PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF: My name is Adewale Aladejana, and I am the master perfumer for Sapphire scents.
Sapphire scents is a proudly made in Nigeria line of fragrance. What we basically do is, we scout the Middle East for rare fragrances and we bring the raw attars. ‘Attars’ means concentrated perfumes. We scout from; Afghanistan, Saudi, Dubai, Pakistan, Asia; like Indonesia. We bring them to Nigeria and create fragrances with them.
WHY THE NAME SAPPHIRE: I got sapphire from the bible. Isaiah 54 vs. 11. When God said “I will make your foundations with sapphires”.
I discovered that sapphires are actually very solid kind of rocks. And I felt like, that’s a good name. You know, everything that is meant to last must have a good foundation.
WHAT IGNITED THE SPARK IN YOU TO START UP A PERFUME BUSINESS?
I have always loved fragrances; it’s actually a gift from God that I never knew I had until 2014. It was my wife’s birthday, and I wanted to make it special for her. So I got her a phone and a gold chain. By the time I got those, my salary had finished. Also, my wife and i had just welcomed our first daughter, she was about two months then. SO; I thought to myself, I need to do something to make more money.
Then; I had a couple of friends that come from Dubai, they were using OUD, a really nice fragrance and it was different. I asked one of my friends who was coming from Dubai to get me a bottle of the fragrance. And the idea came to me, like why don’t I start selling this fragrance? So I kicked it off with about four bottles and a capital of 30,000 naira. Surprisingly i was making great sales on daily basis.
I was also creative about it; I did a lot of research, and advertised on social media.
Lots of people could tell that this guy was selling something, but they didn’t know what it was. So most people started buying out of curiosity. And in three months I had made like a million naira and by the end of that year, I resigned from my job of four years.
HOW LONG HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN IN OPERATION – My business has been in operation for less than two years. Before now, I use to work at the TY Danjuma foundation. I started as an intern, then I was made a full staff, got posted to the Edo office in Benin. From there, I was brought back to Abuja, which was where I resigned.
HOW DID YOU FUND IT AT STARTUP? – Although I had investors, but like I earlier stated, I kicked off with about 30,000 Naira and we also have our registration package for distributors.
WOULD YOU SAY THE PERFUMERY BUSIINESS IS PROFITABLE? – Yes, the perfumery business is very lucrative.
WHAT DETERMINES THE PRICE RANGE OF EACH BOTTLE OF SAPPHIRE SCENTS? – OUD is like wine. Some wine they say are vintage, some they say are new wine. Vintage wine will always be more expensive because; the older the wine, the better it taste. Same thing goes for OUD, because it’s made from wood chips. That’s what determines the price. The more aged the wood is, the more expensive the perfume.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF BEING AN ENTRPRENUER? – I think being able to call your own shots. Not getting paid only 12 times in 365 days, which to me is very exciting. Being able to look at something, and say OK, I want this and you can buy it without having to wait till the end of the month for some salary. And of course being able to do what you love.
ANY RISK INVOLVED IN THE PERFUMERY BUSINESS? – Well, the bible says, ‘Those who go into deep waters see the wonders of God’. That’s my scripture for risk. There is a lot of risk involved. But God has been so faithful to us.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A VERY SPIRITUAL PERSON? Spirituality to me is applying what the bible says to your life. So in that sense, I will say I am a very spiritual person.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE TOP FIVE KEY ELEMEMTS OF STARTING AND RUNNING A SUCCESFUL BUSINESS? –
Love what you do.
Nobody will support your business unless you support it yourself. You have to take it to a level that people will want to be part of it and relate with it. Perception is very important, and the way you present your brand matters a lot. The difference between a mama put and a five star restaurant is basically the packaging. And perception, is stronger than reality.
Put God first, I have noticed that the business world is not a normal sector. If it was, everybody will be making it in business.
Something tells me, that money is spiritual.
At sapphire scents we are very spiritual people. We pray together every day, we fast on Tuesdays. We try as much as possible to keep the business close to God. And another thing I will say is, believe in Angels. God is important to business.
Relationships – There is no money without relationships, God won’t come down from Heaven to assist you. He will use people.
Integrity – Be a man of your word. People buy you first before anything. If people know you can’t be trusted, then they can’t trust whatever you are selling. John D’ Rockefeller said something, he said, “the best capital, a young man can have is a good name”. By the grace of God, I think I have been able to build a good reputation for myself over the years. So when the business came up, it wasn’t difficult for people to trust me and my business. So the perception and impression you send to people, even on social media is very important.
STAFF STRENGTH? I just have an assistant. But we are starting a factory very soon that is where the man power will be needed. But we have 134 distributors in 19 states of Nigeria, in the US, the UK and the Cameroon.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN 20 YEARS? – Let me start with my 2020 dream. In 2020, I am going to be on the Forbes list, as a God made billionaire and it will be achieved through the sale of perfumes. So in 20 years, I think we are going to be one of the future 500 companies. I have no doubt about it.
HOW OLD ARE YOU? I am 32. I will be 33 this year.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO REBUILD YOUR CAREEER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? – I think I would just have started selling perfumes earlier.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU? – Success to me, is being able achieve my dreams, being able to make happen the things I desire.
FAVOURITE FRAGRANCE FROM YOUR COLLECTION – Wow, that’s hard, because all of these fragrances are handpicked by me. As a master perfumer for sapphire scents, I sample about 200 different types of perfume, and i comeback with; 14 to 22 types of fragrances. So selecting my best would be hard.
But right now, I am feeling this one called OUD AFGHANO, I think it’s so hot. And it goes for 30,000 naira.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED – I have been married for three years now, and my marriage is blessed with two daughters.
HOW DO YOU RELAX – I am a movie person, I love movies. And I love water front views. I love to just sit there and watch the wonders of God.
Jane – I am going to find out how good you are with perfumes. I will spray my perfume on her wrist, and you will tell me the name.
S.S – I hope I know it. It smells like Perry Ellis
Jane – YEA; you are right.
S.S – OMG, are you serious? My nose is good. Are you kidding me? OMG! WOW! Am talented o
WORD OF ADVICE FOR UPCOMING ENTREPRENUERS? – Stay with what you love, and don’t let people tell you otherwise. When I started my business, I had people say, don’t sell perfumes, who is going to buy?
But, thank God, I didn’t stop.