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inspitories xvii: lr

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Inspitories is my made up word for inspirational stories on young people I find interesting. They are usually interviews of other entrepreneurs, like myself, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, stumbled upon online, or dug up that motivate me. Enjoy and get inspired!

For most of middle school, I had a best friend. We were almost inseparable. For a while, both teachers and strangers alike thought we were twin brothers. After correcting numerous people countless times, we started claiming to be! I think that led him to coin Twin Raiders, which became a clique of four friends, with code names: Syber, Vesta, TJ, and Kere – Seyi, Sylvester, Tunji (his late cousin), and Samson respectively. Like most Sylvesters, my nickname evolved into Sly. His, however, stuck all through high school; still is even.

Though no longer best friends, we’ve have managed to keep in touch and remain friends for about twenty years now. We, however, still have a few things in common – penchant for watches, one sister, got just our moms now, movies/TV addiction – he’s probably the only person I know who watches more movies and TV shows than I do, and I watch over twenty every week lol; and surprise, surprise, business.

Seyi is a master salesman. He could probably sell beef to a cow. He started off selling watches while in college, and this year, I noticed he’d started car sales – he identified a niche (which he shared with me), and now, he’s not just selling them, he can’t hold on to them long enough!

I admire his drive and entrepreneurial spirit so much. When I thought of setting up shop in Nigeria, he’s one of the few people I met with to educate me on the terrain. Through his help, I opened up a Konga.com store for Pearl Kreations. No regrets. If like most people, you’re wondering how he’s getting by on watches [and cars] sales, trust me, he does fine! It’s my pleasure to profile the street-smart and tenacious Syber.

seyi-labinjo

Seyi Labinjo
Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer
Labson Renmax Company

Birth Name
Seyi Hafiz Labinjo

Age
30 (as of 2016)

Skill(s)/Talent(s)
Marketing

Art/Business Name
Labson Renmax Company

Business Profile


Labson Renmax Company is the parent company of LR Watches and LR Autos, which provide high-end timepieces, and new as well as certified pre-owned automobiles respectively, at affordable rates backed with great after sales service.

I started this
Small scale in August 2008 selling entry-level wristwatches to university students.

I’m driven by
My passion, from the onset, to provide products and services with the customers’ satisfaction being key.

Past Works/Portfolio

  • Merchant on Konga.com
  • Sales Analyst/Moderator on Nairaland.com (Autos Section)
  • Official Timepiece Stockist on Dikkos.com

Contact me

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imovie 2016

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m so excited for next year! There are literally tons of awesome movies coming out, but that means a lot of work at Pearl Kreations. We decided to continue with the collection strategy for the most anticipated movies for 2016. Everything set and there are twenty buttons! We’ve decided to group them into four collections:

Angry Birds Stars Collection

Posters - Angry Birds Stars CollectionIt features the faces of the three (3) stars of The Angry Birds Movie: Red, Chuck, and Bomb

DC UniVerse 2016 Collection

Posters - DC 2016 CollectionIt features five (5) emblems/logos from the two (2) blockbusters from DC Comics/Warner Bros for 2016: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Superman/Batman Merge (from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Suicide Squad (from Suicide Squad)

Fantasy 2016 Collection

Posters - Fantasy 2016 CollectionIt features four (4) emblems/logos from the three (3) blockbusters for 2016 originating from popular video games and novels: Alliance Crest and StormWind Crest (from WarCraft), Assassin Insigna (from Assassin’s Creed), and Ghost Busters (from Ghostbusters)

Marvel UniVerse 2016 Collection

Posters - Marvel 2016 CollectionIt features eight (8) emblems/logos from the five (5) blockbusters from Marvel for 2016: Captain America, Iron Man Mark V Arch Reactor, War Machine Arch Reactor, and Black Panther (from Captain America: Civil War), XMen (from X-Men: Apocalypse), Deadpool (from Deadpool), Eye of Agamotto (from Doctor Strange), and Spider Man (from Captain America: Civil War/Sinister Six).

Once again, we will be having “The May Special” – a one-time special offer for the month of May, but unlike last year where it ran from May 1st to May 10th, the collections will be sold at discounted prices online all through the month of May. The buttons will be available for purchase via our online gallery, Konga.com Store and SMEArena.com Store.

Get set to button up in 2016! 😀

Merry Christmas!

wave

May 26, 2015 Leave a comment

After discussing the possibility of a consulting partnership with Omasan O*, an ambitious gentleman I met in Abuja late last year, he told me to also consider working with an equally ambitious lady passionate about helping young people take charge of their destinies. He couldn’t say enough good things about her – she’s smart, went to ivy league schools, driven, and so on. My interest was piqued. I looked her up, and indeed, Misan Rewane is all he said and more. Her vision – West African Vocational Education (WAVE) Academies – is to train West African youths in relevant vocational skills and empower them to gain and maintain employ-ability, place them in suitable, stable jobs with its employer partners, and support them through monthly workshops and mentorship.

I’m also passionate – about helping people start viable business ventures, business ventures that, in due time, will create employment for others. So, Omasan thought our passions intersected at some point, and I agreed. On that note, I sent her an introductory message on Facebook. I told her about Herança Financial, our offerings like entrepreneurship coaching, supervisory training, and so on. I told her I recently returned to provide similar services to Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs. She responded favorably in a timely fashion, and got me in touch with her associate, Folakemi O*, who connected me with Morinola O* and Modupe A*. I explained my angle to them – there might be a few students every batch, if not all, that would benefit from a crash course in small business management, and there might be those who don’t want a job and would much rather be in business for themselves, or have a long-term goal of being self-employed. They agreed, and even suggested an alternative where WAVE could offer a special course in entrepreneurship development/training for youths considering starting their own business.

Anyway, long story short, I gave my first lecture at WAVE yesterday. I used my usual Entrepreneurship 101 format. It was fun. The students, or trainees (as they are called) were attentive and had a lot of questions too. Modupe A* had a few of them share what they learnt when I was done, and I was very pleased to know that it all sunk in.

250515

Afterwards, I finally got to meet with Misan in the flesh. She definitely is passionate about solving unemployment in West Africa. From all I saw firsthand, and all she told me, as startups go, they’re definitely not doing badly; especially for a not-for-profit. However, they have a long way to go, and they require more funding – preferably in form of grants – to get there. They (Misan Rewane, Karan Chopra, Bryan Mezue, and Navid Rahimi) were initially able to start by winning a grant through the Harvard Business School (HBS) New Venture Competition – Social Enterprise Track. Now, they also generate funds themselves – from tuition fees (currently ₦10,000.00 NGN), and job placement commissions (one-third of first month salary), but primarily from the job placement of the trainees; essentially, they don’t get paid if their graduates don’t get placed. That’s what I call commitment.

Wave Infographic

Naturally, being Nigerian, the project started here in August 2013 with 12 trainees. It has since grown – 128 trainees (on a budget of $125,288.00 USD) between 2013 and 2014. They’re focused on 500 trainees by the end of this year (on a budget of $410,000.00 USD), and the goal is 25,000 trainees (on a budget of $1,040,000.00 USD) every year from WAVE centers all over West Africa by 2019!

Over the past year, not only have they been able to secure a training center in Lagos, Nigeria – WAVE Hospitality Academy, 3 Spencer Street, Alagomeji, Yaba, under Misan’s leadership, they have also been able to partner with 55 employers and achieve a 70% successful job placement rate for their graduates – 156 of them have been able to double their income; now earning $200.00 USD (about ₦43,000.00 NGN) monthly. Come August 12th, WAVE Academies will be two years old, and moving to a new office site! It is still in Alagomeji, Yaba, but at 51 Hughes Avenue, off Herbert Macaulay Road. Oh, and did I mention they have been nominated for the UN Impact Sourcing Award?! It is a big deal, so please take a moment to vote for West African Vocational Education (WAVE) via link. Show our very own some love.

By the way, if you’re reading this, and would like to enroll for their 3-week training program, please click. You can also get in touch with them by calling +234-1-291-6586 / +234-817-723-6025, or visiting waveacademies.org.

I have no doubt that in no time, with continued support from organizations like, Agora Fund, Berke, Box.org, Cordes Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Echoing Green, LinkedIn for Good, Salesforce Foundation, and private individuals, like me and you, WAVE Academies is going to be an even bigger success story – changing the lives of the over 50 million unemployed and underemployed youths – not only in Nigeria, but in Benin, Niger, Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Cape Verde 🙂

imovie 2015

March 24, 2015 Leave a comment

This year at Pearl Kreations, we had the public decide which of this year’s most anticipated movies would be in our 2015 movie collection. The response was phenomenal. Thanks to everyone who participated; it was very encouraging. So, without further ado, here are the 2015 blockbuster buttons:

2015

  • Sponge Out Of Water – Friday, February 6th
  • The Avengers 2: The Age Of Ultron – Friday, May 1st
  • Jurassic World – Friday, June 12th
  • Minions – Friday, June 26th
  • Fantastic Four – Friday, August 7th
  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Friday, December 18th

 

We’re planning a one-time special offer for the month of May which we’re calling “The May Special”. You’ll be able to pre-order the entire collection between May 1st and May 10th via email. It will be sold at a discounted price, and deliveries will be made on or before May 28th.

 

After the special ends, following the new arrangement we started in 2014, the buttons will be individually released in our online gallery and the online stores on the dates the movies premiere (in Canada) as listed above.

 

Button up! 🙂

mentorship

April 14, 2014 Leave a comment

In my opinion, mentorship is vital for seamless progress in life. Likewise, it can be fundamental for the advancement of any business. Mentors, the way I see it, are people who are already where you aspire to be, or have been where you are today. Mentors inspire.

mentorship

You can either admire them from a far, or meet them in person. Personally, I believe if the opportunity ever presents itself, getting to know them personally is always best. The wealth of knowledge they have to share from their numerous experiences is invaluable. Sometimes, even more valuable than one could ever learn in a classroom or business program. I know this because I’m learning a lot from mine.

Another thing I’ve come to realise is, drawing from their pool of knowledge can be free! Quite a number of successful business people love to share their escapades and stories with anyone who’d care to listen. Some do it to gloat, others share for the benefit of others. Those in the second group are usually the ones I subscribe to.

Like most people, more than a few of my mentors are on the Forbes billionaires list, which makes them physically inaccessible to me at the moment. That’s where their biographies and books come in handy. I know books can be pricey, so before you groan, you can watch clips and full biographies on YouTube. You can even read brief biographies on biography.com and host of other credible sites. Before I started buying books, that’s how I discovered and learnt about my mentors. However, in my experience, books tend to have a couple “secret” stories only readers may discover. It may not seem like it at the time, but books are a valuable investment. Readers are leaders. If like me, you’re not a fan of hard copies, there’s amazon.com and kobobooks.com, and I believe both have their apps for Android, BlackBerry and iOS. I have a Kobo Books account and the app on my playbook. There’s also audible.com for those who prefer to listen than read.

Nothing beats personal touch though. I stated that earlier that more than a few of my mentors are on currently inaccessible, not all. I make sure I have at least one person I can meet for business advice wherever I am. How do I go about it? It’s easy. Just walk up to the person and ask politely, not failing to mention why in the first place. It has always worked for me. I have asked friends who have highly successful entrepreneurs as fathers to introduce me, and I’d ask them for their mentorship. Other times, I just walk up to someone I admire, and just strike up a conversation, all in a bid for words of wisdom. Now my accessible mentors range from fathers of friends to complete strangers.

Here’s another thing – not only can they give you tips, lend you some assistance, and grant you access to their contacts, but they help you avoid mistakes they’ve made. For me, that’s huge! I’m a strong believer in the adage that goes something like – a good man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

If you don’t have one or two you can physically access, give it a shot. Humble yourself and ask for guidance. You’ve got nothing to lose, but so much to gain.

imovie 2014

February 1, 2014 1 comment

Pearl Kreations is back in business!

By, the way, I’ve decided to cut prices down to $2.00CAD/button for buttons in stock, but custom orders will remain $2.50CAD/button.

Okay, without further delay, we have twelve new buttons for some of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014! Unlike previous years where the buttons went on sale about a week before the movies premiered, this year, the buttons will be released the dates the movies premiere (in Canada). You can however pre-order online, and your button(s) will ship out as soon as the date(s) for the movie(s) arrive(s).

Posters - Movie Collection (2014)

RoboCop: Wednesday, February 12

Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Friday, March 7

Muppets Most Wanted: Friday, March 21

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Friday, April 4

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Friday, May 2

Godzilla: Friday, May 16

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Friday, May 23

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction: Friday, June 27

Guardians of the Galaxy: Friday, August 1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Friday, August 8

The Expendables 3: Friday, August 15

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: Friday, November 21

The official promotional video for these new movie buttons was developed once again by our very own, Spinners Inc. It can be viewed on the The SKA Group’s YouTube Channel via link.

All buttons will be available in the online store, as usual, for purchase 🙂

reboot

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Last month, I decided to put a halt on some of my businesses for a month or two. I wanted to take a step back, and see if there’s something I may need to change. I’ve been running the same programs, and making little changes based on what I wanted or was advised to, as opposed to also taking into consideration the suggestions of the customers. I decided to have a rethink of everything – customer service, products/services, websites and so on. In the end, I made a couple changes to The SKA Group, Pearl Kreations, CollegeTix and Datlik.

For The SKA Group, ever since I envisioned it, I’ve described as a mammoth. I realize now that my description have been grandiose. I’m leaning towards a more humble profile which will be revealed in September under ska redefined 2013. It’s profile also mentioned it is headquartered in Canada. I chose Canada because the vision was conceived here, and well, also because I live here. Recently, I’ve been considering Nigeria, Brazil, and even Togo as well, for sentimental reasons. Either way, I’ll need to make a decision on the headquarter(s) soon. While I decide, I’ve closed down the website. It was nice to have it. I drew inspiration from it, got to picture everything as I would love it, and sort of gave life to something that has been in my head. It even inspired a few friends to dream big as well :). I can’t wait to have the revamped version back up soon.

Pearl Kreations was my first baby, and now, it is this collectibles manufacturing company which deals in the production of button-badges and lapel pins for a variety of events and purposes. Everything is fine, except for the lapel pins part. We went to compete in that market to increase revenue, and we did, but I don’t like the product, at all. I love buttons. I love designing and I love making them. Once business resumes, we are scraping lapel pins and sticking to buttons, which is what we are famous for. The website was also closed down for an upgrade in order to streamline the business, and accommodate online shopping and payments.

Sylver Productions is my version of a think tank. It is an innovative firm which provides unique products and services. We started with Citymail™, the in-city specialty courier service, and then developed CollegeTix™, the premier online event management platform exclusively designed for college and university events, Datlik™, the proofreading service for articles, essays, projects, webpages and more, and lastly, Wefyl™, the electronic document filing/management service. Business was good, but I didn’t like that the products weren’t getting the most recognition, the company was. I mean it’s cool the company was, but the services needed the most recognition. For example, with CollegeTix, I would hear people say things like,”I got my tickets from sylverpro.com” or “Can we use sylverpro.com for our ticket sales?” instead of CollegeTix. Datlik also had a brand recognition problem. The company is more popular than its services. I’ve been thinking, may be that issue arose from the fact that the services were sub-links; that is, collegetix.sylverpro.com and datlik.sylverpro.com. Another issue I’ve been having is I think their names aren’t catchy enough for the target demographic (college students). I’m playing around with a few “cool”, new names at the moment. There will be a new post when I’ve made a decision, or in case I need to take a survey. Needless to say, those sites are also down until further notice.

I guessed some people may have wondered where PK, SP, and possibly SKA were, so I figured I’d tell; it’s the least I could do, while they’re being rebooted. They’ll be back on soon, so stay tuned! Ciao.