POSTED 05/30/2018 15:37
If someone had told me that my life was going to experience this level of upgrade in 5 years, I would have doubted it. Not because I don't hustle hard. I do and I believe in progress but this change is too enormous to have come at such a short time but here we are and it is not even up to two years.
It all started more than a year ago. One day, I went about my business as usual. I sold coconut from a wheelbarrow (I still sell coconuts though). Every day, you could catch me pushing the wheelbarrow filled with coconuts from street to street. Under sun or under rain, the hustle continued non stop.
On this day, I was passing through IBB Way. Just at the front of Ibom Hall, someone called me from the opposite side of the road. I crossed immediately to the tall building to sell them my coconuts. I've made sales here before, about two or three times and they always bought my coconuts generously.
They were the main reason I liked using IBB Way. That day, after buying my coconuts they told me about a conference that was coming up and asked if I would love to partake as a vendor. Experience has taught me that you sell more with less stress if there is an event you are allowed to sell at. But these things don’t happen every day, so I readily accepted.
I didn’t really know what was in store for me. I went the next day in the evening to get the details about the event so I could know how much coconut to order from my supplier. That was the meeting that changed my life forever.
Before then, I only saw this coconut thing as a thing I was just doing to sustain myself until a better thing came up but after talking with these people, I realized that coconut is my future. Coconut is my destiny and I was born to make coconut appealing.
Before I knew what was happening, I found myself going to The Roothub every day and they accepted me into their family without any discrimination. Nobody looked down on me as the coconut seller. They allowed me mingle with them, play table tennis with them and they also shared great ideas with me - all for free. From all of this, Coconut Dreams was born.
When the event came, it was time for me to implement all these things I had learnt while mingling with them. The event was even bigger than I had imagined. StartConFest was a week-long business, creative and technology conference. The main idea of the event was to show entrepreneurs how to apply technology and creativity to grow business.
Onuk Ink, a visual communications agency in the hub (The Roothub) created my brand identity, branded T-shirts and helped me with the design of my vendor booth to give it an African shrine kind of outlook. On the opening day of the conference, I sold off one wheelbarrow within one hour even when I was selling at 10 times the normal price (Their idea which I was skeptical about). I had to tell my girlfriend to suspend school for one week and come and help me. The future had arrived.
When I called my supplier to supply 10 times what I usually bought daily and he couldn’t, I had to get a new supplier and she came through, assuring me even more whenever I needed it. She became our official supplier.
By the end of the conference, I had learnt a lot from the different inspiring sessions that were held, I had made new contacts from all over the country and we had made the kind of money I thought was not possible to make in 5 years.
At the end of the conference, we were given several invitations to different conferences all over the country to sale coconuts. My girlfriend dropped out of school on her own volition to join the family business. She runs our marketing department and she’s damn good at it.
Now, we have offices in Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Accra and more others are coming. Another StartConFest is coming in June. As usual, we have a booth and we are also in the list of official sponsors alongside Glo, IBM, Google, etc! Is that not great!?
Oh! Lest I forget, we don’t do it with wheelbarrow again, we have branded trucks and when you see us, it’s like you are seeing a real tush moving African shrine with sweet water coconuts for you…
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