CEO of REGAL LOOKS boutique, Omolara, chats with EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE about her ‘9-5 switch’ and how she gained financial freedom leading to her successful business. Enjoy the interview:
EM- Tell us about you and your Educational Background?
LARA- I am Omolara Babafemi-Yaya, married with 2kids. I am a MBA degree holder from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife after obtaining my BSC economics from University of Ilorin. I am very enthusiastic about life and a go getter. I am self-motivated and a people person.
EM- How long have you been in business?
LARA- It’s over 13 years. I started out with selling gold jewellery in 2005 after NYSC without a Job. My mum was a major influence to starting the business. After a while, I got a job in the telecoms sector and moved to banking, but continued selling as a side business. After I registered my company in 2008, I resigned in 2009 and focused fully on my business, during the period in which I launched my clothing line and got our showroom after a few years of doing a mobile business.
EM- Tell us about the service you provide?
LARA- We offer unique women’s clothing essentially for corporate, chic and contemporary looks with accessories that make you stand out. Our products are stocked from UK, Turkey and America and we ensure that our prices are highly competitive enough. We also create timeless and exquisite 18karat gold jewellery wedding/engagement rings and all related gold jewelries.
EM- What inspired you to start this sort of business?
LARA- The quest to become financially independent after reading some books that changed my perspective about life and financial freedom. As a lover of jewelry, fashion and styling, I usually get loads of compliments when I step out and sometimes ended up selling them (gold) on the spot, so I started the business upon realizing people trusted me enough and eventually added clothes to sell. Then I traveled to UK to source for clothes and the rest is history now.
EM-How did you find the business when you first started?
LARA- When I first started the business it was and is still booming. Found it very interesting and profitable.
EM- What are the challenges you faced?
LARA- Gold business is very capital intensive, that was the only challenge I faced but I found a way around it which has also helped my business grow. For the clothing line, it was sourcing for chic clothes which I also overcame, as well as making contacts with suppliers to develop a relationship.
EM- What is your staff strength, and how do you manage them?
LARA- Currently, I have a six of them. They are all conversant with their duties and responsibilities for each role so they adhere to it strictly and with professionalism.
EM- Did you have to train your staff so they can effectively advice your clients?
LARA- Yes I trained my boutique staff on product awareness and also managing partner on gold jewellery product pricing.
EM- What is most exciting about what you do?
LARA- The most exciting about what I do is satisfying a customer. The good news that comes with proposals or a loved outfit is amazing. A satisfied customer will always come back to buy more and also refer people to you.
EM- What is the vision for the company?
LARA– The vision is to be a leading player in the fashion and jewellery industry by constantly providing unique outfits, timeless & exquisite jewellery for the stylish Woman.
EM-What word of advice would you render to women and men who want to start a business in your field?
LARA- Have a passion for what you do and also do your research, ask questions, stay focused, be consistent and dedicated. Keep pushing forward and press for progress. It will become a success.