Oghenekevwe Omotosho: I started Oh Wow Popcorn in my kitchen, now its selling across Nigeria

Oghenekevwe Omotosho is a graduate of computer engineering. She obtained her B.Eng at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria. She is also a creative thinker and serial entrepreneur.

Kevwe is the CEO and creative director of the unique popcorn brand – Gimme Oh Wow Popcorn & Events – makers of the popular Oh Wow! Popcorn brand. She is married with three children.

In this article, she talks about how she turned her passion for popcorn making into a business, and how she’s overcome challenges along the way.


How did you discover your passion for popcorn making?

Oh Wow Popcorn started in my kitchen. I used to make popcorn for my children and also used it to entertain guests at home. Also, I enjoyed creating new flavors of popcorn especially indigenous Nigerian flavors.

I got excited by the idea of making popcorn art and I offered the service of displaying a variety of flavors at every event, live popping or delivering to clients at their convenience.

 How did the brand Oh Wow Popcorn come about?

I realized it was going to be a business for me sooner or later when I started getting positive feedback from friends and family.

I made samples and took to my children’s’ school to do a little market research and their response was encouraging. So the journey began, it has been a massive adventure since then.

Oh Wow Popcorn was formally launched on the 14th of February 2017 and to the glory of God, we have successfully weathered our fair share of what I call teething challenges. We keep on learning our lessons on this great entrepreneurial adventure and we have come out stronger and better for it.

We are proud to have revolutionized the popcorn and snacks making industry in Nigeria - @ohwowpopcorn Click To Tweet

Do you run your business full time? What did you do before starting Oh Wow Popcorn?

I am a serial entrepreneur, I already had a few other businesses including  Myfoodsupplies and I Sabi Work before my passion for popcorn lead me to start oh wow popcorn. I am currently running the three businesses.

Popcorn making may seem easy, but what major challenge have you encountered since launching, and how did you overcome them?

It has its own challenges. The most challenging was getting a business partner. I thought working with a partner would ease the pressure of running three businesses, but unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned.

I took the bull by the horn and threw myself into building my businesses by training my staff and restructuring my time.

Another key challenge we have faced is getting acceptability for our brand of popcorn which is different from what Nigerians are used to. We have however been able to overcome this challenge.

Knowing that there are many other popcorn brands in the market, how do you make sure your brand is unique and set yourself aside from the crowd?

We stand out from other brands by being original, unique and creative. Our customer service is also excellent.

 What are you most proud of about the Oh Wow popcorn brand?

We are proud to have revolutionized the popcorn and snacks making industry in Nigeria.

Since inception, we’ve invented and introduced never seen before flavors like Kilishi popcorn and kulikuli popcorn into our specialized popcorn, and candy floss catering for various types of events.

We saw a great potential and are happy to fill the space, by making our clients’ events come alive in previously unimagined ways with our tasty and colorful creations.

When it comes to marketing, how far across Nigeria has your brand gone, and where can your products be found?

Although we are based in Lagos Nigeria, we receive orders from other parts of the country, such as Ibadan, Abuja, Ondo, and Benin.

I took the bull by the horn and threw myself into building my businesses by training my staff and restructuring my time - @ohwowpopcorn Click To Tweet

Beyond popcorn production, what else do you do as a brand?

We also cater for candy floss, ice cream, waffles, meat pie, chinchin, zobo etc.

What is your staff strength currently, and how do you manage them?

We currently have 4 permanent staff, and we also get temporary workers when necessary. I make sure everyone knows his/her job responsibility and concentrates on doing it.

How do you manage your work-life balance, as an entrepreneur?

I delegate duties to my staff and I try as much as possible to limit my work to some specific hours of the day, especially our social media management. Immediately my children get back from school.

I concentrate on being a mother and a wife, I take them through all their assignment, eating and gist time before bed. Once they’re asleep, I round up my social media engagement for the day.

What’s the next step for Oh Wow popcorn?

The next step for oh wow popcorn is to have a presence all through key cities in the country and the world at large. We look forward to being the number 1 popcorn brand in Africa catering for all types of events.

 Any advice for people with this same business idea?

I will advise you to start small, start with what you have. You may have to give a free service to showcase your work to potential clients. Your first impression can make or mar your brand

Nurture and grow your business through the early years just as you would nurture a child.

The most important tool you’ll need is your passion and drive to keep moving when the chips are down and it looks like you’re getting nowhere.

Be creative, be original, be unique.

Fill in the gap. Before the end of the year,…

I would like to have finalized all plans for the maiden edition of Oh wow popcorn day. It’s an event that would help us give back to our community. It has been scheduled for January 19th next year.


Sponsored Post.

 

Traits to Consider Before Settling on a Business Partner for your startup

You have been working for five years, in this time you have set out a plan to help you become a Motherland Mogul. The plan is getting into the business. You have gone as far as saving up for a couple of years to finance your to be start-up.

Recently, you have been toying around with various business ideas, the idea that encompasses both your passion and need to make some extra cash on the side wins.

You have looked at the various ways you can implement this business idea and realised you need a partner to do so. This could be because you are a good accountant but for the business to be a success you need a partner who will be the face of the business.

Or you are the sassy lady who is good at communication and drawing in the customers, and a manager is needed to make sure all that money you are raking in is properly managed. So currently the idea and the money are in place the only thing that remains undone is getting a business partner on board.

What are the things that you should consider to ensure you end up with the right person as a partner in your business?

Sharing the Vision of the business.

At the beginning, the business is usually just an idea. If implemented correctly, it could impact your lives and those of your clients tremendously in a positive way.

The person or people you choose to work with as partners in the business must own the vision of the business as much as you do. If your partner does not agree with you on the levels to which you want to take the business. They will always have negative vibes on the job that will result in your business losing money.

A partner is part of management, and if they are pessimistic with regards to the business, the employees will notice and get demoralised. The vision is the business. It’s what positions you strategically against competitors.

It is thus a prerequisite that before you decide to partner with someone on a business, be in sync on where you see the business going to in three months’ time or in five years’ time.

Honesty and Transparency

Honesty is a virtue that is a must-have in business. Individuals who are shrewd and unscrupulous ruin your business. You could have been saving for a really long time to start off this business or you got a loan from your bank to get it running.

Therefore, you cannot afford to lose the money or destroy your business name. It is therefore necessary to vet the person you intend to partner with. Inquire into the person’s character from others who have worked with them prior to you considering to partner with them.

If the feedback is positive you have a partner. If not, find your business train another station to disembark, as this one is a definite NO!

Hard work and Resilience

Start-ups are a mountain to climb on their own. The faint-hearted cannot survive this climb. Setting up a business from scratch is not a walk in the park. A partner will share in the business profits. This means they have to put in the work and the time needed to get the business to the top in your chosen field.

There are qualities that you will compensate for each other but working hard and smart is not one of them. One could be unquestionably talented but if they never take time to create and get their skills or work to the market no one will ever know of their talent.

Moreover, if you partner with a lazy person you will shoulder the whole burden of the business which beats the logic of having a partner in the first place.

Resilience is also key in your partner. Quitters run at the first sight of trouble. With new businesses, you will meet challenges that you never anticipated at the start of your journey. This will not mean that you quit.

Overcoming this challenges is exactly what you will need to do to solidify your position in the market.

5 things all potential business partners must consider

#WOCinTech Chat

Starting a business can seem very daunting. So, you’re not Chuck Norris. You have a great business idea or project plan and acknowledge that you have limitations. Well, that’s okay because sometimes, bringing in a business partner makes good math.

A business partnership is a marriage of sorts. So before you seal that deal, take a moment…

In my third year at university, a close friend and I decided to start up an entertainment company together. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time and we had a lot of fun as well as learned a great deal about the industry. In hindsight however, it would have been preferable to define the parameters of our professional relationship and consider a lot of the points on this list:

1. Look out for someone who brings something different to the table

It is important to approach a potential business partner who can complement you by bringing in something different whether it be financial power, business connections or a particular expertise.

Be sure to delineate the roles and responsibilities. Speaking from experience, it is never fun when one person feels like they are doing all the work. It is extremely important to draw up a founder’s agreement devoid of personal sentiments early on in the process.

There is no point bringing in someone who doesn’t have anything unique to offer. If the value proposition does not add up, ditch the thought.

2. You need to have a shared vision

Though your goals may differ to a reasonable extent (not so much that you want different things out of it), your potential business partner must buy into the vision you’re selling.

The last thing you want is a scenario where your partner is no longer passionate about the work or decides they have grown bored with the business. This is a risk that can actually happen to any business owner regardless of how pumped they are at the commencement of the venture.

However generally speaking, it is less likely that partners part ways if they both solidly believe in the vision behind a business and are committed to making it work.

3. Study them in their work environment

Seeing your potential partner in their professional element can help you better understand what it would be like working together. Do they have a good work ethic? Do you speak the same work language? Are you comfortable with their style and pace of work? The answers to these questions can help shape your decision when considering another for a partnership role.

Afua and Yasmin, SLA co-founders weigh in on what makes their partnership work:

Since we came from the same company, we have a similar working style which makes being partners very easy. It’s great having someone to collaborate and brainstorm with on new challenges.”

4. How do they handle personal crises?

Make the effort to get to know them not just on a professional level but on a personal one as well. How do they get along with friends? Are they petty and vindictive? How do they deal with the tough situations in their lives?

The last thing you want on your hands is a partner that’s messy and doesn’t know how to manage stressful situations.

5. What’s their commitment level like?

Startups are extremely tasking. In the incubation period, there’s a lot of conceptualization and planning going on. You need someone who is ready to give a 100% of themselves to the heart and soul of the business. Even if you are both unable to meet physically as often as you would like, they must be willing to keep the communication 110% just like you are. Virtual meetings, emails and instant messaging are available to compliment regular meetings.

If you notice that this person always has an excuse for not getting work done, calling like they said they would or constantly need motivation to think positively, it’s a definite red flag.

After going through this list, hopefully you feel more confident about your decision to take on a business partner. It’s a pretty exciting thing. If you have found however that you need to go back to the drawing board, that’s okay too. Like they say, better safe than sorry!