*Omotade Johnson tells his inspiring journey
Don’t carry Placard because you heard that a guy or a lady who carried same got favourd. Don’t sell Agege Bread because Jumoke got discovered that way. Don’t sell Puff Puff because this young man is doing same and making a living for himself. Everybody has their area, place, location, destiny.
When this young man, Omotade Johnson, lost his banking job, he swallowed his pride and took his destiny in his hands. Today, he makes ends meet by selling puff puff at Igando bus stop in Lagos.
After losing his bank job, he resolved never to apply for any paid job again. He decided to do
something differently. He buried ego and pride, rolled up his sleeves and started the puff puff business.
“I worked with Intercontinental Bank. That happened shortly; I lost the job when the bank got liquidated and everything went flat. But, as a man, you have to work and I don’t see anything I can’t do. So that was why I joined the new trend [business]”, the resilient Johnson said.
Fortunately, when he relocated to Lagos in 2012, he met his friends who were into confectionery business and that caught his interest. Subjecting himself to learning the nitty-gritty of the vocation, he was taught by professionals in the business, who could be younger to him by age, but older by virtue of mastery of the trade. He was humble and really wanted to learn.
“The business has been on for the past 11 years; I met it in 2012, when I came to Lagos. I never went to school for it, I learnt it from my friends who were professionals in the business. Although, some of them were younger than me in age then, but that never mattered to me, because all I wanted was for them to teach me how to fry and all other things involved, which they obliged and taught me, even without demanding I should pay money for the training. So, since I joined, the business has been good; I don’t have anything to regret. I’m not lacking any money”, Johnson explained.
Unlike some who despise their occupation for the right or wrong reasons, he loves what he is doing.
“I love the business. It’s quite a profitable one. Of course, if it’s not, this my team you see working here wouldn’t have been here. Because you can’t just wake up early in morning, stay here till night without going home with something that is worth the time and you continue working”.
With his cheerful look, alluring tone and quick service delivery, he has been able to establish good rapport with his regular customers. He knows them by their names and even categorised them by the motive of their patronage.
“I’ve good and reliable customers and we are very friendly to ourselves. Some of them come to buy for personal consumption. May be, they are hungry and need something to eat, so they would decide to go for snacks. They may not want to eat heavy food at that particular time.
“We have people who buy it as appetiser; they’re waiting for the main food and need something to keep them ready. Even some take it as after-meal. You know some people like to take something immediately after their meal, not that they eat too much, but because it’s something that they are used to.
“We also have people who buy it for use at events; they want to use it to refresh their guests. Corporate organisations, like banks, do come to buy for their events, associations come as well, and those who are holding birthday parties, weddings and all such events patronize us too. They know the quality of our snacks and the level of satisfaction they get after eating it and so have no better option than to come to us. So, on the whole, our customers cut across working class people, organisations, school children, bus drivers, okada riders and roadside traders and so on,” he noted.
The affordability of the product is among the reasons why he records high patronage.
“It’s cheap and affordable to both the rich and the poor. You don’t have to pay more. The puff puff and buns go for N10 each, doughnut is N20 while egg roll is N50”.
However, contrary to the belief that the business is a tedious and demanding one, he said he finds the job very easy and interesting. For the business, rainy season is the ideal period.
“We love rainy season; that’s when the business moves well. During rainy season, people will want to take something hot because of the coldness of the weather. They like it when it’s hot to balance the body system. So during rainy season, the business is very lucrative because that’s when we make more sales.”
For Johnson and his team, the bar is raised for ‘A & B Concept’, his organisation. They dream of seeing the business flourish and become the cynosure of all eyes.
“Everybody has a dream; if God blesses us beyond, we will move A & B Concept to a state where we will be happy to see it flourish and people will want to behold it.”
– May the good Lord continue to bless the works of the hands of all hard working souls. Amen!