WOMEN WE LOVE: ABIMBOLA KUNLE-OSUNKUNLE

ABIMBOLA KUNLE-OSUNKUNLE

Today, our spotlight is shone on ABIMBOLA KUNLE-OSUNKUNLE, the banker turned jeweler.

ABIMBOLA KUNLE-OSUNKUNLE

Abimbola Kunle-Osunkunle is a banker turned jeweler left the security of her 9-5 to start a business from her dining table at home. This mother of three has since up scaled. She takes us through her entrepreneurial journey in this chat.

tw: Tell us about your business and what you do?

AKO: At Cornucopia, we design, manufacture and retail high quality handcrafted jewelry using semiprecious stones like corals, pearls, and other gemstones. Our aim is to help our clients feel elegant every day, wherever they find themselves, our pieces are timeless and versatile. A large percentage of our offerings are ready-to-wear while a small percentage is custom made, depending on the customer’s request.

We have the main showroom, three strategically located outlets where our jewelry is retailed and a website where purchases can be made directly. We want Nigerians to no longer feel the need to visit Europe, or the US to buy jewelry.

tw: What inspired you to start?

AKO: I was dissatisfied with my banking job, the long hours were telling on my young family at that time. I wanted to own my time and run my business; I knew that if I was going to be successful in any business it had to be something I was passionate about.

So I started exploring my options and discovered that I not only enjoyed jewelry making, I was also good at it, I just knew how to make jewelry people wanted to wear. I decided to resign and focus on growing the business. My decision was made easier because of the support and encouragement of my husband.

tw: Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey?

AKO: My business started on the dining table of my home, when I started, I was the designer, marketer, accountant, but as the business grew I started to employ people and assign roles. I drew on my past experience in customer service and retail banking, and this helped build a culture of customer satisfaction. As we have grown, customer satisfaction and excellent quality have remained our core value. This has given us loyal customers that would vouch for our products anywhere.

A key turning point in my entrepreneurial journey was attending the 6-month entrepreneurship course at the EDC of the Pan Atlantic University, since then I have continued to hone my business skills because creativity isn’t enough, you must be business savvy or else your business would remain a hobby.

tw: What gives you the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur?

AKO: When a customer walks into our store and express delight at finding us and their surprise when they realize everything in the store is handmade in Nigeria.

tw: What are your future plans for Cornucopia?

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AKO: My plan is for Cornucopia to become a household name for jewelry retail in Nigeria, and for us to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria to retail overseas. Our business is very labor intensive as all our pieces are handmade, and it excites me to know that as we do this, we would be doing our share of getting the unemployed off the streets, empowering people, and sustaining families.

 

tw: How do you combine family life and business?

AKO: One of the reasons I decided to have a business was because I wanted to make time for my family. For the first 4 years, we operated from home, but as we expanded, we had to move out of the house. However, I always ensure that all business locations both production and retail are close to my home. This makes it logistically easier to oversee everything. I also try to be available for my children, I’m deliberate about asking about their day, their friends, and also just talking to them about life they also know that no discussion is off limits with me. My husband is my very best friend and greatest cheerleader, together we make sure our house is a place filled with laughter.

tw: What advice can give to other start-up founders?

AKO: Don’t be afraid of starting small, but give yourself permission to dream big. I worked from home for a number of years but I never lost sight of the fact that I wanted Cornucopia’s showroom to be in a particular location in Lagos. When the time came, it happened.

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