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firsts

May 29, 2010 1 comment

It is my 23rd birthday today. I took a professional photograph over month ago, and it arrived yesterday. I guess it is a gift to myself. I watched the trailer for The Adjustment Bureau yesterday and it seems to me that the message behind the movie is essentially – Life is simply a compilation of the series of events we individually experience. I was basically just sitting and reminiscing on my life thus far, and thinking “wow! time flies!”. I decided to take a trip down memory’s lane and remember all my firsts experiences, ahem, business-wise. This should be fun!

My first Button was a National Button.Basically because they were all I initially planned to do. It was the market demand that made me go into the All-Me Buttons. Anyway, it was a Nigeria National Button as is understandable. When I held it in my hand, there was this rush of accomplishment that filled me. I put it on my t-shirt and immediately took a photo!

My first Sale was the next day to a friend, Tega O*. Well, I practically forced the button on her lol, and then, on Pelumi A*. It was only Nigerian buttons then, because I hadn’t begun to network. I wanted to start building my sales confidence, and I started with people I could easily relate to. I think I made $14.00 in my first week!

My first Contract was kind of informal. It was for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. We partnered with a bigger company because of the minute size of my company in relation to the size of the others. The more official one was for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games for which I got a Certificate of Membership from the 2010 Business Network, an official letter from the Provincial Government of British Columbia and an official lapel pin.

My first Event was when I was still coming up. It was AfroFest 2008 at the Hamilton Convention Centre. AfroFest is an annual multicultural Africa-themed event organized by the McMaster African Students’ Association (MASA). That event fetched me and the company a lot more student popularity! I was so happy making sales lol. The first more public one was the Tiara Festival. You can read more about it via link. The other events were when I had gotten more serious as a businessman ;-). The first of which was at an event in Windsor, Ontario.  You can read more about it at: You can read more about it via link.

My first Speech was on Saturday, March 28th, 2009 at the AfroFest 2009/Hands of War/Mikono Za Vita. We about half an hour allocated for the acknowledgment of student entrepreneurs. I was the MASA secretary, and therefore in charge of preparing the program and allotting time for the different segments. The entrepreneur thing wasn’t my idea though! I was actually shocked to see it in the program the President, Nnamdi N* handed to me. The entrepreneurs were Amal Awadh of Um-Aisha Orphanage, Sylvester Kay-Adade of Pearl Creations, Poize Magazine, and Olumide Adewunmi of Gidilounge. I was doing a lot of running around making sure the show went on without a hitch, and simultaneously organizing a speech in my head. Finally when the hour arrived, I went up confidently on to the very brightly lit stage to introduce myself and Pearl Creations. I spoke about where I come from, Pearl Creations, some my personal experiences and some events we have been privileged to sponsor and partner with. I was nervous and perspiring profusely! A friend in a front seat said he could see the sweat rolling down to my cheeks! I got laughs a couple of times from the audience which helped me calm down. I ended by announcing, “For the purpose of this show, we have buttons every African culture and our stand is in the back so please feel free to come, have a look and possibly buy one or two. Thank you”.
It’s all kind of blurry after that. I do know I felt a lot better later on, probably after I had the chance to cool off and wipe all the sweat off my face lol. I got a lot of positive feedback during & after the show about the speech, and even a couple of days after. Also got a couple of physical & oral pats of the back from friends, admirers and parents. Oh and as usual, business & partnership proposals from other students and entrepreneurs.

Well, I think those all my firsts…for now. I hope to have a lot more sales, attend a lot of events (national & international) and give a lot more speeches soon! Umm since it’s my birthday, I thought I’d also add some things (pluses) that I’m thankful for; and things I’m juggling in my mind.

Very recently, help came in the form of more partnerships and business offers – not too long after “complaining” in a post a while ago. I got some impressive offers this time though…thank goodness! Some being:
-> A friend wants to invest towards the next Olympics.
-> Another wants to help advertise in bigger cities.
-> Two people brought forward the same business idea which I think might be Pearl Creations’ new venture because I’ve thought of it too. But first, I want to figure out who’s the more serious of the two and hopefully go into partnership with him. When it does come out, everyone would be made aware.

Another night, I came across a group of people brainstorming over a business venture. I joined in as was expected, but for privacy purposes, I won’t disclose zip, but I will say this – the venture seems like a pretty good idea. However, it is capital-intensive and requires some labor as well. It seems to me that this venture will have a fixed consumer base almost as soon as it hits the market. It is a risk, but if you don’t take risks, you’ll never really know. We’re going to give it a shot very soon…watch out.

I’m also thinking of expanding some more. The dealership and partnership idea is working, but I want to give more people opportunities. I’m still thinking on how to get more people with great button ideas involved without the PCC-ideology ‘cuz I want something that attracts/helps people, but also profits Pearl Kreations as well. After all, it is a business!

I’ve started paying salaries. Before now, people used to work for free, but I’ve noticed that now, with money as an incentive, they do a much better job! Plus the sales people are more aggressive lol!

That’s it! I don’t want to spend the whole day worked up in front of a computer screen. It’s a shame I have nothing planned. Well I didn’t plan because I’m not exactly thrilled, but I hope somehow I enjoy my day! After today, I’ve got to get back to work because Pearl Kreations has over a 1000 buttons order that need to be delivered in about two weeks!

Happy Birthday to me! Yay! Lol

legacy fest

March 2, 2009 Leave a comment

On the eve of January 31st, I came across an event on Facebook tagged: The Legacy Festival: Black History Month 2009. I read through the description of the event and I was intrigued by the depth of thought that seemed had been invested into the Festival’s preparation. It was all organized by a Gentleman named Robert Small. I presumed he was an Artist because I saw artwork in some photos publicizing the event. I also visited his website to see more and I realized his organization was a big deal.

Remembering my FIFA 2010 experience with the Licensing Company, I was skeptical about approaching him, but I went ahead with it. I planned to suggest National Buttons, but while there on the website, I noticed a beautiful design. It was maple leaf with the 3 colors (which stood for each of the TLF weeks); and then it hit me- this would make for really cool memorabilia for this event!

After I found an email address, I sent an email pitching my idea. God willing, he liked it and replied. He said his wife has even told him to do buttons ages ago, but he never got around to it. So we talked and discussed over the next couple of days over the design, quotes and discounts. I emailed him the design and he approved! I also emailed him the picture of a sample:

Finally, we agreed I would come on the night of the final event (Saturday, February 28th) with 30 buttons and he’d pay for those. If after giving them out, people liked them, then next year, he’ll do about a 1000 Buttons! Unfortunately, I forgot that there was also a Black History Event organized by the McMaster African Students’ Association (MASA) for that day. I couldn’t miss it because I was scheduled to sell buttons at the event, as the Secretary of the Club, I had to be present; and the event it was my suggestion. Until then, MASA had never held a Black History Month Event ever.

The day came, I made plans to stay till the end of the MASA event and then leave for the Toronto as soon as it was over; and I did just that.

I actually learnt a lot from our event; especially from the movie we watched: 500 Years Later. It was educational and very insightful. I met some notable interesting people too:
– Grant DaCosta, a Sudanese drummer and musical instructor. He bought a Sudan national buttons and took my card; and then also got a contract from him…I spill more on that if it does happen.
– Klyde Broox, an entertaining and brilliant Jamaican dub poet. I look out for his book: “My best Friend is White”.
– Kaesan, a young and talented Ghanaian Guitarist.
– And a host of other people from SISO Hamilton and other McMaster University Groups.

It end at 9:00pm so I caught the 10:00pm GO-Bus to Toronto. I got to Union Station at about 10:45pm and took the subway to Cumberland. After getting unto the street, I went in the opposite direction for about 20 minutes; and then had to go all the way back. Eventually, I got to the venue at about 12:30am! After relaxing, I had a couple of drinks and waited for Robert to arrive.

When we finally met at about 2:00am! I was so happy when we did because I had almost decided to leave. After meeting him, we talked some more business, he told about some of his early entrepreneurship activities, he paid for the buttons and introduced me to his lovely wife.

All in all, it was pretty good first black history month for Pearl Creations and I!
If there’s anything I learnt, it’s to be bold and not afraid to put oneself out there!

her 48th

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Preparing for the first Nigerian independence that Pearl Creations was going to be a part of was tough. The buttons had to be peculiar, attractive, different and something that had never been since so they could be impressive and fun! Eventually, we came up with 5 designs. They were so nice, I couldn’t wait to display them asap! The designs were the Nigerian national button design, and 4 all-me button designs:

1. iRep Nigeria (1): written in black with the Nigerian coat of arms on a white background.

2. iRep Nigeria (2): a design gotten off facebook…which was later discovered to have been designed by a fellow young entrepreneur for his line of t-shirts.

3. Proudly Nigerian: written in white on a black background with the Nigeria map in the center in the Nigerian flag colors- green, white, green.

4. Straight up Nigerian: the Nigerian flag in the center of the button with a virtual mean look in it and “straight up” written in the upper left corner of the flag and “Nigerian” written in the lower right corner.

When they were all ready, I decided to make it a sale after all Nigerians were the majority of the clientele. All-me buttons are usually $2.50CAD, so I decided to make them all $2.00CAD. Since there were five (5) button designs, to pep it up a bit, I decided to do a three (3) for $5.00CAD sale as well…which is a good deal anytime; and no one passes of a good deal!

Next, was on how to advertise and inform? Emails were sent out to all existing customers, messages were sent out to facebook members in both the all-me and national buttons groups, and finally, as a last resort, a poster was made.

The next decision to make was where to place the posters and flyers. I started by sending the posters to friends in other schools with an impressive Nigerian student body and/or population. I sent a poster to my younger sister in Covenant University. Having already spent a year there, I know they support entrepreneurship. I also contacted the presidents and creators of as many Nigerian groups as I could find on facebook. Finally, I glued posters in some of the bus stop sheds at night…cuz I was too shy to do it in the day! lol.

I did all this mid-September. After a reasonable couple of days (about a week), I started panicking when we didn’t get any orders! But, the following week, it was like a prank was played on me cuz tons of orders came in. It was awesome. I also got replies from a few Nigerian groups. One of which gladly gave me a table at a dinner/cultural show they had planned for the occasion. I was thrilled!

So buttons ready, all packed and with my business face on, I headed for Windsor, ON which was where I was invited to sell the Nigerian buttons. It eventually paid off. Apart from selling out, I also met a lot of other entrepreneurs who encouraged and loved the buttons concept. A particular one, Kanmi O* runs Konfirmed Clothing. What he does is make t-shirts with popular Nigerian slangs printed on them. He actually designed the emblem I used for the last button on the poster! And I found it randomly in a friend’s album on facebook. Small world! Luckily, he didn’t sue me. He even helped me sell buttons alongside a close friend of mine, Petra O*. Their competition was who could sell the most buttons in 5 minutes. I can’t remember who won, but it was nice to get extra help! lol.

A lot people didn’t bring money along so they couldn’t buy :-(, but I came prepared! Remember, this happened at the Tiara Festival? And I lost those people because I didn’t have…business cards! Well it didn’t happen again, because this time, I came with a ton (an exaggeration) of them.

I displayed them of the table alongside the button so those who didn’t come along with money, took business cards and ordered later!

All in all, it was great experience…looking forward to 2009 and beyond!

are you?

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Shortly after my moment of fame being in the local newspaper and all, I started putting buttons on my hoodies, t-shirts and later, on my School bag. I started with only the National Buttons. I put Nigeria, Canada and flags of countries whose nationals were quite a lot in Hamilton. For example, China, Italy, Kenya, Scotland, Somalia and Sudan.

One day, on my way to school, I boarded a bus and sat down. Since I hardly take my school bad off, the man behind trying to get my attention snapped my bag. I turned around and then he asked me if I was a Nigerian. Puzzled, I said yes and then he smiled. He said the reason he asked was cuz of the Nigeria button on my bag and then I smiled. He asked where I got it. And of course, i told him I made them. He asked how much I sold them. i told him $2.00CAD for the flag buttons. He asked if I had I think 5 or so. As God would have it, I did! Well, I did…including the one on my hoodie and bag respectively. I gave them to him and gave me $10.00CAD. He told me his name and said he was from the Niger-Delta Region; and I told him I was from Lagos. We shook hands and I had to bolt off to School. Because of that day, they’re still on my school bag still date along with some All-Me Buttons which attracts teenagers.

Another day, I sent to my bank to cash a cheque. When I got to the counter, I reached into my bag to get the cheque when the lady at the counter asked if I was Mr. Buttons. I was surprised and I said yes. And she was like wow! Great idea and then told the remaining tellers about me, the buttons and reminder them about the newspaper article. I was so shy and honored lol. Sadly, I didn’t have Switzerland buttons so no sales. I made Switzerland buttons after that, but I haven’t seen the lady since then. And now, even if I did, I wouldn’t recognize her 😦

As business progressed, I got another bag, a black Messenger bag, to use for carrying packages for delivery. 


In the beginning, I had just one or two buttons, but now, it’s packed with so many buttons, it’s ridiculous. I call it my Buttoned Messenger Bag.

Anyway, so I’m on the bus to school and some guy, a student as well, asks if me all the buttons on my bag are countries I have been to, I laughed and said no. He asked what countries they were and I told him. Then he gave me a free one that was like 2 inches. It said something about anti-racism, but it was cool. He didn’t know who I was, but said he would be calling me ‘Mr.Buttons’. What a coincidence! lol!

pc intro

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

This is a long overdue formal introduction lol. This is my business – Pearl Creations. I make button-badges, and soon, I’ll be moving into magnetic lapel pins as well. It began in my second semester at McMaster University in January, 2008. I started it as the creative arm of the umbrella company I hope to set up one day. Production began on January 28th, 2008 with the All-Me Buttons® and the National Buttons®. Thw All-Me are the customized badges, and the National are flag badges. The soon to come additions are Print-On Mag*Lapels® and Stamp-On Mag*Lapels®, the lapel pins.

The motto which is Creativity Beyond Measure, speaks volumes for itself. The vision is to help people and organizations express themselves in a variety of ways. Its philosophy is to always give people the best of what they deserve and how they deserve it. This way, both get nothing, but satisfaction and fulfillment. I view Pearl Creations is an organization with a noble mission, not just a commercial entity. It has a mission to help restore peace, patriotism, love and a sense of brotherhood all across the globe in a way as simple as a button! Hence, the initial use of an organization web domain (.org) and not a commercial web domain (.com). It supports anything evolving around creativity and innovation; and strives for perfection in all things. It is not rigid. In fact, it is open to anything new and different. It aims to please and thrives to always make everything about you, the customer.

It aims to provide the following services through its creations:

Ø Boosting the desire for customization of goods.
Ø Bringing imaginations to life.
Ø Creation of an avenue for individuals to show support for distressed and warn-torn countries.
Ø Effective Advertising and Marketing of Companies, goods and services.
Ø Promotions and Campaigns.
Ø Promotion of world peace.
Ø Provision of Buttons for special occasions, holidays and international events.
Ø Provision National Buttons to Embassies worldwide for National days.
Ø Restoration of a strong sense of patriotism through the National Buttons.

Since conception, it has received patronage for Canada, United States, Morocco, Nigeria, Benin, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom. By God’s grace, since August, Pearl Creations has been a member of the Vancouver 2010 Business Community and official button-badges supplier for the 2010 Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games.

To contact Pearl Creations, please send an email to mr.buttons@live.ca, write on the wall on any of the facebook groups: Pearl Creations, All-Me Buttons and National Buttons, or visit pearlcreations.org.