Why I ventured into auto gele business —Alabi
Towobola Alabi, a graduate of Sociology from Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) is an entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aso-Oke Queens.In this interview by TAYO GESINDE, she speaks about her foray into the aso oke business.
When did you start your Aso Oke business?
I started petty trading during my tertiary school days. When I graduated, I got a job with an aviation company and I am still working there, but I never stopped petty trading over the years. I finally delved into auto gele and aso oke business last year because I believed it was the right time for me to create a business around people’s needs and one of such is gele tying. I also spent hours trying to tie a gele when going to parties. I learnt about the business from my boss, Tawa alaso oke. I am still learning from her till today. That was what made me start the auto gele and aso oke business. Aso oke has its beauty and uniqueness and I discovered the auto gele is better when it is made with aso oke than when I use other fabrics to make them. That made me to go fully into aso oke and its embellishments.
What were the challenges you faced when you started?
There were few challenges when I started. The major one was sourcing for a good quality aso oke because the market is filled with low quality materials and aso oke from China but we overcame them all. I actually started with auto gele and later started selling aso oke too.
How have you been combining your business with your career?
It has not been easy but I am gradually coping with them all with the help of my husband. He has been very supportive.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I get inspiration from the old and the unconventional designs that people are tying now.
What distinguishes your designs from those of your competitors?
My aso oke fabrics are of high quality and the auto gele are made with good quality aso oke and they are beautifully crafted such that they look like tied gele unlike the horrible auto gele some vendors make. Our auto gele and aso oke are affordable too.
What is your philosophy of life?
Live your life to the fullest, enjoy it and be good for your own sake. Don’t break people’s trust because you can never get back the trust once lost. Also, while making your dreams come true, don’t forget your root because life keeps taking you back to them once in a while.
Where do you see your business in five years time?
I see my business ‘Aso oke queen’ becoming one of the most sought after aso oke in the world.
What advice do you have for young people?
Never lose hope, don’t give up now, every failure is a path to success and greatness. Remember, don’t stop trying, go out there and win.