7 Questions For Start-Ups – Interview With Debo Alao
Interviewer: Ms Tobi Anjorin
Questions for StartUp Business Owners that are interviewed on DovePreneur.
Welcome to “7 Questions For StartUps” on DovePreneur.
We will be interviewing startup business owners to share their experiences, successes and candid advice on how to help you startup your own business. Be sure to show up on Mondays, you can’t tell who you might just inspire you to Start that business idea of yours!
We will be premiering this corner with an interview from the CEO of JOYA.
Grace Adebowale Alao, popularly called Debo is the CEO of JOYA and head of JOYA Academy.
A graduate of Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria who has business ru
nning through her veins from a tender age, founded JOYA on the 11th of September, 2016. A beautiful, young and vibrant woman who has decided to take the fashion, training and business to another level.
JOYA deals in the sale of fashion accessories for male and female and also production of organic Skincare and Haircare products which offers value from infants to the aged.
JOYA Academy, a subsidiary of JOYA is an institution that trains and incubates
individuals on various vocational courses.
This is done through workshops, seminars, business coaching, networking platforms etc.
Debo is a certified skincare (consultant, producer??) and she currently facilitates for the
Skincare course under JOYA Academy apart from her production for JOYA.
You can contact Debo on Facebook : Grace Alao
You can access JOYA on the following social media platforms;
Hotline – 09092800230
Her Business; Branded JOYA is…you can find out more below☺
● HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT THE INSPIRATION TO START UP “JOYA”?
JOYA was conceived during my NYSC days in Delta state, Nigeria and the inspiration to start it up was to add value and also from my passion to see people look good and dress well. JOYA started on the September 11th, 2016.
● IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT IS “JOYA” ALL ABOUT?
JOYA is a company that deals in the sales of fashion accessories for male and female, production of organic skincare and Haircare products. Under JOYA also is JOYA Academy, an institution that trains and
incubates individuals. We do this through workshops, seminars, networking platforms etc.
● WHAT HAS BEEN THE HURDLES IN YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO OVERCOME THEM?
Well I’ll like to state two major hurdles JOYA has faced since its inception;
– Funding was our number one hurdle but I overcame(and still am) by, offering services that I could make money from. You might call it a “side hustle” but I would refer to it as another stream of income and this funds have been directed to cater for the expansion of JOYA. Also, I sourced from funds from family members. I would borrow money to do business and then return the money at an agreed time.
Because, they are my relatives, I was under pressure like I would have been if it were from a bank or from any random person (I only make sure I pay back)!
– Selling items to customers that turn out to be faulty in the case of our fashion accessories was something that was enough to break my heart because some of them thought that we purposely sold it
to them like that, failing to realize that we do not manufacture these items directly. We were able to get over that though, by changing suppliers from whom we get these complaints regularly. Oftentimes, we
replace the items, which is a loss for us but we put our customers first.
● WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE AND HOW DO YOU ALWAYS GET THEM TO FIND VALUE IN YOUR BUSINESS THAT WILL LATER PROMPT THEM TO PAY FOR YOUR PRODUCTS, PHYSICAL AND NONPHYSICAL?
What JOYA offers is relevant to all age groups, gender and status. Our accessories meet the needs of male and female individuals of between 13-100 years; relevant for all occasions including weddings, birthdays, graduations, and dinners.
Our organic skincare and Haircare product target audience from 0-100 years of age – we offer products like baby diaper creams, baby soap, kiddies shampoo, Beard oil, hair growth stimulating oil, creams, lotions, natural body soaps, facials, etc.
JOYA Academy on the other hand is opened to minds that want to learn. We believe that there is magic in your hands and magic doesn’t discriminate with age or gender.
With orientation, word-of-mouth, adverts, we create awareness to our target audience. The trick is that as a business owner, your customers will trust you more and buy what you sell if you are able to convince them so we get familiar with all our products and even research on better ways that our products can be of value.
● AS A STARTUP WITH MUCH ACHIEVED, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?
In 5 years, I envision that JOYA would be a brand that would be in every homes all across the nation and beyond. We believe so much in what we do and we know that if we stay steadfast, the world will
soon see what we are seeing.
● WHO ARE THE PROFESSIONALS YOU LOOK UP TO IN THIS CHOSEN FIELD AND WHY DO YOU FOLLOW/LEARN FROM THEM?
I look up to Tara Durotoye, she is an entrepreneur as well as a makeup artist. She has come to inspire
me a lot because she thought outside the box- she didn’t stop at selling what people already manufactured but went further to manufacture instead. That is a huge step for me being that she’s also a woman and is as fearless as this.
Apart from her, I study people who are doing what we are already doing but have gone ahead and are making waves. I study their paths, their stories, their growth, mistakes and how they have been able to rise above them.
● WHAT IS YOUR CANDID ADVISE TO ALL STARTUPS, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN YOUR CHOSEN NICHE
My advice is to enjoy your journey to the top. Don’t be carried away with praises and accolades because
you are not at your bus-stop yet. Keep moving. In this business, you would cry, feel bad, wonder if you chose the right niche, you would question your passion but stay there. You never can tell when the last
strike at the rock would give you a diamond.
Also, don’t feel too big to serve. Keep researching and remember that business is “sharp sharp”- Act promptly because there are thousands of others with the same ideas as you!
Thank you for reading, join us here next Monday for another interview.
Breaking Frontiers is an organization headed by four partners all below 25 years of age aimed at aiding Nigerians see greatness within themselves and within their reach by laying platforms for information dissemination and engaging key resource persons from various field of life to enlighten our participants and help build their capacity and productivity. Her scope is Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Emotional Intelligence, Health, Finance, Entertainment.
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