Olawale Ayilara is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LandWey Investment Limited, one of Nigeria’s fastest growing real estate firms.
A graduate of Petroleum and Petrochemical Sciences from the Tai Solarin University of Education, Olawale did all sorts of businesses before venturing into real estate where he made it really big. He shares his touching story in this interview with his company’s official magazine. Enjoy!
LandWey Investment Limited recently signed one of Nollywood’s biggest actresses, Omoni Oboli, as its brand ambassador. That goes to show the viability of the company. The company in it last session boasted of a over 8 billion naira turnover. He revealed this and many other things about his life in his annual LandWey Magazine Investment Limited. Read on.
Has real estate always been in the picture for you?
I have always loved and craved to do business. I have never been one to shy away from a business transaction. Real estate wasn’t always in the picture, but having failed at so many other businesses, it didn’t matter to me that I would need a huge amount of money to start and thrive in real estate. I prepared for it and thank God it worked.
Before all these, at some points, I sold Ofada Rice at The Experience Concert and Drinks at other times in other places. From there, I tried printing, business consulting and several other businesses, but all of them had one thing in common … They all failed and left me in more debt than I was when I started. I got tired and proposed to relocate out of Nigeria and never return.
I was in South Africa at a time and for a whole month I started and kept on researching about what I wanted to do. That was when real estate happened. On returning to Nigeria, the first person I told about my dream to start a real estate business said I had failed in so many businesses before, so I would be doing myself a lot of good if I start with a 9 to 5 job instead.
I almost gave up on the real estate dream before it started; I had gone with a couple of friends to Abeokuta to purchase a piece of land and it wasn’t a rewarding experience at all. Despite all these challenges I saw a solution instead of a problem. So I returned and commenced my research all over again. I started talking to people and finally, I decided to start LandWey, majorly to fill the void that I’d noticed was present in the real estate business. Ultimately though, it is God who has allowed LandWey to record such success in such a short time.
This year alone, we have acquired 6 estates and they run into a huge amount of money. Our culture as a company is to approach every business deal with the best possible service and then channel the profit from it into enriching the next transaction.
Tell us about your dream, how you got here and the journey so far?
I just found myself here (laughs). Really, it is a long story, but having worked with several real estate companies in the past, providing Digital Marketing Services for them, and from doing extensive studies about real estate companies and their practices particularly, I observed that there was a large vaccum to be filled in the industry.
So I set out searching for means and strategies to do the job better, employing SWOT analysis and a lot of research, and it finally paid off. On one particular occasion when I consulted for a real estate business handling the firm’s Digital Marketing also, its sale went up to about N85 million in one month, which was a landmark when compared to what it had earned all the years it had been in existence. So, I thought, “if I could do this for someone else, then I should be able to do same for myself”, and that was how I started.
Why the name LandWey, what does the name (brand) represent?
When I decided to start the company, I wanted something that would depict what we did from just the name. I needed something that suggested we know the source or way in. real estate, properties; and related issues. So when LandWey came, we naturally went for it. Our brand represents excellence, innovation, dedication to work and unrivalled customer service. We intend to be the ideal 21st century real estate investment company for all and sundry.
You are fondly called the LandWey Eagle, why?
I repeatedly read a book when I was about 17 years old entitled: Soaring Eagle. It influenced the name of my first business Eagle’s Insight and Innovations, which is still in existence. Over time, the term Eagle just stuck with me. Beside, I absolutely like the attributes of an Eagle. It is in a league of its own and that fascinates me.
What is your candid impression about real estate in Nigeria today?
Honestly, we are yet to scratch the surface. I think the government and a couple of other concerened parties have a long way to go in this regard. If you are priviledged to view Lagos from a bird’s eye you would see the beauty of the city, but you will also notice that the structures are not particularly organised. It might look good on paper, but that is not how it is constructed in a lot of places.
Therefore, much is needed to be done in this regard with special attention to even the thiniest details in structure, planning and design for real estate.