Social entrepreneur Mrs Rosemary Orok Oyo is our entrepreneur of the month. The young mother of one and CEO of Teddies popcorn who takes pride in offering value to her society took us on an in dept look into her business circle and her articulate ideologies on being successful in business.
Enjoy the read.
Who is Rosemary?
Mrs Rosemary Orok Oyo is a graduate of Environmental Education where she specialised in Tourism and Eco-Management. She is a social entrepreneur who takes pride in offering value to her society. She is a Christian, writer, motivational speaker with a good leadership and managerial skills. Rosemary has entrepreneurship training from YOUWIN Nigeria, CBN South-South entrepreneurship program and Easy Business Millionaire Hunt program by Etisalat.
Take us through your background?
I was born with my twin in the mid 80s to my wonderful parent, Chief & Chief Mrs Emmanuel Ekeng Ita (KSM). I attended Sacred heart nursery school and obtained my SSCE from Federal Government Girls College, Calabar. I graduated from the university of Calabar in 2010 and got married in 2011 to a wonderful guy who is also a twin and we are blessed with a cute son.
After my graduation from the CBN south south entrepreneurship centre, I intended to expand my fashion retail business into maternity and kiddies outfit so I did my business registration and the name was changed from Cita Exclusive Outfit to Teddies World. In January 2015, I employed a new sales representative who told me about popcorn business and how the business was quite lucrative. I took out some time to pray about it and I had the leading to start the business with a different concept. That was how Teddies popcorn started on the 6th of February 2015 with chocolate popcorn as our flagship product and currently, we produce up to ten varieties of popcorn.
Take us through the value proposition of Teddies popcorn.
- -Nutritious and healthy popcorn that contains vitamins, fibre, iron and antibacterial. E.g Dried-fruit with popcorn, Honey popcorn, Avocado oil popcorn.
- -Ingredients used in some popcorn helps in digestive problems, cold, weight loss and strengthens immune system. E.g Ginger/garlic spiced popcorn and Cinnamon popcorn.
- -Sugar free and oil free popcorn using our hot popper machine.
- -Well packaged popcorn
- -Offer tailor-made packs to suit all occasion.
There are a lot of other popcorn brands why should I choose teddies.
There are many players in popcorn industry including those on the street but Teddies popcorn offers the most nutritious and well packaged popcorn. Variety is the spice of life and that is what we are known for. We add colour to any event especially kiddies event using our branded Teddies popcorn mascot.
With 10 varieties of popcorn; which of these is your bestseller?
Chocolate popcorn is our bestseller, a lot of our customers love the chocolate taste which is very outstanding.
Who are your customers?
Teddies popcorn have identified two distinct customer segments to target. The first segment consists of children between the ages of 1-17 years old and they are not income earners. They are targeted through birthday parties, kiddies events and school events. The second segment consists of adults between the ages of 18-60 years old. They are income earners and the actual buyers. This segment is targeted through wedding receptions, seminars and networking events, cinema, picnics, parties, church events.
How did you start?
After I carried out my research on popcorn business, I started Teddies popcorn with the sum of N85,000 with the same staff who was managing my fashion business. Then we had four varieties of popcorn and as we grew, I kept trying out different recipes to add to our menu. As demand increased, I employed more staff and got more machines for production. I had to develop our logo to strengthen our brand image and I carried out strategic marketing activities in other to increase our customer base. Today, we’ve grown beyond imaginations and I can account for a good turn over. Teddies popcorn now has two franchisees and we are moving to another nation soon.
What would you have done differently if you had the lessons you learnt from the CBN entrepreneurship program earlier in life?
Knowledge is more powerful than a business idea. As an enterprising person with many ideas, EDC taught me the importance of idea screening and selection based on many factors such as profitability, technology, accessibility of raw materials, skilled labour etc. I also learnt how to develop a viable business plan after a thorough market research and analysis. If I knew all of these I would have had a well structured organisation with branches in at least 3 states in Nigeria.
From your view, what would be the most vital resources needed by an aspiring entrepreneur to start a business?
It’s probably worth nothing that in order to be an entrepreneur, you actually need to be willing and capable to continually entreprender (undertake) things. Atleast that’s what the word means. Tony Hsiesh, the Founder of zappos, once said, “Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” Truly understanding your industry is key to having success in business.
What is your take on starting businesses on bank loans?
Starting a business on bank loan is a No No for me. Before getting a bank loan, one has to consider the pay-back period and interest rate. This is probably the most critical aspect of funding a business with bank loan. Start with your savings and raise money from friends and family who believe in your vision.
How has doing business in Calabar impacted on your business acumen?
Doing business in Calabar has a lot to do with patience and perseverance. People are witnessing a lull in business and several reasons have been adduced for the situation, topping the list is the high rate in taxation. To be successful in business, one has to be on top of his game and understand the rudiments of taxation which I did while at the EDC training. Other than that, Calabar is an amazing place with lovely people. My business success can also be attributed to having a good understanding of the environment, the mindset of the people and their buying pattern. With these understanding, I can make profit forecast based on seasons.
What is the best thing about Calabar in relation to your business?
Give the people in Calabar a good product or service in an organised packaged and you are in business.
Final advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
My final advice for aspiring entrepreneur is Believe in yourself. As Henry Ford famously said, “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. Believe that you can succeed, and you’ll find ways through different obstacles. If you don’t believe, you’ll just find excuses.
Who is your favourite person in Calabar?
My favourite person is the leadership of the state. His action and inaction has the ultimate impact in my business and environment. If you understand the relationship between government and business, you will understand my drift.
It’s a wrap. We hope you enjoyed your read and learnt a thing or two. If you have an amazing story like Rosemary, please do get in touch with us. The entrepreneur of the month series is a continuous platform to share the amazing talents from the Calabar business environment. We are looking forward to your story.
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