TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF
We live in a society where it is kind of wrong to say something good about yourself, people look at is as vain so I’ll try not to say too much about myself. My name is Abubakar Lawal Danmusa and I am 27 and I like to play football, I like to work out. I like looking and feeling good.
I always tell my friends that I was meant to be a Saudi Prince (jokingly, lol)
WHAT WORK DO YOU DO?
I am currently employed at The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism under the ministry of Tourism. It is government work.
And then there’s Constrix Real Estate Development, with my brothers. It is a construction and development company. My eldest brother is the MD/CEO and the one following him is the Marketing Manager and I am the Company Secretary.
Then the reason we are here, O & B Kilishi. It’s your usual kilishi, just well processed and well packaged.
Every day I think about how to make life better for people and how to make more money of course.
HOW WAS O&B KILISHI CONCEPTUALISED?
Two friends in the US decided to go out and get some snacks in the middle of the night and they saw beef jerky that was packaged and they said “this is just like the kilishi we have in Nigeria.. why can’t anyone in Nigeria make kilishi and package it like this?” and so they decided to do it. They started to look into the kilishi and how to make the packaging because that was what they felt was important in the business. The O and the B decided it was good business. They gave me a call, sent me pictures. They were doing their homework over there and I was doing mine over here in Nigeria and now we are in business.
SO WHO IS THE ‘O’ AND WHO IS THE ‘B’?
The ‘O’ is Osazuwa Osayi, our friend in Lagos and the B is Babangida Bafarawa.
YOU ARE A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AND YOU HAVE DECIDED TO PUSH A RETAIL PRODUCT ON A LARGE SCALE AND YOU ARE WORKING ON OTHER THINGS. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO TRY TO DO THINGS ON A LARGE SCALE
Two things have encouraged me. The first is Babangida (Bafarawa) who reached out to me. He is a highly motivated individual and he motivates me a lot. He comes up with ideas and he always wants to work so he pushes me and the second motivations is – you gotta eat and I love the good things in life. A fancy car, a nice wrist watch.. Nobody is giving out handout so you have to get out and make yours. Those are the two things that motivate me especially on this project. I have gone to many supermarkets and I have been rejected but accepted in others. It’s a good feeling all in all- to go out and see your product somewhere.
One of my happiest moments was on a day when I was driving and I saw an empty wrapper of O&B Kilishi on the side of the road.
HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE A VISION FOR THAT BIG THING THEY WANT TO DO.
My advice is,.. you cannot call yourself an entrepreneur if you do not have a vision and there’s a difference between having a vision and going out to get it done. So many people have ideas and they want to see their ideas turn into something big but they are afraid of making the first step. They are afraid of going out to sell their product, maybe because someone told them it is never going to happen but you can never know until you try.
Years ago, I had somebody bring in eggs for me from a farm in Zaria to Abuja and I did not tell anybody about it until all the eggs arrived in my house. About a thousand crates arrived at my doorstep in the middle of the night. I did not tell anyone because I did not want anyone to tell me that it was not going to happen or tell me about risks. I was making one hundred naira off a crate, it was decent money but the ultimate goal was to open a farm and I wasn’t very passionate about that so I left it and moved on to the next thing. But it gave me experience in selling something.
With O & B, we started from H-Medix, which was one of the biggest stores stocking our product. We started with small supermarkets in Gwarinpa and now we have Amigo (now called 4U), Exclusive stores, NEXT Cash & Carry and we will soon have our kilishi selling at Silverbird alongside popcorn.
So, I think what you need to do is believe in your product and convince people that your product is worth being in their shop.
YOU WORK AT CONSTRIX, WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS?
The best you get from working with family is constructive criticism because there are two things you consider when you get advice- either the person is hating or telling you the truth but your family will never hate on you. So whatever they tell me, I believe it is because they love me and they want to see me do things the right way. I enjoy working with my family because I am the youngest of three in the working environment and they guide me.
LAST QUESTION… IS THERE A SPECIAL WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE?
There’s a special man in her life (jokingly).
Yes I do! Her name is Nadia, we have been dating for slightly over two years now. I KNOW for a fact that she is the one. She is very reserved and that is one of the things I love most about her and I’m learning to be like her so I won’t say too much.31