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Saturday, December 28, 2013

OmoAlata - Kasope Badaru #Inthespiritofenterprise

Hi guys! Hope you are having a fantastic holiday. Nanny Mcphee took off on the 23rd, smack in the middle of all my hamper deliveries! I have a friend who insists keeping a nanny and one smallie is the key to sanity, I bet he'll laugh at me if he reads this.  Anyways, I am a survivor and yes, the worst is over. Bless Jesus!!

For the first time ever, I shipped the boys off day before yesterday to spend some time with my sister in law (she's a life saver). Funny thing is, I miss all their "wahala" and can't wait to pick them up, lol!! Imagine. But while they're away, let me share the very last #inthespiritofenterprise story for the year! Sounds unbelievable that the year is over already. It's been a great year and it can only get better. Yes!

Let's meet Kasope Badaru, Omoalata herself.


1. Tell us about yourself

My name is Kasope Badaru, I am an IT person by profession. I graduated in 2006 and I worked on an 8 - 5 but quit my job 2 years ago to venture into entrepreneurship.

2. Tell us about your business

Omoalata as the name implies is "the child/son of a pepper seller or a pepper seller". What our business does for now is to package blended peppers. We plan to do other products later on, all centered around pepper, soups and stews. Basically we blend tomatoes, onions, tatase and rodo into a puree or paste, boil and pack and sell to end users or supermarkets.

3. How did you get the name Omoalata and how do people receive it?

To be honest, I can't really remember exactly how the name omoalata came about. I just remember it was a name that my partner and I just had in mind for a very long time, even though it wasn't really clear what we wanted to do with the name, we just knew it was food related. Over the years, travelling, going around, we got some exposure and saw the need for some partial processing of pepper to make food easy and faster to cook, considering that most Nigerians use pepper in some form or the other during their cooking. We wanted a way to make cooking easier since we are in a world where things are faster and easier.

We get mixed reactions to the name "omoalata". Some people are wowed by it, while others ridicule the name and make fun of it. But because we are confident in it and proud of our heritage we are not moved. I am sure if we translated it in some other language for instance, people would think it cool, but because it's in our native Yoruba language that some people take the name for granted.

4. What will you say is unique about omoalata?

One of the main things about our product is that we are trying to replicate the exact thing that you do in your house. We are not trying to do a processed tomato paste, we are simply trying to cut your cooking time and make the process easier. We want to do exactly what you would have done yourself if you went to the market to buy your tomato and pepper. So because of that we decided from day one never to add any form of preservatives. We keep getting suggestions and pressure from people about preservatives e.g. "why don't you just add preservatives so you can sell in stores that have no freezers?". Especially because we are a growing business, we are expected to want to jump on these recommendations. However, we know that's not who we are nor is that what we are offering. Ours is an organic product and we intend to stay that way.

5. What are the main challenges you face and how have you overcome them.

The number one challenge is what everyone complains about in this country, POWER! Our business relies a lot on electricity supply. We grind, we boil and then we freeze. The freezing process is a lot of power and it means that we always have to have constant electricity. It also means that our grinding machines have to be run on petrol. Which is a lot more expensive than if we had constant power.

Another challenge we have is manpower. The casuals who work in the factory; ensuring they come at the right time, ensuring they follow laid down procedures. Especially for small, growing businesses like us who can't afford to employ them full-time yet, getting the right commitment is not easy. It's really been difficult but I know that as we go along though, it will get better and we will be able to balance it.

Acceptance from people is also one of the challenges we face. It's a new type of product and Nigerians are generally slow to adapt to change. So we have to do a lot of marketing and convincing, but the good thing about it is that for the people who have used it, their referrals go a long way. We are still in the process of getting all our certifications, so we have not done a lot of advertisements. I would say that we are gradually conquering that challenge of getting the word out there and convincing people to try the product. People are still stuck with the tradition of "oh I go to the market myself and I blend my own pepper mix myself", "how are you sure it is fresh, not too spicy or not spicy enough?" We know that over time we will get more and more loyal customers as they try it out.

6. How will you summarize your journey so far?

The journey so far has been interesting, tedious, frustrating, Lol!. But I am sure that is normal for any small start-up business anywhere in the world. I mean, we have the peculiarities of running a business in Nigeria, but when you remove the challenges of Infrastructure like electricity, I am sure that every other small business anywhere in the world goes through the struggles the frustrations and all that. But to be honest, it's been interesting.

There are days when you think oh I have made a mistake and there are days when you are so excited, especially when you get just one positive feedback. This makes you feel that it's all worth it because you are making someone's life easier somewhere. The feedback just gives you a lot of joy that someone somewhere needs what you're offering.

7. Given another chance, will you do this again?

Oh yes definitely, I mean without a question. I don't regret in anyway, going into this. If I were to rewind time, I would definitely go into it again!

Want to know where to find Mcpeppers? Well here's a list below, plus you can follow them on twitter, like their facebook page and follow their blog.

Rennies Supermarket
VGC Shopping Complex,
VGC Lekki Epe Expressway Ajah,

Rennies Supermarket
32A, Admiralty Way (near Tantalizers)
Lekki Phase 1 Lekki, Lagos
Petadis Place
0-5C, Close 7A, Opp. NICON Hotel
VGC Lekki Ajah,

Gravitas Supermarket

17, Emma Abimbola Cole street,
Off Fola Osibo Lekki Phase 1 Lekki,

Best Choice Mart

Shop K111, Road 5,
Ikota Shopping Complex,
Ajah Lagos.

Nazareth Supermarket

Babatunde street, Off Ogunlana Drive,
Surulere, Lagos.

Spendless Mart 

2, Association Avenue (right turn before magodo estate)
Magodo, Lagos.

CCD Superstores 

116, Ogudu-Ojota Road (Near GTBank)
Ogudu, Lagos

Royalmart Limited

Carlton-Gate Estate
Chevron drive, Lagos

Royalmart Limited

Crown Estate Shopping Mall,
Crown Estate, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.

Egole Shopping Mall 

Cheers guys! Their other details are below, do the needful....

+234 (0) 802 8736 502, 01-8544436