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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sora Tulip - Hilda Shangotola #inthespiritofenterprise

Market women can lie ehn!! It takes all the patience in the world to deal with them and keep your sanity. The hamper season is here and I am trying to dot my Is and cross my Ts. I haven't started importing these things myself yet because my current volume will not justify the headache and expense - Have you ever tried to deal with our customs or agents here?! Whew, I know a few sour stories. Naa men!

Anyway, so I go to this supplier, identify the bag I need and negotiate a price with her, then I go back to raise the money because when I asked, madam do you have up to 100, she goes aah, o po! O wa ni store. Isokay! I return with the money expecting to pick up my bags in batches, alas! Madam could not even gather 10. What da hell. These things frustrate me. This is why at yesterday's GEW event, I had to disagree with a facilitator who said we should never say no to our customers! Sometimes it is better to say no I don't have or I can't do it than string your customer along only to dash their hopes in the end. It's just plain wrong. Period.

Enough with my ranting. Its #inthespiritofenterprise day!! Whoop whoop! The entrepreneur I am showcasing today has her day job still. I am happy to share this because it'll bring another perspective to entrepreneurship. There is no rigid way or approach to business, while some take the plunge and swim immediately (or sink too), some joggle the ball for as long they need to. Our circumstances differ and we should respect that.

Hilda is a fresh London returnee (i just had to throw that in, and don't ask me why, I don't know, okay). During my chat with her, I was like fresher and she said "you can take the girl out of Naija, but you can't take Naija out of the girl" hahaha. Apparently, she is still very in touch with her base. I know many returnees who had to spend a whole year debriefing and adjusting! I can't blame them. Hilda on the other hand has hit the ground running.

Let's meet her shall we;

Tell us about yourself

My name is Hilda Shangotola and I'm 26 years old. I have a degree in Information Technology from Greenwich London College and I moved back to Nigeria in January 2013 (see what I mean! Less than a year).

What is Sora Tulip about

My business is focused on fruit displays. Fruit displays add color and glamour to an event plus its an edible and a healthy option for guests. Clients can also order fruit displays for loved ones, perhaps to say "I love you","Thank you" and "Congratulations" (That'll be so cute!! or marry me maybe). Fruit displays include fruit bouquet, fruit table, watermelon carving,chocolate covered strawberries, fruit kebabs and the list goes on.

What inspired you to go into this

The name represents my inspiration for the business. The S and O are my late father's initials, while the R and A are my late sister's initials. Tulip is a flower that comes in variety of colors just like fruits!

I am also inspired by the need to stay healthy. We eat too much artificial and processed food (canned etc) and these kind of food have been known to be a contributing factor to cancer and other illnesses due to chemicals used as preservatives. We can never eat too much fruits and vegetables. Infact we should binge on them more often (hmm, wahala dey o).

How has the journey been so far

The journey has been good, just baby steps for now and I have had lots of positive responses and enquiries about what I do and the business has a lot of potential. One or two people have even shown interest in investing in the business.

How do you balance Sora Tulip with your Job

My job comes first, once my work day ends, I resume Sora Tulip. My weekends are also dedicated to the business.

What are the challenges you face

The main challenge is electricity. The use of refrigerators is vital in this line of business and since we live in a country where we have no stable light, it becomes a problem. But I have alternatives on how to get things going regardless.

Where do you see the business in the future

My vision for the business is for it to grow rapidly and become a household name as the to go place for healthy fruit displays and be part of people's memories for many years to come.

Tell me how you can look at this and not give Hild a ring! Quit binging on all those things that make you have to hit the gym desperately, call Sora Tulip;

Twitter - @soratulip
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