one at a time.
That works for me.