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young boss

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Guess who is a nominee for the Future Awards 2010 “Business Owner of the Year” Award? 😀

I did an interview earlier on and it was for a closer look at this year’s nominees. This was my close up:

Sylvester Olusola Kay-Adade
The 22-year-old owns Pearl Creations (a subsidiary of The SKA Group), which he started two years ago, after moving to Canada in August, 2006 to complete his tertiary and medical education at McMaster University. This company essentially makes two (2) products: button-badges and lapel pins. It provides button-badges for personal use, effective advertising and marketing of Companies, goods and services; promotions, campaigns, special occasions, holidays and international events
Pearl Creations, which has 3 employees, is based in Ontario,Canada, but also operational in Lagos, Nigeria. Despite poor credibility due to his race, rejection letters from comic stores, film companies, movie theaters, and cinemas when who he approached for contracts to make buttons he now supplies buttons to groups and organizations within Hamilton, and supplies buttons to individuals, international Events and Companies within Canada, the PR of China, United States, Nigeria, Mexico and England, in the past one year working with The Invisible Children, the 2010 Business Network for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, and Cure Canada. He has also had as clients, the Hope for David Charity Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada], i-Rep Fashion Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada], Ontario Universities’ Competition for Hip-Hop (O.U.C.H.) 2008 Dance Off [Hamilton, ON, Canada], the University of Lagos Engineering Faculty [Lagos, Nigeria], the University of Windsor African Union [Windsor, ON, Canada], the Legacy Festival’s B.H.M. Event [Toronto, ON, Canada], the McMaster African Students’ Association (M.A.S.A.) [Hamilton, ON, Canada] and the Erindale College African Students’ Association [Mississauga, ON, Canada].
The Parent Company of Pearl Creations is The SKA Group; and it will be starting up “Suave Clothing” soon which will be making dress shirts, suits and ties; and selling classic watches (in partnership with LR Watches), cufflinks, tie clips and belts from reputable designers.

I did yet another interview for the Future Nigeria Awards again today. I’m told this one is for a press release for a Newspaper. I have never done so many interviews in my life in one stretch. I guess it’s important to do as many as possible. After all, it is a medium through which people can read and know my story. Anyway, the Future Nigeria Awards 2010 has been set for Sunday, February 7th, 2010. I plan to be there, but it is still uncertain. I think I should though. The publicity, not to talk of the opportunity to meet and mingle numerous Nigerian celebs and public figures. I love to make Pearl Creations and The SKA Group ring in their ears lol. Anyway, here’s interview:

INTERVIEW

I’m Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade, President of The SKA Group. For the purpose of this interview, I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Pearl Creations.

1. What business do you do?
Pearl Creations manufactures and sells two (2) Products: Button-Badges (All-Me Buttons and National Buttons) and Magnetic Lapel Pins (Mag*Lapels). Both are used for Advertising, Awareness, Campaigns, Personal & Corporate Use, and as Fashion Accessories & Collectibles/Souvenirs at Local, National and International Events.

2. How did this begin?
It all began with an idea a good friend of mine, Sombiri and I had planned for Nigeria’s 45th Independence Day Celebration, but unfortunately, we couldn’t actualize it due to several setbacks. Sometime in late 2007, I remembered the buttons idea and since I was in Canada, I figured I could give it a shot. I had access to a lot of the resources we lacked then so I discussed starting up the business with my friend, but he had moved on into other things so I continued on my own. I researched buttons designing, the materials needed, the machinery, company registration etc. and began operation in January 2008.

3. Your educational background?
I attended ABC Nursery Land, Ilupeju, and then I transferred to St. Mary’s Private School, Agele. I had my secondary school education at Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. I attended Covenant University for a year, and then transferred to Houdegbe North American University, Republic of Benin and was there for 2 years. Finally, I transferred to Canada, through Southern Ontario College, Hamilton, Ontario to continue Medicine. I’m presently in my 3rd year of Health studies at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

4. Why did you choose business over a 9 to 5 job?
I never thought I had it in me, but a couple of things factored this decision. For one, I always never liked the idea of working for someone. One of my philosophies is: “Why use your brain to get paid a fraction of what you’re making for someone when you can use it to work and make money for you?”
The drive to pursue entrepreneurship was instilled into me at Covenant University through a compulsory course called Entrepreneurial Development Studies (E.D.S.).
When I decided to, an older friend encouraged me by saying, “with a job, you earn a certain amount every 30 days; with a career/owning a business, you make varying amounts almost daily”. Personally, I like the challenge of pushing myself and being my boss.

5. Was starting up easy?
No. It’s never easy and it wasn’t for me either. I had to become very thrifty and save painfully, but the commitment has paid off.

6. What challenges did you encounter?
I made a number of mistakes and bad decision, but in a nutshell, criticism, masked racism, near bankruptcy and self.

7. How did you combat these challenges?
I don’t think one can ever rid oneself of criticism. I actually like constructive criticism, i got a lot of it and it helped me improve my business. I listen to what everyone tells me, but not necessarily act on it though.
My father once told me, “people will always try to put their fingers in your business. Learn to know who’s being helpful and who’s not”.
I had a tough time proving myself as credible person as a young black man, and as a trustworthy person being a Nigerian (as we have a certain stereotype). I was turned down a lot because of this, but I pushed on and was unrelenting. Bankruptcy was partly due to bad early business decisions and self. I learnt good decisions the hard way and in time. As for self, I started living a lavishly expensive lifestyle after I made my first lump sum, but came to myself when I almost hit rock bottom. Now, by God’s grace, with more than I had then, I’m remain humble and the thriftiest businessman my age!

8. How did you source your start-up funds?
Simply saving and staking up for the rainy day. In my case, the rainy day eventually happened to be the start of Pearl Creations.

9. What are your achievements?
I have experience great growth in such a short time and I am thankful to God for that.
My achievements all started with being published in the Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario); that gave me an edge and some credibility.
As a result of that, I was registered as a/the Supplier of Button-Badges for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics; that gave me an early leverage and I was made Partner Supplier of Flag Badges (the National Buttons) for 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with a standing contract.
I recently became a certified member of the Vancouver 2010 Business Network. Presently, a Nominee for Business Owner of the Year Award in the Future Nigeria Awards 2010.
I have also worked with the Organizing committee of the Ontario Universities Competition of Hip Hop (O.U.C.H.) Dance Off in 2009. I partnered with The Legacy Festival for their 2009 Black History Month Event, with the Invisible Children for their annual Peace of Chic Fashion Show in 2009, with the University of Windsor African Union for the 2008 African Culture Show, and its Nigerian Students’ Association for the Nigerian 48th Independence Gala, with the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Erindale College African Students’ Association (E.C.A.S.A.) for Sync-Afrique 2009, with the McMaster African Students’ Association (M.A.S.A.) for Afro-Fest 2008 and 2009.
When I introduced the buttons in Nigeria in December 2008, I underestimated the reception. In January 2009, I was awarded a Contract, to supply the University of Lagos Engineering Faculty with Graduation Memorabilia/Souvenirs. The same month, practically became the unofficial Supplier of button-badges to, Covenant University. The Nigerian youth are presently our second largest market.

10. Any low points?
Of course! I experienced some rejections; and was going to shut down.
Even with the Olympics and winter Olympics, it wasn’t that easy. I had to write letters to and call different people, pitch ideas, give suggestions etc before I was accepted. I also had a couple of brilliant ideas of new movie-themed buttons that would probably accepted and purchased from Cinema Houses, but the proposals were rejected by McDonald’s, Warner Bros, Marvel and the likes over and over again. Most Cinema Houses actually liked the ideas though, but informed most of them too late. There was a big improvement with “the twilight saga: new moon” movie. I’m hoping it was the start of a beautiful partnership.

11. Apart from God, what else has been instrumental to the survival of your business?
Optimism, determination, my Parents and Sisters, my Partners- Alice and Levi; and some very special friends like Pelumi, Mobola, Toyosi, Teni, Doris, Adeola, Fade, Nnamdi, Kasope and others that rather stay anonymous.

12. Have you reached the point where you missed a regular, rewarding employment?
This epiphany powers me – why use your brain and get paid a fraction of what you’re making for someone else, when you could use it to work and make money for yourself. I haven’t missed a regular employment. I like that fact I have control, define my goals, set my limits and have freedom to do as I wish.s much as a try not to, there times where I have had to delay some certain orders because of clashing deadlines or amounts, but never missed or declined an order.

13. Have you reached the point where you declined an order?
As much as a try not to, there times where I have had to delay some certain orders because of clashing deadlines or amounts, but never missed or declined an order.

14. What inspired you to do this?
I guess a quest for independence, to make a mark, to encourage others, and a thirst for the unknown.

15. Has the business given you time for other personal things?
I’ve learnt t manage by time efficiently though in the beginning I had very little time for socializing because I was juggling school and business.

16. A word of inspiration for others starting up?
Well, number one, have faith and trust in God.
Keep your dream alive. Be optimistic. Believe in yourself and ability. Start small.
Develop the entrepreneurial eyes and open them to the numerous possibilities around.
Make sacrifices and use of every chance and opportunity to showcase yourself, you might never get a next time. Be friendly, socialize and introduce yourself you never know you will be meeting.
Use criticism as stepping blocks. See them as challenges to re-invent and improve yourself, image and business. The world is very competitive so make sure you always have the edge. Put your brain to work and keep coming up with new ideas and innovations.
Never ever give up on yourself. Remember, winners never quit, and quitters never win.

Link to the Original

That was it! I called my mum and asked her to buy a copy, but I believe she bought 3 or 4 copies lol. I love her!

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  1. Kayode Ehiwere
    January 26, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Guy, happy for you man.
    I saw it in the papers today…screamed when i saw it & my colleagues were looking like…

    nice one!

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  2. Anthonia A
    January 26, 2014 at 2:56 am

    My bro is a star!!!!!!!!!!

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  3. Rachel
    January 26, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Aaaw, Lush Lush, Yay you!!!!

    I enjoyed reading the first one (gidinoize) more though, but then I like gist lmao.
    But this is better sha…it’s professional and ish plus I like the picture they used.

    Next thing you know in a few years you’ll be featured in Forbes ”The World’s under 40 Billionaires”

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  4. Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Congrats!
    I’m proud of you

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  5. Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 at 2:59 am

    we are all proud of you
    your entire massive family

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  6. Ayo P
    January 26, 2014 at 2:59 am

    awwwww i’m proud of u

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  7. Isokan L.
    January 26, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Awwww…my dearest friend…m so proud of u.
    congrats dear!

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  8. Frank Osondu
    January 26, 2014 at 3:00 am

    thumbs up bro…

    Thursday, 21 January, 2010

  9. MMR
    January 26, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Very proud of you!

    Friday, 22 January, 2010

  10. Abis Segun
    January 26, 2014 at 3:02 am

    A very inspirational story.
    GREAT JOB NEXT.
    I see him going places. We need more articles like this.

    Friday, 22 January, 2010

  11. Desua
    January 26, 2014 at 3:03 am

    I’m so impressed with your achievements syl.
    This is the beginning of great things in your life.
    Keep it up and the good lord will see you through.
    Amen

    Friday, 22 January, 2010

  12. Mz. Dee
    January 26, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Still proud of you b!

    Friday, 22 January, 2010

  13. gift
    January 26, 2014 at 3:04 am

    nice one

    Saturday, 23 January, 2010

  14. Pelz
    January 26, 2014 at 3:05 am

    SLY-GUY!!!!

    Tuesday, 26 January, 2010

  15. Kasope
    January 26, 2014 at 3:05 am

    thumbs up bro

    Friday, 05 March, 2010

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