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Posts Tagged ‘Pearl Kreations’

think

March 28, 2020 1 comment

Pensive

Why are you in Nigeria?

I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count. My answer is usually the same – I have some ventures I’m looking to explore. Sometimes, there are looks of confusion, heavy sighs, or just good old-fashioned disbelief and head-shaking. But, I understand. Someone moving to Nigeria from Canada, at time when people are leaving Nigeria for Canada in droves, is puzzling. I guess my “interviewers” are wondering whether I know something they do not. Maybe I do.

I lived in Canada for eight years, and within that period, started three different businesses there that did fairly well (most popularly, Pearl Kreations) before I moved back. I came here to set Nigerian subsidiaries and explore other possibilities. I did I come with a mindset to introduce new concepts, disrupt/turn things around and rake in millions? Absolutely. Have I been humbled? Most definitely. Have I done well? Yet to be determined. I’m joking; by God’s grace, I’m doing well. However, here’s what I’ve realized about entrepreneurship in the Nigerian economy – there readily is no reward or support for competence, effort and ingenuity. The system largely favors those with access to power/political connections and rewards them with highly lucrative government contracts and ridiculous grants. Vusi Thembekwayo put it this way – if you look at how the top 25 wealthiest and most celebrated people in your country made their wealth, you can easily determine the type of economy you live in. Did the top 25 wealthiest Nigerians all build their businesses from the ground up (without backdoor deals and government favors)? You decide.

Of course, there are/will be exceptions to the rule, and certainly, you can live comfortably as an entrepreneur, especially if you’re a professional, like an accountant or architect. Anything other than those, would be tough, but not impossible. However, real wealth may elude you. As you may have concluded, there are very few entrepreneurs in this country who have built substantial wealth without connections or government contracts/favors. That says a lot about our business environment. This is particularly disappointing for me because a little over ten years ago, I had a totally different experience.

After running my first business for about a year, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I noticed there were vendors for all manners of merchandises, but no one selling button-badges (which was my product). I saw that opportunity and applied. I got a response requesting for, what then seemed like, all sorts of random documents. I can assume now, in actuality, they were probably things like business registration documents, bank statements and so on. I replied the email stating that I was a freshman at McMaster University, had started a small business, saw an opportunity and decided to take it; I had none of the documents requested of me. A few days later, I was approved! I got sent all the documents verifying my business community membership by mail, and a congratulatory email as well. Just like that, I got in. No connections; except God, of course.

Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, and in recent years, it seems Nigeria has caught on. Things are still a little dodgy, with hints of favoritism here and there, but improving. I’m thrilled that with the impending COVID19 lockdown, so many people have gotten fired up to start a venture of their own, either to complement their income, or in transition from former employment. Whatever the reason, the best time to start is now.

However, in my experience, a lot of Nigerian SMEs aren’t equipped to take advantage of the new business environment and emerging opportunities. They are simply not very creative in their quests for business opportunities. They’re not entrepreneurial. I’ve discovered that what most people get into, and aspire to go into, once they have some capital is trading – purchase and resale of goods – and this makes them traders, not entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur is a word that has become so loosely used, people think it’s a synonym for business owner. The fact is, not every business person is an entrepreneur. By the way, with the way things are going, except you’re selling foodstuff or hygiene essentials, you’re in the wrong business (as a trader).

The truth is, people pay for solutions, and entrepreneurs are solution providers.

Entrepreneurs create products and/or services that meet the needs of people for a profit. Entrepreneurs meet needs and get paid for it.

If you really want to be successful and wealthy, as an entrepreneur, you need to solve problems.

We tend to think too small here in Africa. The average entrepreneur is scared to be ambitious. Rather than thrive, they’re content with surviving. Well, I won’t stand for it. I’m incredibly passionate about small business, and for the past three years, have devoted most of my time into Herança Financial, the venture through which I work with/help budding entrepreneurs start, grow and manage their businesses. Coupled with my personal experiences, I’m somewhat of an expert in business (humble brag). So, with current state of the nation and the shape of the economy, I think now is as good a time as any, to share my knowledge and expertise with a greater number of people, and help them start the right way and avoid the unnecessary hardships that ignorance tends to lead.

First of all, I’ll reiterate. An entrepreneur identifies a need and works towards satisfying it, or works towards improving upon an already existing product/service, or creates demand for a product/service of value i.e. creates a need and provides the solution. The provision of the solution brings the reward – money. The bigger the problem, the bigger the reward for its solution.

Once you have a solution, please ensure the product or service has a Unique Selling Point (USP). A USP is the mark of distinction of any business. It can also be referred to as your value proposition. In all likelihood, your company won’t be the only one offering that product/service (at least, not for long), so it’s important to have either a feature, advantage or benefit that’ll separate your business from current and prospective competition. Without a USP, you won’t stand out. Please note, lower price is not a good strategy for a small business; it’s just not sustainable.

Next, identify your target market. Never make the mistake of assuming your product or services will appeal to everyone. You’re dreaming. However, your target customers will want and appreciate your products or services. They can be grouped into primary, secondary and invisible; I’ll explain later. Just know that they are the persons or businesses with the highest probability of buying your products or services. Once, you’ve identified them, profile them. Your profile should include their locations, spending habits, hobbies, and age group. These will help you know how much they would be willing to spend on your product/service and the best way to reach them. I like using Indomie Noodles as an example. Their target market isn’t everyone, it’s children. Children are their primary target market. That’s why their ads are so playful and colorful; why they invented “The Indomitables” (Superheroes) figurines and stickers; why their ads are on television and radio, not Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (most children are not on social media). They have bigger sizes (like Hungry Man and Belleful) for adults, their secondary target market.

With the proper identification of your target customers, you need know your competition. Your competition is the person or business who offers the same products/services or benefits (as perceived by your target customers). They can be grouped into direct, indirect and invisible. Direct competition are those that offer the same products/services you do; for example, Coke and Pepsi. Indirect competition are those that offer the same benefits; for example, Domino’s Pizza and KFC – different products but same benefit (fast food). Invisible competition are those you didn’t consider. They usually the bigger players that have the capacity [and potential desire (especially if you’re successful)] to offer the same product/services or benefits as you. By understanding your competition, you gain competitive intelligence. Competitive Intelligence is the process of learning, collecting/gathering and using information about your competition for the purpose of growing your own business. It helps you to keep improving upon or redefining your business model, so you’re not easily surpassed.

I’m sure I’ve given you more than enough to think about, so I’ll stop here.

The first step is to sit down and think! Find a need, preferably in an area you’re passionate about. Ask God to reveal the solution to you, and provide you with the means to execute it. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about the idea, but the execution of the plan. And as you execute, remember, please think globally. Find the application of the solution not just within your locale, but regionally and worldwide. The world is bigger than Nigeria.

All the best!

destiny

October 4, 2019 1 comment

That’s me at age 5. I still have that calm demeanor till this day. On this day, my mom got me and my 1 year old sister all dressed up to take some professional pictures at a studio. People kept gushing. “Aww you look so smart and calm; you should be a doctor, it will fit/suit you”. I heard that, a lot, growing up, actually.

Eventually, in school, I started writing in essays that I wanted to be a doctor when I grow up. And, of course, my parents were very supportive. I remember when I was about 7, my mom got me a yellow toy doctor’s bag – complete with a stethoscope, sphyg, otoscope and reflex hammer. The following year, I made colored bandages and wipes during an art class. At 10, my dad got my sister and I the “Operation Game”. It’s a fun board game that mimicked the operation table of a surgeon. The objective was to remove various organs without “harming” the patient.

Over the next 3 years, I got lost. I wanted to be a scientist 👨🏽‍🔬 at a point. Back then, after Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel was my jam. Then, I wanted to be a zoologist because I loved learning/reading about animals. There was no animal I hadn’t memorized. To all these, my mom just shook her head. It was when I told her I wanted to be a philosopher or psychologist that she set me straight – neither of those was going to happen. She suggested being a Chemical Engineer, like one of her brothers. She said they made good money, especially those that worked for oil companies. As a teenager, she had me at “good money”. It was settled. I was going to be an Engineer 👷.

Unfortunately, based on my JSCE result, the Guidance & Counseling Department placed me in the science class for those medically-inclined. I was so upset and wouldn’t have it. I went over there I asked to be put in engineering instead. It took me 2 years of bordering on failing Further Maths and hating Physics to realize that maybe Engineering wasn’t my calling. My brain just couldn’t do abstract.

One night at 16, while home, happily studying for a Biology test, I thought, “What about Medicine?”. I went to my parents’ room to discuss my new career choice. They both happily approved. Whew! No more further maths! Dr Adade loading 👨🏽‍⚕️.

For college, I applied to University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, University of Ghana, and Covenant University. I only got accepted by Covenant University, and for Computer Science. I didn’t mind. I was comfortable pursuing Medicine as a second degree, plus I liked computers. Until I learned Computer Science is AKA Software Engineering. I was like hell no. I’m not doing this. Everyone tried to calm me. I was like no, I’m not going though hell for 4 years. I wished just I chose psychology 😄.

After a year of Computer Science, I got into Houdegbe North American University to study Medicine! Yay! I loved it and I excelled. Unfortunately, the school had one too many challenges with the Nigerian Medical Board, so I had to leave, but I made a friend there who shared a business idea I wouldn’t remember for 3 years.

I was rerouted to Canada. By then, I had decided to be an oncologist. I was 19. By the time the roadmap there was drawn up for me, it was going to take me 12 years! I’d have just become an oncologist a few months ago, if I went ahead. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t have a Plan B. To make matters worse, some ex-classmates were going for NYSC, and there I was, just starting all over again. My mom kept telling me “It’s not how long, but how well”.

I decided, if I’m going to have to do a first degree before I can study Medicine, I might as well choose a course I think I’d enjoy. So, I choose Psychology😄! September 2007, at 20, I started my first year a McMaster University. Turns out Psychology wasn’t what I’d imagined. I seemed to enjoy a course called Health Studies a little more, so I started gravitating towards it by January, especially since I aced it effortlessly.

Thankfully, everything changed for me that month. One night, I suddenly remembered the business idea from 2005. I was never business inclined, so my thought was to help my friend, since I had easier access to the materials need, but he had moved on. For some reason, I couldn’t let it go. That’s what’s led to the Pearl Kreations of today. The rest is history.

This is a photo of me giving a testimony in 2016. We had just completed one of the largest contracts the company has ever been awarded, and our partner let us keep all the profit!

I didn’t become a doctor, engineer, or psychologist 😄. Today, I’m a serial entrepreneur, and I’m happy and flourishing. It wasn’t necessarily by choice, but by divine design. I never in a million years would have pictured myself here. I didn’t think I had the personality for it, but c’est la vie!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes, the future may not be clear or lead where you always dreamed, but somehow, the people you meet, places you go, and chances you take, may lead to where you were always meant to be. Trust the process. Trust God. Enjoy your journey.

It’s not how long, but how well.

ska redefined 2019

April 10, 2019 Leave a comment

The SKA Legacy is 10 years today!
How time flies, right? It honestly doesn’t seem that long ago that my dad passed! May he continue to rest in perfect peace.

There will be two (2) changes to the business (asides the switch in names and mottos) and this write-up from last year – Café Euphorie has become Bites N’ Treats (BNT) Gourmet Café, and from 2020, this write-up will be done at the close of the year (December 9th) to mark the initial anniversary of [my dad’s registration of] SKA Ventures in 1991. Asides from those, I’m still working on building the empire, and hope dad is pleased.

Creativity Beyond Measure

Profile

SKA Ventures goes over expectations and beyond imagination. It is constantly raising the bar for excellence in innovation and service. Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, SKA Ventures is a leading, privately-owned, diversified business conglomerate. It owns and oversees the operations of several companies with interests spanning various industries all over the world. Through the dedication of its employees worldwide, SKA Ventures remains one of the most admired, dynamic and profitable companies in the world.

 

History

SKA Ventures began from Pearl Kreations on Monday, January 28th, 2008 in Hamilton, Ontario, while Sylvester Kay-Adade was a freshman at McMaster University. Circa September 2009, the vision for The SKA Group was conceived. The following year, it was implemented.

On September 21st, 2010, The SKA Group was officially registered in Canada under the laws of the Province of Ontario. As Pearl Kreations became more successful, its profits provided the necessary capital for the exploration of new industries. The explorations birthed Property Management Firm, Ransrive Realtors, in November 2009; Think Tank, Sylver Productions, in August 2011; and Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) Advisory Firm, Herança Financial in April 2013.

During its expansion into Nigeria in 2014, it was discovered that The SKA Group could not be registered in Nigeria as his father, Sylvester Adade, had coincidentally registered SKA Ventures Limited in December, 1991. In 2018, The SKA Group adopted SKA Ventures as its new name.

Presently, SKA Ventures owns BNT Gourmet Café, Herança Financial, Pearl Kreations, Prestige Academy, Ransrive Realtors, Suave Clothing, Sylver Productions, and Vecasyer Hotels & Towers, as well as controlling interests in Centerprise, RCubed-Merit, and Spinners.

 

Mission

SKA Ventures will relentlessly provide superior quality products and deliver exceptional service, while thriving to be the best and exceed expectations in all its business and social endeavors.

 

Vision

SKA Ventures aims to be recognized as the global brand with a drive for innovation and heart after perfection.

 

Values

Integrity

We believe in consistency in the right values.

Fairness: There is no discrimination; everyone is equal and every job is vital to our brilliant success.

Hard work: Excellent results are not manufactured, but accomplished through hard work. We understand that and are very familiar with it.

Lawfulness: All our actions and activities are in total obedience, and in complete accordance with the law.

Quality: All our products and services are always held to the highest standards.

Leadership

We believe in leadership by example.

Accountability: We account and take responsibility for our actions, and conduct ourselves responsibly and transparently in all situations and at all times.

Entrepreneurship: We are creative, innovative and ready to take calculated risks.

Perfection: We are performance-oriented and put our best into everything.

People

Like every family, we trust respect and trust each other, and that attitude flows right from the top to the branches. The people make the company, and our people are the best employees, executives, and partners; hence, we are the best company.

Service

We make everything about our patrons because it is.

Community: A good community produces good people. Our people are good people because they come from good communities. In order to maintain the balance, we give back through caring for the environment, maintaining old and raising new fundamental structures, and providing basic necessities to lacking communities.

Customers: Customer service is paramount to us because without our clients and customers, we would be non-existent. We are committed to continually provide value through our products and services.

 

SubsidiariesEvery business venture is held to the highest standards, operated efficiently, and pacesetters in their respective industries.

BNT Gourmet Café is the chain of state-of-the-art cafes designed for and with the quintessential business executive in mind.

Herança Financial is the global, small business advisory firm which deals in the provision of top-notch advice and solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Prestige Academy is the educational institution which delivers quality, unparalleled educational services. These services include entrepreneurial education, financial management education, middle school education, high school education, private tutoring, and renowned etiquette & grooming classes.

Pearl Kreations is the collectibles company which manufactures, retails and supplies superior quality pin back button-badges for a variety of corporate events and personal purposes.

Ransrive Realtors is the property management firm which provides temporary and permanent accommodation through the letting and sale of commercial and residential properties.

Suave Clothing is the unique clothing venture which retails luxury accessories from reputable brand names, manufactures and sells its own line of bespoke dress shirts, dress pants and suits, and provides wardrobe consultation services. It also produces a biannual online style publication called The Suave Series.

Sylver Productions is the innovative firm which provides unique products and services that meet untapped customer needs. It developed, manages and operates proprietary services like CityMail™, TixItUp™, Datlik™ and Wefyl™.

Vecasyer Hotels & Towers is the collection of the most stylish hotels and resorts worldwide, which offer 5-star accommodation with first class professional treatment and services.

 

SKA Ventures also has partial ownership of:

Spinners (75% ownership), an agency which provides expert advertising services and solutions to its clients. It also uses its ace designing skills and creative wordplay to make befitting logos, catchy names and impressive slogans for its clients’ businesses, events and products;

RCubed-Merit (51% ownership), an outfitting firm which highlights and optimizes the potential for various living spaces by redefining the outlook of the rooms, offices, homes and work spaces through the reorganization and restructuring of their overall presentation; and

Centerprise Global Resources (49% ownership), a personal development agency focused on better self, better employees, better business.

 

All subsidiaries operate independently, but are monitored and regulated from its headquarters, SKA Tower, under the leadership of the Chief Executive/Group Managing Director.

punch

February 17, 2019 Leave a comment

I was recently classified as one of the young Nigerians doing well [in his field] by Punch Newspapers and interviewed.

I was asked to share some of my experiences and offer advice that could inspire others.

I was both honored and humbled to be sought out; most of all, always grateful to God for every opportunity.

It was a long one, so the whole interview wasn’t published, but below is the unabridged version of the interview; after it, is a link to the actual publication.

Can we meet you?

Certainly, my name is Sylvester Kay-Adade.

I’m a business consultant, investment banker and serial entrepreneur.

 

What stirred your interest in what you do?

I can’t put my finger on exactly what stirred up the passion for business in me, but what’s got me going is the need for improvement in industries that I find interesting.

 

What is your educational background?

I’ve had quite a journey, educationally, so I’ll stick to the relevant bits.

For high school, I attended Federal Government College, Lagos, and Southern Ontario College, Hamilton. For college, I attended McMaster University and Mohawk College for Social Science/Psychology and Business Management respectively.

 

What is your current position?
I’m the Principal Consultant in Herança Financial.

 

How old are you?

I’m 31 years old.

 

What is your work history?

Most recently, Risk Management and Consulting at Kedari Capital from 2017 till 2019.

However, as a serial entrepreneur, it’s been quite a list, but the most popular are Brand Manager at Pearl Kreations since 2008, and Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Centerprise Global Resources (in partnership with a friend) since 2016.

 

What is your current position and what factors are responsible for your accomplishments?

I’ll focus on Herança Financial, where I’m the Principal Consultant.

I’d have to state passion, persistence, and networking as the top 3 factors, for me.

I’m incredibly passionate about small business – every aspect of it. It’s what I love to do.

I am persistent – I’ve drafted business plans and business proposals pro bono. I’ve taught classes, spoken at seminars, and written articles. I never give up.

I’m reserved, so networking didn’t, still doesn’t come easy, but it’s one of the best ways to meet people and talk to them about yourself, and what you do. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, people get excited about what you’re saying if you’re also absolutely psyched about what you’re telling them!

 

What is your job description?

Herança Financial is an SME advisory firm.

I spend my time offering advice/developing business ideas, drafting business plans/proposals, advising on expansion plans, and generally providing solutions to various business issues.

 

What motivates your work?

Passion and a drive for excellence. I love what I do; it gets me up in the morning. And whatever I’m involved in must be done right, mediocrity upsets me.

 

What are the challenges you face on the job and how do you surmount them?

The greatest was self-doubt. Every entrepreneur has those moments when they panic and question themselves. Sometimes, it was like “I hope I know what the heck I’m doing”. Those were times when my faith in God, His words concerning me, and His plans for my life were tested. It might sound corny, but I learnt to trust in Jesus and talk to Him more, confess God’s word over my life and make positive declarations daily. One of my favorites is: I am the most excellent of men and my lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed me forever – Psalm 45:2.

Another challenge is getting people to pay for services rendered! It’s ridiculous. Nigerians have to be one of the toughest people to get your money from. I’ve worked with some micro enterprise owners and some politicians, the same thing! I’ll have to get back to you on that one when I figure it out.

 

What are some notable achievements you have recorded?

In 2010, through Pearl Kreations, I was nominated for Business Owner of the Year at The Future Nigeria Awards. Also through Pearl Kreations, in 2009, I was admitted into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Business Network. We also worked with the Jim Ovia Foundation for a Youth Empowerment and ICT Event in 2013.

 

In what ways do you think the government can encourage the youth?

I think the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) initiative that President Jonathan launched was a brilliant initiative. I learnt a lot of young people benefited greatly from it. Though, there could have been better checks, because I know of a few who squandered millions. I thought YouWiN! Connect by President Buhari would be better, and it started off that way, but I read it ended seemingly being some sort of scam.

I think the government can focus on educating youth on business and entrepreneurship, right from secondary school level, if possible. Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for a 9-5 and there very few jobs out there. Even if you’re a salary earner, nothing wrong with multiple streams of income. Our youths can be inspired from a young age to be business owners and employers.

I also think programs like YouWIN should continue, and grants (not equity funding) should be offered, possibly in tranches, to those with good business plans.

 

What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most and how has it impacted your life?

Like I said, I’m passionate about small business. I love to sit with entrepreneurs, watch their eyes twinkle as they share their dreams (it’s like the beginning of a great story every time), help expand their minds/visions, develop a feasible plan with them, and help make those dreams a reality. The impact has just been the immense feeling of fulfillment.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d have to keep to myself, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what God has in store for me.

 

What are some of the qualities you think a leader must possess in other to be successful?

I think a leader has to be a teacher and also teachable. A leader has to be kind and respectful. A leader has to be willing to serve and build others up. A leader has to inspire, not only through words, but through action.

 

Was there any incident that changed the course of your life?

By God’s grace, I have experienced great growth in such a short time, through dogged determination and the most random acts of kindness. One that changed the course of my life was my encounter with Suzanne Bourret. Suzanne is/was a journalist. We met at an event showcasing African cultures. I was there selling the most unassuming products, button-badges with flags on them. She was intrigued. She chatted with me for a bit and asked to interview me. My first interview. Before I knew it, I was answering questions, doing a photo shoot, and in a few days, I was on the pages of The Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario). That article was the beginning of great things. I’ll always be thankful to God for that.

 

What are your other interests?

Board Games, Card Games, Charades, Movies, and Tennis.

 

Who are your role models?

I have a bunch of them because I admire different aspects of their lives, but I’ll name a few: My dad, Late Mr. Olukayode Adade, Mr. Elon Musk, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Mr. Jeff Bezos, and Ms. Oprah Winfrey.

 

How would you advise people who aspire to follow in your footprints?

In 2008, a few months after I started Pearl Kreations, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was turned down because I didn’t have business registration and other requirements. I felt deflated, but I snapped out of it. I knew getting in could work wonders for my business. I wrote back stating I was a student entrepreneur and shared the link of the newspaper article I was featured in. By God’s grace, about a week later, I was admitted.

You can’t give up. Yes, it takes time, but if you’re passionate about it and it’s solving a problem/improving a solution, hang in there. Never worry, God’s got you.

 

This is the link to original publication.

 

imovie 2019

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone well.

Pearl Kreations is 11 years old today. I thank God for sustaining the company and my adventure as Mr. Buttons thus far lol. Sometimes, I can’t believe how long it’s been!

Well, as has been the tradition for some years now, we will be rolling out some cool buttons in line with some of the blockbusters coming out this year.

Once again, Marvel takes the cake for the most buttons – a whooping 9 out of 11 buttons.In chronological order, we have:

  • Captain Marvel buttons and SHIELD buttons for Captain Marvel – out March 8th
  • Shazam buttons for Shazam! – out April 5th
  • BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) buttons for Hellboy – out April 12th
  • Avengers buttons, Iron Man buttons, Captain America buttons, Ant Man buttons, Mjöllnir buttons, and Spider Man buttons for Avengers: Endgame – out April 26th
  • XMen buttons for Dark Phoenix – out June 7th
  • Spider Man buttons also for Spider Man: Far From Home – out July 15th

Since they’re almost entirely Marvel-based, there will be just one collection this year – The Fantasy XIX Collection – with all eleven (11) buttons.

You can order the collection via our Online Shop and Konga.com Store, or order individual buttons (only via our Online Shop). We’re also working on a Jumia.com Store; we’ll have updates on our progress with that on our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Fantasy XIX Collection will be available from Monday, February 18th.

The promo video is ready, so please watch and share.

Get set to button up with us 2019-style! 😀