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Adebukola Obafunso, popularly known as Freesia Foodies, is a professional chef strikingly passionate about putting Nigerian food on the world map.
Though Bukola has always loved cooking, she accidentally stumbled on food business after helping to cook and cater for food services, for free, at her sister’s birthday. Ever since, orders for food services have not stopped pouring in for her. In this interview with Isaac Oladipupo, the foodie, as she proudly describes herself, talks about her passion for the food industry, her entrepreneurial journey, challenges and successes so far. Enjoy!
Current Role: Founder, FreesiaFoodies Services
Location: 21, Salvation Road Opebi Ikeja, Lagos.
Current Computer: Acer
Current Mobile Device: Samsung and iPhone
What do you want to be remembered for?
For creating food moguls’ home and abroad and also for impacting on individuals through improving their home cooking.
Tell us how you started out and how you got to where you are today?
I got a job as a Sales Representative with an oil servicing company immediately after serving with NYSC Jos and Ibadan. Though the job was pretty good, I had always had this underlying drive and head for business. Even during my undergraduate days, I was into apparel business. I sold designer clothes, shoes, bags, belts, etc. To the extent my best friend and I were nicknamed the: “The School Clothiers”.
It was more or less like a wakeup call for me when I heard that my company was downsizing and like they say, to be fore warned is to be fore armed. So, I went to an event management school to learn how to be an event manager just in case I was among those who were relieved of their duties. Albeit, I also submitted my Resume with few other companies but business was what I had innate passion for. I knew I was good with people, loved organizing and also was competent in decoration. I was still working when I finished my training at the academy and started taking on a few jobs. Soon, these “few” jobs got so much to the extent I could not adequately combine both my job and side business together. Eventually, the food business took the drivers sit. I started cooking from my kitchen for individuals and later scaled into handling company cafeteria and finally two years later I opened my cooking studio where I teach people how to cook for home purposes, Individuals who want to go into the food business, delivering freshly homemade meals across Lagos and some part of Nigeria, exporting African/Nigerian food produced/foodstuff.
What time do u wake-up, and what time do you like to be at your desk?
So, I wake up at about 5am and I like to be at my desk by 8;30am. But often times work keeps me busy at home (emails, social media)
A brief breakdown of your daily routine?
When I get to work, I start my day immediately in the kitchen with prepping of the meals that had been ordered a day before or that came in that morning with my staff. We are usually done with the first batch of cooking around 12pm, then we start packaging, tagging the meals in other to avoid confusion. Then they are handed over to the dispatch riders for different deliveries across Lagos. After which we commerce on the next batch and we round up by 3pm and in between that period I take my lunch. Am not really a breakfast person. I prefer taking my tea in the morning till I have brunch. Somedays I have business meetings and am not on sit. We close 5pm and am usually the last to leave the office.
How do you keep track of what you have to do on a daily?
I have an organizer where I store my weekly activities. However, I also have a Personal Assistant who helps with managing my activities.
Tell us about one of the toughest situations you have found yourself in business.
Recently December last year which happens to be or busiest period, one of my dispatch riders relocated, while the other took ill. It was very tough although we procured the services of a courier company which made deliveries slow. Most delivery companies too were over booked due to the festive season. We resulted to using cabs/uber/taxify. It was indeed very challenging but we managed to pull it out.
What is the best business or career advice you have ever received?
Don’t reveal your major business strategies.
What conventional life or business advice do you disagree with?
As soon as you think it, act it.
If you have to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Would have started my food business right after my university education i.e. NYSC.
Tell us about your current role and key traits required to succeed on this role.
I am the founder of FreesiaFoodies services and a large dose of people’s management, Strong work ethics, creativity, confidence and discipline has been my forefront aiding the growth of my business.
Tell us about a task you dislike but still do and a problem you are trying to solve?
I dislike doing the dishes but still do them occasionally. I am still trying to resolve the occurrence of damage/loss in exporting our goods and trying to juggle shipping cost across the world.
Who has had the greatest impact in your career and why?
Without sounding cliché, God has been the greatest impact on my career with a huge collaboration with my mother-may she rest in peace. My love for food started from my formative years and I have my mother to thank for that. She has also influenced many of my biggest business decisions in the past.
Also, my best friend – Gbemisola Onabolu who is also an entrepreneur and a co-founder of Afrovirtues Natural products. I bounce ideas on her and pick her brain concurrently, in fact she kind of illuminated ideas to some of these questions.
What business achievement are you most proud of?
Training individuals on how to run a successful food business both home and abroad. Seeing how most of them are doing well in the industry is so elating. Also, being able to teach people how to cook to improve their home cooking and getting reviews of how their family and friends are beneficiaries of the knowledge.
Tell us about your greatest weakness as an individual
Public speaking. As much as a lot of people perceive me as an extrovert, I can be incredibly shy addressing the public. I get very nervous and my palms get clammy. I am working on it and improving gradually.
Name two untapped lucrative business opportunity in the world right now?
Waste management and Tourism are yet to be fully optimized.
Aside God, what do you consider your greatest success secret?
The three Ds. Determination, Drive and Discipline.
What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?
Speak with power and confidence by Patrick Collins.
What tools, gadgets, or apps can’t you do without?
My phones, Canon Camera.
What’s your favorite social media platform handle and why?
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter majorly to scale my business and to exponentially boost sales and gain exposure.
How do you unwind?
Reading a good book, watching movies, cycling and swimming
Who would you love to have answer these questions?
Gbemisola Onabolu, Co-founder at Afovirtues
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