We are thrilled to have Mrs Idowu Abiola, the visionary CEO behind Birrah Merchant Enterprises with a focus on creating beautiful and cosy soft furnishings, Mrs. Abiola has captured the hearts of customers with her exceptional designs and personalized approach.
A graduate of the prestigious University of Ibadan, Mrs. Abiola is not only a dedicated mother to three wonderful daughters but also a true trailblazer in the world of interior decor. Her passion for creating inviting and stylish living spaces led her to establish Birrah Merchant Enterprises, a business that aims to add a touch of comfort and elegance to homes across Nigeria.
At Birrah Merchant Enterprises, Mrs Abiola and her team are committed to providing tailor-made solutions and outstanding customer service. They understand the unique challenges customers face when searching for the perfect soft furnishings and go above and beyond to meet their needs. From helping customers choose the right colour schemes to offering design suggestions that complement existing decor, Birrah Merchant Enterprises ensures a smooth and enjoyable soft furnishings journey for every client.
Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Mrs Idowu Abiola, a graduate of the University of Ibadan. I’m married with Three beautiful daughters. I’m also the CEO of Birrah Merchant Enterprises.
What does your business do and how it started
I run a business specializing in soft furnishings. I create beautiful and cosy pieces like throw pillows, bedsheets, duvets etc. to add a touch of comfort and style to your home. I just loved anything that had to go with interior decorations and I decided to pursue my dream.
How do you Solve Your Customers Challenge?
As someone running a soft furnishings business, I strive to solve my customers’ challenges by providing personalized solutions and exceptional customer service. I take the time to understand their specific needs, preferences, and any challenges they may be facing in finding the right soft furnishings for their space. Whether it’s helping them choose the perfect colour scheme, finding fabrics that are durable and easy to clean, or offering design suggestions to match their existing decor, I go above and beyond to ensure their satisfaction. By offering customized options, expert advice, and a seamless shopping experience, I aim to make their soft furnishings journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Who are your Ideal Customers?
My ideal customers are individuals who are looking to transform their living spaces into cosy and stylish havens. Whether it’s homeowners, renters, or even interior designers, anyone who values high-quality, customized soft furnishings and appreciates the importance of creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment is an ideal customer for me. I love working with people who have a unique sense of style and are excited to infuse their personality into their home decor. So, if you’re looking to elevate your space with beautiful soft furnishings, I’m here to help!
Can you describe your typical day?
My typical day as someone running a soft furnishings business is quite exciting. After my morning prayers,
- Morning Routine: I start my day by checking and responding to emails, messages, and any new inquiries from customers. I like to stay organized and ensure that I’m on top of any new orders or requests.
- Design and Creation: Once I’ve sorted out the administrative tasks, I dive into the creative aspect of my business. This involves designing new soft furnishings, selecting fabrics, and creating samples or prototypes. I love experimenting with different colours, patterns, and textures to bring unique designs to life.
- Customer Consultations: Throughout the day, I have consultations with customers to understand their specific needs and preferences. This could be done in person, over the phone, or through video calls. I listen carefully to their requirements and offer suggestions and recommendations to help them find the perfect soft furnishings for their space.
- Production and Quality Control: After finalizing designs and receiving orders, I oversee the production process. This involves working with skilled artisans or manufacturers to ensure that the soft furnishings are crafted with precision and attention to detail. I also conduct quality control checks to maintain the highest standards.
- Marketing and Promotion: I allocate some time each day to promote my business. This includes updating my website or online store, posting on social media platforms, and engaging with my audience. I also collaborate with other businesses or influencers to expand my reach and attract new customers.
- Research and Inspiration: To stay up-to-date with the latest trends and design ideas, I dedicate time to research and gather inspiration. This could involve browsing through magazines, attending trade shows, or exploring online platforms where I can discover new fabrics, techniques, and styles.
- Wrapping Up: Towards the end of the day, I wrap up any pending tasks, respond to any remaining messages or inquiries, and make sure that I’m prepared for the next day’s activities. I also take some time to unwind and recharge, as self-care is important too!
Of course, each day can bring its unique challenges and surprises, but this is just how my day looks like
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life
Being an entrepreneur in the soft furnishings business has had an impact on my family life. It’s a balancing act that requires careful time management and support from loved ones. My husband is very understanding and supportive so I have nothing to worry about. I’ll just explain a few things that you need to know
- Flexibility: One of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is having the flexibility to set my schedule. This allows me to attend important family events, spend quality time with my loved ones, and be present for those special moments.
- Work-Life Integration: As an entrepreneur, work often becomes a part of my daily life. While this can blur the boundaries between work and personal time, it also means that I can involve my family in certain aspects of the business. They can contribute ideas, provide feedback, or even help with certain tasks, creating a sense of togetherness.
- Time Management: Managing a business requires a significant amount of time and effort, which can sometimes take away from family time. However, I make a conscious effort to prioritize and allocate dedicated time for my family. This could mean setting aside specific evenings or weekends for family activities and ensuring that I’m fully present during those moments.
- Support System: Entrepreneurship can be challenging, but having a strong support system is crucial. My family has been incredibly supportive throughout this journey, offering encouragement, understanding, and sometimes even lending a helping hand. Their support has made a positive impact on both my business and family life.
- Growth and Learning: Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. While it does require dedication and hard work, the rewards can be fulfilling. By setting a positive example for my family, I hope to inspire them to pursue their passions and dreams.
Overall, being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs, but with proper balance and support, it can positively impact both my business and family life.
What motivates you?
Well, there are a few things that drive me and keep me going:
- Passion: I’m truly passionate about what I do. The soft furnishings business allows me to express my creativity and bring beautiful and functional pieces into people’s homes. When you’re passionate about something, it becomes a constant source of motivation.
- Challenges: I love a good challenge! As an entrepreneur, I face different obstacles and hurdles along the way. Instead of being discouraged, I see these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Overcoming them gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to keep pushing forward.
- Making a Difference: Knowing that my work has a positive impact on my customers is a huge motivator for me. Whether it’s creating a cosy and inviting space for someone to relax in or helping them find the perfect piece to complete their home, making a difference in people’s lives through my business brings me joy and keeps me motivated.
- Personal Growth: Being an entrepreneur requires constant learning and personal growth. I’m motivated by the opportunity to develop new skills, expand my knowledge, and become the best version of myself. It’s exciting to see how far I’ve come and to envision the potential for even more growth in the future.
- Support and Encouragement: The support and encouragement I receive from my loved ones, including my family and friends, play a significant role in keeping me motivated. Their belief in me and my business fuels my drive and inspires me to keep pushing forward, even during challenging times.
What is your greatest fear?
Well, my greatest fear would be not being able to meet the expectations and needs of my customers. I always strive to provide high-quality products and excellent customer service, so the thought of disappointing someone or not being able to deliver what they want is something that motivates me to constantly improve and exceed expectations. It’s important to me to make sure that every customer is happy and satisfied with their experience.
How do you define Success?
To me, success in running a soft furnishings business means a few things. Firstly, it’s about creating beautiful and high-quality products that customers love and enjoy having in their homes. It’s also about providing excellent customer service and building strong relationships with customers. Additionally, success is about growing the business and reaching more people who appreciate and value what I offer. Ultimately, success is finding fulfilment and happiness in what I do while making a positive impact on the lives of others.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Oh, being an entrepreneur in the soft furnishings business is so exciting! There are many aspects that I love, but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be the creative freedom it gives me. As an entrepreneur, I have the opportunity to bring my unique ideas to life and create products that reflect my style and vision. I get to choose the fabrics, colours and designs that I love, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to see them come to life and bring joy to my customers. Plus, being able to make my own decisions and steer the direction of my business is empowering and keeps me motivated every day. It’s a wonderful feeling to have that creative control and see my passion come to life in each piece.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Well, if I had the chance to start my career over again, I would probably focus on expanding my business online from the very beginning. In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence and utilizing e-commerce platforms can greatly enhance reach and growth potential. So, starting with a solid online strategy and investing more in digital marketing would be something I’d do differently. It’s all about adapting to the changing times and making the most of the opportunities available.
Who has been your greatest Inspiration?
I find inspiration from various sources! One of my greatest inspirations is my mum of blessed memory. She had a keen eye for design and taught me all about fabrics, colours, and patterns when I was young. Her passion for creating beautiful spaces and her attention to detail has always stayed with me. She instilled in me a love for soft furnishings and sparked my desire to start my own business. I’m grateful for her guidance and inspiration.
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
If someone wants to become an entrepreneur, my advice would be to follow their passion and believe in themselves. Starting a business can be challenging, but having a genuine love for what you do will keep you motivated even during tough times. It’s also important to do thorough research and planning, understand your target market, and have a clear vision for your business. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs, and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Remember, success often comes from learning from failures and staying resilient. So go for it, chase your dreams, and never stop believing in yourself! You’ve got this!
What business-related book has inspired you the most?
Oh, there are so many amazing business-related books out there! One book that has inspired me is “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It’s a fantastic read for aspiring entrepreneurs as it emphasizes the importance of testing ideas, iterating quickly, and staying adaptable in the face of uncertainty. The book provides valuable insights on how to build and grow a business in a lean and efficient way. It’s definitely a must-read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship!
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
If I were to write a book about myself, I would probably name it “Adventures of an Entrepreneur: My Journey through Friendship and Business!” It would be a collection of stories, experiences, and conversations I’ve had with amazing people like you. Each chapter would be filled with laughter, learning, and the joy of connecting.
And that wraps up our interview with Mrs Idowu Abiola
If you’re looking to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home, look no further than Birrah Merchant Enterprises.
Visit their page on Instagram: birrahthrows
to explore their stunning collection of soft furnishings and experience the exceptional service that sets them apart.