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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wish me a Salad - Damilola Abike Fademi #inthespiritofenterprise

I slipped into that place again, the place where I just can't muster the strength to come here and post. Sighs..... I met +Ibukun Onitiju at an event recently and has to ask him how he keeps up! I get emails from this guy like every day. Geez. Not even with the Lagos traffic lately and the unending fuel queues. Nigeria won't break me! No way... Moving on.. It's #inthespiritofenterprise and you are going to enjoy this one, especially the fitfam fellas, help has come :-)


Tell us about yourself

My name is Damilola Abike Fademi founder of Wish me a salad outfit. I have a Law degree from Lead City University, Ibadan and a PGD in Public Relations and Advertising from Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos in 2009 and 2013 respectively.

I am passionate about working with/or for people, social interaction and trying to help as much people as I can, financially and spiritually. I have done a couple of volunteer jobs before and I'm still open for more.

Tell us about your business

 At Wish me a Salad, our Mission is to inculcate healthy eating habit among Nigerians and Africans With a vision to become top of the mind salad making outfit in Nigeria.

The outfit was created on the 2nd of March, 2015 but officially rolled out on Monday, 16th of March, 2015. We have set up locations in Ogba and Victoria Island, Lagos so far.

We offer the daily delivery of the fresh vegetable salad to offices and homes. We also do party delivery.

We have the following categories for now;

- Super green vegetable salad - this does not contain canned ingredients and the
- Vegetable salad special - this contains some canned ingredients.

We offer a package for family consumption where we supply weekly. In this case, the vegetables are put in separate containers which must be refrigerated and consumers can mix and consume at will.

What was your Inspiration for this business?

I'm the kitchen kind of person, I spend hours in the kitchen satisfying guests and I don't ever get cranky or too tired. I have always known I have the kitchen energy in great abundance. I attempted making Amala at 16 years old, it was so watery (didn't form) It went from the gas to the freezer in an attempt to solidify it, then to the bin. I eventually got it right at 21.

I got this business inspiration the day my neighbour and I prepared a very delicious super green vegetable salad in February, 2015, and thought everyone must eat this way. After a couple of deliberations and seeking God's direction, the company was born.

How did you get funding for the business?

I have always been a business person, I ran a cleaning outfit at some point, I sell art works- paintings, carvings, sculptures etc. I purchase, then resell. I had savings from the above and I easily took from my savings. The business became more capital intensive as other factors started coming up, but God has been good.

How will you summarize the journey so far?

Hmmm, Experience is the best teacher, they say. That's is very true. I wish I learnt from someone else's but I had to learn from mine, which is very interesting. The business is still very young, it's in-between the teething stage and the toddling stage. There were days I got discouraged that I just wanted to sleep and forget everything about it and there were days I was very happy, I couldn't keep calm. I read the book,"The Alchemist" during my recent vacation, I'm encouraged all over. It's been good so far.

How have you impacted your community?

I have employed a few staff with room for more as the company grows, we operate a mini soup kitchen for the less privileged people around us with daily over flows as a part of our Corporate social responsibility. We also have plans to give more to the community as we grow.

What are the main challenges you have faced so far and how have you managed them?

One of the main challenges of the business has been Electricity. Another one is Transportation/Logistics.

We have to constantly run on generator to produce and to preserve. If we were to charge by this, the prices would be so unreasonable. If the new administration can really look into electricity and give us light, the issue of unemployment in Nigeria would be half solved.

We also had a very terrible experience the day we rolled out. We ran into the PDP election rally, the entire Lagos was held up in traffic, we could only deliver 15 out of 30 orders. I actually thought it was best to roll back in, but I had to encourage myself to move on.

We also need more people to invest in the area of logistics, dispatch bikes in particular, so we don't have to bother about getting our own dispatch bikes and riders. We just need to have an agreement with the company. Also, that market needs more competitors. This would allow the consumers of the service have many choices at a competitive price rate.

What are the main opportunities that you have been able to leverage to get where you are today?

The new media, also known as the social media has been of tremendous help. This business is not just about making and delivering salad. It's more about telling people about it, assuring them it's the best thing ever, taking their office and home addresses. It's more about sending Broadcasts, creating platforms where people can order for instance, on dealday, Facebook, BBM, whatsapp, OLX, Blogs and co. Word of mouth and referrals by friends and family have been of great help too.

Given the chance will you do this again?

Yes, I will do it all over again. There's only one thing that makes a dream impossible, - the fear of failure (The Alchemist - +Paulo Coelho)

Although, I take disappointments badly, I also recover fast. It's been fun so far.

Where do you see your business in 5years?

I see it become a household name in Nigeria and this comes with growth. The company would most likely have a department where people who need to eat and live healthy are trained, guided and monitored.

Also, it gives me joy to visualise this Company solve some part of our unemployment problem in Nigeria.

What advice will you give to other entrepreneurs looking to launch?

When you have a dream, day-dream it, write it down and do something about it. It may seem like the stupidest idea to shallow minds. You alone can see your own dream with your eyes, others may not even see it with the aid of a microscope. Put a little money into it to test, it does not matter if it doesn't work, at least, you will derive some satisfaction from trying. (My house is filled with trial souvenirs from all over the place). I laugh when I see them.

Otunba Gaddafi of blessed memory started the mobile toilet business, I'm sure some people thought he was mad then. But it did work and I'm certain he died fulfilled. Never relent.

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