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mr. buttons

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It has been a while since my last interview in 2008. I’m a bit excited and thrilled lol. I’m being interviewed by a young lady, Bunmi Adeyinka, who I got to meet through Labake F*. The interview will be published later on today, but I felt you should have a quick sneak peek. I have altered a few minor details, but it is basically the same. I feel like I might have said too much, but I tend to think that because of my reserved nature, so please let me know, okay? Enjoy!


Sylvester Kay-Adade is a force to be reckoned with and should be an inspiration to every young Nigerian. He started small, got discouraged by many, but he didn’t allow them get to him. Today, he speaks with the likes of the CEO of FIFA’s branding company on a one on one basis, he won a contract with Beijing Olympics, he’s been on the cover of the number one newspaper in Canada, The Hamilton Spectator, he is the CEO of ‘The SKA group’, and did I mention he is just 22. We at GidiNoize were privileged to have a word with the man in charge, Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade.

GidiNoize Interviews Sylvester Kay-Adade

He is a shrewd, dedicated, entrepreneurial, hard-working and positive Businessman.
He runs Pearl Creations, a Company whose primary product is Button-Badges, hence the name lol.

I was born May 29th, 1987 to Mr. Sylvester I and Mrs. Fehintola Adade in Lagos, Nigeria. My dad was of mixed heritage and my mum is Yoruba. I have four (4) siblings- Ronke, Anthonia, Rita and Veronica.

My educational life was quite simple till it got a little complicated. I wanted to become a Medical Doctor then Chemical Engineer then Medical Doctor again. My primary school education was at St. Mary’s Private School, Agele, Lagos. Then I got into Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. A lot of people are shocked when I mention my High School. I apparently behave nothing like the stereotypical “IJ” guy.

Next, I attended Covenant University for a year studying Computer Science/Software Engineering. I was offered admission into the Medical School at Houdegbe North American University, Republique du Benin (HNAUB). I accepted it after my first year at Covenant University. It was there I learnt to speak French, but it’s really rusty now. I spent two (2) years there before I transferred to Canada to continue.

I came to Canada in 2006 and attended Southern Ontario College for about nine (9) months. I got admission into the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and McMaster University. My dad’s best friend attended McMaster University and talked so much about it, so I decided to go there…plus it has a renowned Medical School. I’m presently in my third (3rd) year of Health Studies.


I won’t say making buttons is my thing. It’s a hobby that became a business, but also a stepping stone to achieving the bigger dreams I have.
While I was in HNAUB, I had an eccentric roommate, Som, who always had all these interesting business ideas. We got very close and he shared his idea about making button-badges for Nigeria’s 45th Independence Day Celebrations. I put in some suggestions on the design, but unfortunately, we couldn’t actualize it due to several setbacks.

Sometime late 2007, I remembered the buttons idea. Since I was now in Canada, I figured I could give it a shot since I had access to a lot of the resources we needed back then.
I did my homework- researched on buttons designing, the materials needed, the machinery, company registration etc.
When I was all set, I called Som, reminded him, told him my new ideas and assured him we could actually pull it off now. I called him a couple of times to get the ball rolling in Nigeria, but he had lost interest in the whole idea so I went along and did it on my own.

Initially, I didn’t, I got a guy, Mike who was the local button maker in my University to do a couple of Nigerian Flag buttons so I could post pictures on the group I created on Facebook and show some friends & Nigerian colleagues. Apparently, they all saw it and thought it would have been expensive, but after hearing it was just $2.00CAD, the buttons were all gone. Then I had him make some more and for other West African Countries.

Eventually, Mike stopped making buttons. He said it wasn’t a profitable venture. That prompted me to start learning how to make the buttons. Mine were weird-looking so I looked for someone else while I sharpened my skills. Which is when I met Alice; she’s British and also runs her own Company. She supplied all my buttons. It was initially just business, but we got friendly and now we’re Business Partners. She gave me tutorials, advice and tips over time. I didn’t start making mine until late 2008.

Well, there are two (2) types of Buttons: National and All-Me Buttons, and they are very different.

The concept behind the National Buttons is from the initial idea Som had; and I broadened the idea to accommodate other countries.
Being in a multicultural Country like Canada makes you realize how much people like to identify with their ethnicities and cultures, and what better way to do that than with your country’s flag? The National Buttons are buttons bearing the national flags of different countries. This gives its nationals the opportunity to be ambassadors proudly representing and celebrating their countries wherever they are on a daily basis or as frequently as they wish!

The All-Me Buttons idea came after a friend, Petra ordered some specific designs and I had to declined. Later, I realized that people like to have personal statements, names, nicknames, favourite cartoon characters, popular sayings, photos etc on buttons as well. I looked into it and came up with the name.I made Petra’s order after I began with All-Me Buttons. So, as the name implies, it has “you” all over it. They are custom-made and created to your own taste and specifications (fonts, colors, designs and size). They are more tasking to do and time-consuming so I decided to charge an extra 50 cents for them. This makes the All-Me Buttons $2.50CAD/pin and the National Buttons $2.00CAD.

When you start making your own money, there’s this rush and drive you get from it especially when business is booming. I was getting orders from within Hamilton, the US, Mexico, England, Morocco etc. It was crazy, but exciting. I started skipping classes and losing sleep in order to meet the demands and my customary ten (10) days deadline.
My grades began to suffer of course, so I decided to have a work-study time frame.

From 8am to 8pm, I would take orders, attend my classes and do my assignments in the Library. After 8pm, take a nap and then study overnight (which is when I assimilate best).
Fridays and Saturdays, I would design and make the buttons (which takes hours). In times of rigorous tests and exams, I type up all the orders with the specifications (which also takes hours) and send them via email to Alice. On Sundays, after Church services, I go back home to relax. At night, I watch my favourite TV series, movies and basically just chill.

When I have large orders, I contact another business partner, Levi. He’s Canadian and also runs his own company. He has a bigger press and more workers than I do. I’ve learnt to separate my education from business very effectively now. None overlaps the other and both are doing very well. About two (2) months ago, I got a BlackBerry smart phone which streams my emails and Facebook messages to my phone. Now, life and business a lot easier for me.

When I started, I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t know how they would react. I’m that quiet and content child that doesn’t ask for anything except I need it so when I do ask, they never hesitate. My pocket-money was sufficient such that I didn’t need a dramatic increase to start that would raise any questions. I had also been saving about $100 every month since the conception of making my variety of buttons.

I did have a lot of setbacks from some colleagues (I use friend very cautiously) who didn’t understand what I could make from $2.00CAD. They would say things like,” if I know 100 people and each of them buys a button, all I would have is $200CAD or $250CAD. What next after that?

I got discouraged a couple of times especially when I wrote countless letters to Comic Stores, Film Companies, Theatres, Cinemas to purchase make buttons especially for movies like Watchmen, Spiderman etc or for their Online Stores. I wrote to Banks, Companies, Conglomerates suggesting buttons as new marketing strategies or as gifts to kids & customers for Christmas, during promos. I either got rejection replies or no replies at all.

I still encouraged myself and decided to be aggressive and more passionate about my business. I decided to make Pearl Creations more legit and international, not just a Facebook group. I took an online tutorial on website designing and spent days making one. The initial one is nothing compared to what it is now at pearlkreations.com. I’ve redone and edited the website more than 50 times; I figured it would make me appear to be more driven. Even if I get it professionally done, it would look the same just with added creativity.

When I did tell my parents, they wanted to be assured my grades weren’t suffering; they were so proud and supportive, may be because all I told them were the success stories lol. My dad even gave me some pointers and lots of good business advice the last time I saw him before he passed into glory.

Right from primary school, my friends nicknamed me: “the sly guy” or “sly”. However, Sly is the nickname that has stuck through the years. Some say it isn’t too far from the description of my character.

Character-wise, I’m always composed, confident, easy to talk to, friendly, NEVER in a hurry, neat, meticulous, overly articulate and strategic in my actions.  I went through a grooming & etiquette school a summer when I was in Middle School which accounts for most of my gentlemanly character (others are from my dad).
I’ve been told I can be funny. I also laugh a lot, can be manipulative, sometimes naughty (which humours people) and quite sarcastic.

Emotionally, I can be way too generous and nice. On the flip side, I can also be callous, but also very caring towards my family & friends (very few of them). I hardly get angry and only three (3) things get me upset. When I do get angry, I must be have been really pissed. It could be terrible because I have the tendency to be vengeful.

My strong points, I’m a deep thinker, analytical, detailed, sharp memory and a good listener. I eat healthy, somewhat adventurous and I’ll try anything…at least once.

My hobbies are business, chess and movies. I’m quite the movie buff- I love watching movies! I watch stream them or watch them as soon as they’re out in the Cinema. Either way, I watch at least two (2) movies a week. I like 80s Music, Alternative, Classical, R & B, Soft Rock. I like basically anything that’s catchy and pleasing to the ears. I blog and follow a couple of blogs too. I don’t tweet…not yet though. I follow lots of TV series like Entourage, Fringe, House, How I met your Mother, The Mentalist, and Two & A Half Men.

Others, I’m a worker in church- The Redeemed Christian Church of God…an Usher specifically. Love the colours red, brown and green; and I’m usually in a dress shirt, jeans and a caddy.

I’m engaged to be married in May. Just kidding! I’m neither.
After my last relationship, I decided to take a break from exclusive dating for while. I don’t think I can commit to business and a lady at the same time. Both would need my undivided attention and I don’t have that kind of time on my hands; couple that with school, and it would be a disaster waiting to happen.
I don’t want to commit to anyone if I couldn’t spend enough time with her. I recently started dating though.

I think I’m pretty simple.
I like cool-headed, down-to-earth, focused, God-fearing pleasant, well-mannered and spontaneous ladies. Intellect is a huge plus. I find smart, well read ladies very sexy.
Physically, I’m usually drawn to slim, toned, fit and light-skinned ladies, but I have dated a couple of dark-skinned girls. I don’t discriminate lol.
I’m a sucker for a beautiful smile and abs too.

I play a lot of PlayStation adventure and mission video games.
I love to play I love board games especially chess and ludo; and work out.
I watch basketball and soccer whenever they’re on TV, though I’m not much of a soccer fan.
Did I mention I’m a movie buff? lol.

Yes I do. I’m already into buttons full-time…sort of.
We do buttons for the Olympics, winter Olympics and lots of movies…which is a job already. We did for Watchmen, Chronicles of Narnia 2, Star Trek, Star Wars Clones, Looney Toons, AstroBoy, XMen Origin, and just concluding the Edward & Jacob Buttons Sale for the Twilight Saga: New Moon.

As I mentioned earlier, the buttons business is just the beginning.
I’m just about completing the registration of The SKA Group in Canada. It is the Umbrella Company for Pearl Creations and some others.
I hope to develop and at least operational before I turn 32 (I’m 22 presently). You may follow on my progress, if you wish to via my personal website – skayadade.com.

I think it’s healthy to dream. I think it gives you a purpose and something to live for.
I want to have a legacy and impact the world in such a way that years after I’m gone, I’ll be a reference point.
I have big dreams, but I believe they’re not big enough because there’s no such thing as impossible!

They can be ordered on:
1. Facebook: Write your order on the wall of the Pearl Kreations’ Messenger.
2. Email: send your order to service@pearlkreations.
3. Website: send your order via the messenger on the website via link.
4. Phone:  +1 (289) 396-8864.

The key is to never give up and keep your dream alive. Remember, I mentioned I didn’t get replies? I thought it was because I mentioned I was Nigerian (everyone knows what the word is about Nigerians and Scams) in my letters so I left it out of my letters, but things still didn’t look up. Everything happens for a reason. I think it’s important never give up. To make sacrifices and take every opportunity you get to showcase yourself.

I’ll use myself as an example. I sold buttons at any event that would have me. Once, I sold buttons at a Festival in Hamilton called the Tiara Festival. It cost me $70.00CAD to get a table there, but I paid it. It went from 9:00am to about 7:00pm and I sold only about 10 – 15 buttons so I didn’t make anything close to the $70.00CAD back. Around 5:30pm when I was about giving up and packing up like a lot of the other merchants, a lady walked up to my table and asked about the buttons. So I told her and talked with a lot of enthusiasm, she smiled, gave me her notepad and told me to write my name, email, telephone number and about my buttons. She explained that she is a reporter & columnist for The Hamilton Spectator (the biggest and most widely read newspaper in the city) and that she would like to do an exclusive on me, I thought I was dreaming. She called me to come for a photo shoot and interview later on. In a week, I was a full page story in the Hamilton Spectator titled Mr. Buttons…He’s Right on the Button. That’s how I got more people, popularity and fans. I went with my signature bag for the shoot so when people saw me after then, they would ask, “you Mr. Buttons?”. Even at the bank one day, a teller asked if I was Mr Buttons and ordered for two (2) Denmark National Buttons. What I’m trying to say is even though I thought I had wasted $70.00CAD, I ended up making more than that eventually. It was the grace of God, that same article and the fact that I’m a Student that got me a contract for the Beijing Olympics cuz I started adding the link in my emails and letters to proof of my Company’s authenticity.

Secondly, be cautious and don’t underestimate yourself. I dared to write the Olympic Committee, and I got the contract…it was to co-sponsor, but beyond rewarding nonetheless. That opened doors I could have never imagined. I have talked to CEOs, some influential men and women. I have spoken to and have the mobile number of the CEO of F.I.F.A.’s branding Company. I met all these people because I went the extra mile. I wrote Warner Bros because I wanted to make Watchmen buttons, but didn’t want to get sued doing the buttons (being cautious). They didn’t say I couldn’t make and sell them in their reply to me, but they said they wouldn’t be able to buy them from me.

Thirdly, take constructive criticism & always ask for feedback from customers so you can improve and continue to impress. Apart from people writing the wall of the groups, there is a feedback section on the website where people put their views and comments. Complaints led me to expand and introduce the bigger sizes of 1.25-inches and 1.5-inches as opposed to just the default 1.0-inch buttons.

Fourthly, keep coming up with fresh ideas & innovations. Learn to develop the Entrepreneurial Eye that sees opportunities everywhere and in everything. You can read more about the ‘Entrepreneurial Eye’ via link. My experiences and some advice, you will find on my personal website.

Last, but not the least, please, please and please pray, have faith and put your trust in God.

I’ll like to thank everyone who is reading this, who has ordered and my faithful fans that order scores of buttons from me regularly. I wouldn’t have made it this far if not for all of you. Thanks for supporting, helping, believing in and encouraging me.
God bless you very much. Pearl Creations will always strive to give you the best quality button-badges and labels ever! We aim to please.

Link to the Original

So please tell me the truth, how did I do?

  1. Seyi Akinnawonu
    January 18, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    November 24, 2009 7:00 pm

    Good stuff Sola!
    I wish you all the best and I think I’ll be ordering my Buttons soon!

  2. alex b
    January 18, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    November 24, 2009 7:48 pm

    I am so proud of you Sylvester.
    I am glad you made it this far and the Lord is taking you to greater heights.

  3. Kasope
    January 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    November 24, 2009 8:30 pm

    Sly, D.B.C & Renaissance Inc. are proud of you; and wishing you all the best.
    This is just the beginning.

    Kasope Akinola,
    V.P. Renaissance Inc.

  4. Shayee
    January 18, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    November 24, 2009 8:53 pm

    Awww Sola, you’ve come a long way. I admire your determination 🙂
    May God’s blessings, mercies & favour never depart from you.
    May God grant you all your heart desires 😀

  5. Eniola O
    January 18, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    November 25, 2009 12:40am

    very brilliant….
    i must say ur answers are quite impressive
    keep livin ur dream!!
    God bless x

  6. Akin47
    January 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    November 27, 2009 3:02am

    Mehn..this guy, you are doing big things o…
    Sha tell us when the company is big enough to start selling shares…….
    More grease to your elbows!

  7. Doris E.
    January 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    November 26, 2009 7:02am

    I’m so proud of you and I’m sure your dad is too

  8. Tomy
    January 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    November 24, 2009 11:25 pm

    Nice one Shola, I’m so impressed. I pray you continue to grow in size and all the best .

  9. Omosun Basil
    January 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    November 25, 2009 12:07 pm

    Wow, lovely bro.
    Will like to learn from you.
    Wow, I’m still wondering – was this the Sylvester in IJ.
    Lovely man, the sky is your limit.

  10. Folarin
    January 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    November 26, 2009 7:02 pm

    Nice one…I wish you luck everything you do.

  11. Oshinyemi Iyin
    January 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    November 26, 2009 7:14 pm

    Hey you have done really good for yourself and that’s great.
    Rita and Ronnie are good friends of mine.
    I ordered about 20 buttons myself and I was very pleased with the results.
    I still intend ordering some more.
    I wish you all the best.
    God Bless You.

  12. Onah Okoye
    January 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    November 26, 2009 11:09 pm

    well done!!
    I’m so happy for you!!

  13. Sombiri
    January 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    January 1, 2010 10:52pm

    Sly-Dumba, nice one.
    I see you made the best out of this.
    Wish you all the best with it.
    2010 is a year for Pearl Creations.
    Remain focused, the Lord will see you through.
    (Sorry this is coming late. Just heard about this 5mins ago).

  14. bubu
    January 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    May 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    i love uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…yr sister

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