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fna experience

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

I was first informed by a Business Colleague, Mr. Wale Abba who also happens to be nominated in a special category of his own (Best use of Technology in Nigeria) and then later by a good friend, Adeola A*. I didn’t believe it until I saw it myself – yours truly, Mr. Buttons aka Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade was nominated to be a recipient for the Future Awards 2010 “Business Owner of the Year” Award. I was highly honored to have been considered and nominated for this new, but apparently, prestigious award.

I didn’t know a lot about them, but they’re (as I was told) quite famous back home. If you would like to know more about them, The Future Nigeria mission, vision and general information can be found on their website and blog. All I can say is glory to God! I’m very happy. Even if I don’t win, just the consideration for an award, and the recognition was an honor.

Here’s the list of Nominees for Season 5 of the Future Awards Business Owner of the Year:

Oghenekaro Agono (Tremor Perfect)
Erefe Fynecountry (Deheney Services)
Debola Lewis (Yvent Couture)
Ayo Arigbagbu (Dada Books)
Hassan Rilwan (Focal Point Publishing)
Henry Oraika (Motomedia)
Uyi Omokaro (DM2)
Sylvester Kay-Adade (Pearl Creations)

Anyway, Pearl Creations got a call from Rick N*, an executive in the FNA team. He seemed very polite and polished. He asked for my personal email address and mobile number to keep me informed on the developments as the awards proceed. He said I had a Certificate of Nomination that I or someone I send may pick from their office on my behalf; and that there was also a luncheon/dinner for all the nominees on December 18th; which I obviously missed because I didn’t know about it and I wasn’t in Nigeria at the time. He asked, and I provided him with my email address. The next day, I received an email from the Future Nigeria Awards with a form asking all these questions about me and the company. I was a bit skeptical because of my new desire to return to my secretive and vague nature. But my mum, assured me that it was cool and legitimate as my sister went to the FNA office to collect my Certificate of Nomination.

This is the information as I filled in:

Business Owner of the Year
(Please note that when we say past one year, we mean from November 2008 till date)

 Full name: Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade

 Date of birth: May 29th, 1987

 Describe your business: Provision of button-badges for Personal use, effective Advertising and Marketing of Companies, goods and services; Promotions, Campaigns, Promotion of world peace and special occasions, holidays and international events

 How long have you been running this business: 2 years (in January, 2010)

 How big is the business is now: Pearl Creations is based in Ontario, Canada, but also operational in Lagos, Nigeria

 How many staff do you have: Three (3) Employees

 How many people do you work with/pay that are not staff: Two (2) Partners

 What are the challenges you have faced in the past one year:
1. Discouragement and Criticism from some colleagues who didn’t understand how profitable a $2.00CAD/$2.50CAD product could be.
2. Products given poor credibility due to my race/ethnicity.
3. A couple of rejection response letters from Comic Stores, Film Companies, Theaters, and Cinemas when I would write countless letters asking them to purchase or grant a contract to make buttons especially for movies like Watchmen, Spiderman etc or for their Online Stores.
4. No response from Banks, Companies, Conglomerates when I suggested buttons as new marketing strategies or as gifts to kids & customers for Christmas, during promos.

 How have you overcome them?
1. Endless prayers and faith
2. Encouragement from Family and Friends
3. Relentless Optimism and Drive
4. Supportive Customers
5. Positive Attitude
6. Taking necessary steps to prove Pearl Creations’ worth and credibility

 What expansion/growth/changes has the business experienced in the past one year: From just selling buttons to friends, to supplying buttons to Groups and Organizations within Hamilton, to supplying buttons to individuals, International Events and Companies within Canada, the PR of China, United States, Nigeria, Mexico, England, and now, we’re global.

 What companies have you worked for/what jobs have you done in the past one year:
Worked with:
1. The Invisible Children
2. The 2010 Business Network for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
3. Cure Canada

 Done Jobs for:
1. The Hope for David Charity Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada]
2. i-Rep Fashion Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada]
3. Ontario Universities’ Competition for Hip-Hop (O.U.C.H.) 2008 Dance Off [Hamilton, ON, Canada]
4. University of Lagos Engineering Faculty [Lagos, Nigeria]
5. University of Windsor African Union [Windsor, ON, Canada]
6. The Legacy Festival’s B.H.M. Event [Toronto, ON, Canada]
7. The McMaster African Students’ Association (M.A.S.A.) [Hamilton, ON, Canada]
8. Erindale College African Students’ Association (E.C.A.S.A.) [Mississauga, ON, Canada].

 How profitable has it been in this same period: Very Profitable

 Any awards: None, but a couple of Recognitions and Certificates

 Any other thing you do by the side: The Parent Company of Pearl Creations is The SKA Group; and it will be starting up “Suave Clothing” soon which will be making Dress Shirts, Suits and Ties; and selling classic Watches (partnering with LR Watches), Cufflinks, Tie Clips and Belts from Reputable Designers and Jewelers like Cartier, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

 Please provide us with at least one reference, or someone you can vouch for your work:
1. Suzanne B* (+1-905-526-****): Columnist, The Hamilton Spectator
2. Jennifer A* (+234-702-528-****): University of Lagos (UNILAG) Engineering Alumni
3. Mobola R* (+1-519-991-****): President, University of Windsor African Union 09/10

 Any other information we need to know (that could help your nomination):
1. Pearl Creations is the official button-badges Supplier for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and Past Supplier for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
2. Pearl Creations and I were featured in The Hamilton Spectator (the biggest and most widely read newspaper in the city), by GidiNoize and by Be-e.
3. We make monthly donations to the Juravinski Cancer Centre Foundation and World Society for Animals.

FYI voting was done online by selecting  Sylvester Kay-Adade (Pearl Creations) in the “Business Owner of The Year” Category via link, and by SMS by “TFA (space) Sylvester Olusola Adade (space) Business Owner of the Year” via 33120 for Nigeria, 81696 for the UK and 97605 for the US.

The Award Ceremony was strictly by invitation and since I knew I wouldn’t be attending, I had 2 invitations sent for my mom and sister. The name of the invitee was on the reverse side. I think it was a very creative invitation. I liked the classy look and the old english font used. My sister kept me informed the whole time via bbm. According to her, the venue was very crowded with lots of celebrities around. She sent me photos of crowd while she was in line, and another of mum and her once they were seated.

        

 

When she informed me that I didn’t win, she sounded so upset (and apparently she was very upset), but she quickly got over it after she realized she had so many artistes to mingle and take photos with. Anyway, I was happy for whoever won. I had a “may the best man win” mentality. We were all very innovative so I feel anyone of us deserved it. I actually thought it was going to be either Hassan or Henry who would win as I felt they were my closest rivals – to my surprise, they didn’t win either! The winner was: Debola Lewis, C.E.O. Yvent Couture.

I checked a couple of blogs for the winners’ list since it hadn’t been put on their (Future Nigeria Awards) blog or website when the event was over. I found it eventually:

LIST OF FUTURE NIGERIA AWARDS 2010 WINNERS

Actor of the Year —> Kemi Lala Akindoju

Best Use of Advocacy —> Tolu Sangosanya (Dustbin Estate Children)

Best Use of Science —> Ify Aniebo (Research in malaria)

Best use of Technology —> Bade Adesemowo (Bincom)

Business Owner of the Year —> Debola Lewis (Yvent Couture)

Creative Artist of the Year —> Adekunle Samuel Owolabi

Excellence in Public Service —> Fatima Zara Modibbo (Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria)

Journalist of the Year —> Ruona Agbroko (NEXT)

Magazine of the Year —> Sound City Blast

Model of the Year —> Warebi Martha

Musician of the Year —> M.I.

Music Producer of the Year —> Jesse Jagz

On-Air Personality of the Year (Radio) —> Matse Uwatse (Wazobia FM)

On-Air Personality of the Year (TV) —> Andre Blaze (Nigezie)

Professional of the Year —> Ifunnaya Maduka (Dean of Students, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls)

Screen producer of the Year —> Kenneth Gyang (“Finding Aisha”)

Sportsperson of the Year —> Janet Dung (Athletics)

Style Entrepreneur of the Year —> Linda Ikeji (Blackdove Communications)

Team of the Year —> Africa Youths Unite for Change

Young Person of the Year —> Ify Aniebo (Scientist)

From all indications, it seems I should be happy I didn’t go all the way to Nigeria to attend,  because contrary to what I was told and made to think of the awards, just like everything else, politics was the rule of the day. Anyway, congratulations to the Management of Yvent Couture on the 2010 Business Owner of the Year Award, as well as all other winners!

Hahaha I just saw some very interesting comments on a website – here are some of the comments and reactions to the list as made on Olamild Entertainment. I think one of them was made by one of my very protective & loving sisters, or the sister of someone with sisters like mine lol. Enjoy!

Anonymous #1 said:
Alright, now I just lost all faith in the so-called Future Awards. Debola Lewis is a sponsor of the Awards, but yet he was nominated for Business Owner of the Year category. This is his 3rd nomination and they finally awarded it to him. Shame on Future Awards and they better not nominate my brother next time. The lady that won last year was nominated thrice too. Shame on the Future Awards Organizers…. Nigerians will never change.

Anonymous #2 said:
Chocolate City is all over the list…I suspect foul play o.

Anonymous #3 said:
Please who are all these people? I am a very active young professional, but I have never heard nor seen any of these above except MI and Jesse Jagz. Please Future Awards this Awards is a total flop!

Anonymous #4 said:
This award is done by group of friends just to celebrate themselves in the name the future awards.

Anonymous #5 said:
The Future awards sucks..they only nominate people who can help them and friends.

Well, at least Pearl Creations got some publicity out of it by being a nominee, and also a sponsor of the event. We supplied them free “Nigerian Coat of Arms” button-badges. In the end, more of Nigeria got to know about Pearl Creations, and to me, that is more than enough. I’m grateful to God, and I know there will be more nominations and bigger awards to win 🙂

young boss

January 19, 2010 15 comments

Guess who is a nominee for the Future Awards 2010 “Business Owner of the Year” Award? 😀

I did an interview earlier on and it was for a closer look at this year’s nominees. This was my close up:

Sylvester Olusola Kay-Adade
The 22-year-old owns Pearl Creations (a subsidiary of The SKA Group), which he started two years ago, after moving to Canada in August, 2006 to complete his tertiary and medical education at McMaster University. This company essentially makes two (2) products: button-badges and lapel pins. It provides button-badges for personal use, effective advertising and marketing of Companies, goods and services; promotions, campaigns, special occasions, holidays and international events
Pearl Creations, which has 3 employees, is based in Ontario,Canada, but also operational in Lagos, Nigeria. Despite poor credibility due to his race, rejection letters from comic stores, film companies, movie theaters, and cinemas when who he approached for contracts to make buttons he now supplies buttons to groups and organizations within Hamilton, and supplies buttons to individuals, international Events and Companies within Canada, the PR of China, United States, Nigeria, Mexico and England, in the past one year working with The Invisible Children, the 2010 Business Network for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, and Cure Canada. He has also had as clients, the Hope for David Charity Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada], i-Rep Fashion Show [Hamilton, ON, Canada], Ontario Universities’ Competition for Hip-Hop (O.U.C.H.) 2008 Dance Off [Hamilton, ON, Canada], the University of Lagos Engineering Faculty [Lagos, Nigeria], the University of Windsor African Union [Windsor, ON, Canada], the Legacy Festival’s B.H.M. Event [Toronto, ON, Canada], the McMaster African Students’ Association (M.A.S.A.) [Hamilton, ON, Canada] and the Erindale College African Students’ Association [Mississauga, ON, Canada].
The Parent Company of Pearl Creations is The SKA Group; and it will be starting up “Suave Clothing” soon which will be making dress shirts, suits and ties; and selling classic watches (in partnership with LR Watches), cufflinks, tie clips and belts from reputable designers.

I did yet another interview for the Future Nigeria Awards again today. I’m told this one is for a press release for a Newspaper. I have never done so many interviews in my life in one stretch. I guess it’s important to do as many as possible. After all, it is a medium through which people can read and know my story. Anyway, the Future Nigeria Awards 2010 has been set for Sunday, February 7th, 2010. I plan to be there, but it is still uncertain. I think I should though. The publicity, not to talk of the opportunity to meet and mingle numerous Nigerian celebs and public figures. I love to make Pearl Creations and The SKA Group ring in their ears lol. Anyway, here’s interview:

INTERVIEW

I’m Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade, President of The SKA Group. For the purpose of this interview, I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Pearl Creations.

1. What business do you do?
Pearl Creations manufactures and sells two (2) Products: Button-Badges (All-Me Buttons and National Buttons) and Magnetic Lapel Pins (Mag*Lapels). Both are used for Advertising, Awareness, Campaigns, Personal & Corporate Use, and as Fashion Accessories & Collectibles/Souvenirs at Local, National and International Events.

2. How did this begin?
It all began with an idea a good friend of mine, Sombiri and I had planned for Nigeria’s 45th Independence Day Celebration, but unfortunately, we couldn’t actualize it due to several setbacks. Sometime in late 2007, I remembered the buttons idea and since I was in Canada, I figured I could give it a shot. I had access to a lot of the resources we lacked then so I discussed starting up the business with my friend, but he had moved on into other things so I continued on my own. I researched buttons designing, the materials needed, the machinery, company registration etc. and began operation in January 2008.

3. Your educational background?
I attended ABC Nursery Land, Ilupeju, and then I transferred to St. Mary’s Private School, Agele. I had my secondary school education at Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos. I attended Covenant University for a year, and then transferred to Houdegbe North American University, Republic of Benin and was there for 2 years. Finally, I transferred to Canada, through Southern Ontario College, Hamilton, Ontario to continue Medicine. I’m presently in my 3rd year of Health studies at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

4. Why did you choose business over a 9 to 5 job?
I never thought I had it in me, but a couple of things factored this decision. For one, I always never liked the idea of working for someone. One of my philosophies is: “Why use your brain to get paid a fraction of what you’re making for someone when you can use it to work and make money for you?”
The drive to pursue entrepreneurship was instilled into me at Covenant University through a compulsory course called Entrepreneurial Development Studies (E.D.S.).
When I decided to, an older friend encouraged me by saying, “with a job, you earn a certain amount every 30 days; with a career/owning a business, you make varying amounts almost daily”. Personally, I like the challenge of pushing myself and being my boss.

5. Was starting up easy?
No. It’s never easy and it wasn’t for me either. I had to become very thrifty and save painfully, but the commitment has paid off.

6. What challenges did you encounter?
I made a number of mistakes and bad decision, but in a nutshell, criticism, masked racism, near bankruptcy and self.

7. How did you combat these challenges?
I don’t think one can ever rid oneself of criticism. I actually like constructive criticism, i got a lot of it and it helped me improve my business. I listen to what everyone tells me, but not necessarily act on it though.
My father once told me, “people will always try to put their fingers in your business. Learn to know who’s being helpful and who’s not”.
I had a tough time proving myself as credible person as a young black man, and as a trustworthy person being a Nigerian (as we have a certain stereotype). I was turned down a lot because of this, but I pushed on and was unrelenting. Bankruptcy was partly due to bad early business decisions and self. I learnt good decisions the hard way and in time. As for self, I started living a lavishly expensive lifestyle after I made my first lump sum, but came to myself when I almost hit rock bottom. Now, by God’s grace, with more than I had then, I’m remain humble and the thriftiest businessman my age!

8. How did you source your start-up funds?
Simply saving and staking up for the rainy day. In my case, the rainy day eventually happened to be the start of Pearl Creations.

9. What are your achievements?
I have experience great growth in such a short time and I am thankful to God for that.
My achievements all started with being published in the Hamilton Spectator (one of the biggest and most widely read newspapers in Ontario); that gave me an edge and some credibility.
As a result of that, I was registered as a/the Supplier of Button-Badges for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics; that gave me an early leverage and I was made Partner Supplier of Flag Badges (the National Buttons) for 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with a standing contract.
I recently became a certified member of the Vancouver 2010 Business Network. Presently, a Nominee for Business Owner of the Year Award in the Future Nigeria Awards 2010.
I have also worked with the Organizing committee of the Ontario Universities Competition of Hip Hop (O.U.C.H.) Dance Off in 2009. I partnered with The Legacy Festival for their 2009 Black History Month Event, with the Invisible Children for their annual Peace of Chic Fashion Show in 2009, with the University of Windsor African Union for the 2008 African Culture Show, and its Nigerian Students’ Association for the Nigerian 48th Independence Gala, with the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Erindale College African Students’ Association (E.C.A.S.A.) for Sync-Afrique 2009, with the McMaster African Students’ Association (M.A.S.A.) for Afro-Fest 2008 and 2009.
When I introduced the buttons in Nigeria in December 2008, I underestimated the reception. In January 2009, I was awarded a Contract, to supply the University of Lagos Engineering Faculty with Graduation Memorabilia/Souvenirs. The same month, practically became the unofficial Supplier of button-badges to, Covenant University. The Nigerian youth are presently our second largest market.

10. Any low points?
Of course! I experienced some rejections; and was going to shut down.
Even with the Olympics and winter Olympics, it wasn’t that easy. I had to write letters to and call different people, pitch ideas, give suggestions etc before I was accepted. I also had a couple of brilliant ideas of new movie-themed buttons that would probably accepted and purchased from Cinema Houses, but the proposals were rejected by McDonald’s, Warner Bros, Marvel and the likes over and over again. Most Cinema Houses actually liked the ideas though, but informed most of them too late. There was a big improvement with “the twilight saga: new moon” movie. I’m hoping it was the start of a beautiful partnership.

11. Apart from God, what else has been instrumental to the survival of your business?
Optimism, determination, my Parents and Sisters, my Partners- Alice and Levi; and some very special friends like Pelumi, Mobola, Toyosi, Teni, Doris, Adeola, Fade, Nnamdi, Kasope and others that rather stay anonymous.

12. Have you reached the point where you missed a regular, rewarding employment?
This epiphany powers me – why use your brain and get paid a fraction of what you’re making for someone else, when you could use it to work and make money for yourself. I haven’t missed a regular employment. I like that fact I have control, define my goals, set my limits and have freedom to do as I wish.s much as a try not to, there times where I have had to delay some certain orders because of clashing deadlines or amounts, but never missed or declined an order.

13. Have you reached the point where you declined an order?
As much as a try not to, there times where I have had to delay some certain orders because of clashing deadlines or amounts, but never missed or declined an order.

14. What inspired you to do this?
I guess a quest for independence, to make a mark, to encourage others, and a thirst for the unknown.

15. Has the business given you time for other personal things?
I’ve learnt t manage by time efficiently though in the beginning I had very little time for socializing because I was juggling school and business.

16. A word of inspiration for others starting up?
Well, number one, have faith and trust in God.
Keep your dream alive. Be optimistic. Believe in yourself and ability. Start small.
Develop the entrepreneurial eyes and open them to the numerous possibilities around.
Make sacrifices and use of every chance and opportunity to showcase yourself, you might never get a next time. Be friendly, socialize and introduce yourself you never know you will be meeting.
Use criticism as stepping blocks. See them as challenges to re-invent and improve yourself, image and business. The world is very competitive so make sure you always have the edge. Put your brain to work and keep coming up with new ideas and innovations.
Never ever give up on yourself. Remember, winners never quit, and quitters never win.

Link to the Original

That was it! I called my mum and asked her to buy a copy, but I believe she bought 3 or 4 copies lol. I love her!

less is more

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment

For the longest time, I’ve had this gift – people feel free to tell and entrust me with their deepest, darkest secrets. Even though I never would. I was reserved and secretive about my life and everything that has to do with me. I wouldn’t even talk about my family! When did that all change? How did I allow my life become such an open book?

Within the past 3 – 4 years of my life, I decided to open up. It was sort of liberating at first. I got more “friends” because I let more people in and they got to know more about me. Now, I think I’m a little too open or should I say a lot more open.

I recently did an interview in which I opened up a lot more than usual. I did it mainly because I wanted to be open with my fans. I wanted them to get to know the real Mr. Buttons. Even though it was loved and widely read, most of the later reviews centered on the provision of excess info. I still didn’t think so even after reading it again and again. It was at that instance I realized that may be I’ve become so open, that I couldn’t even see it!

That is why I’ve decided the GidiNoize interview would be my last in depth interview on personal information. I’ve realized that as much as my fans would love to know about me, I need to keep a little mystery to my life and affairs.

Further more, as much as I believe I’m loved, I’m sure I’m equally disliked; so the less known, the better for me….in the long run. One needs to be careful as the world can never be rid of haters. For example, after my nomination for the 2010 award of business owner of the year in the future nigeria awards, someone had this to say, “Who or what is Mr Buttons..and why should I vote him or his product as best business owner of the year? How has the product impacted on the present and future of Nigeria? I took a look at the website…if this dude had operated from Nigeria, he may have had a poor case, but from all indications he actually operates from Canada; even his business terms are in dollars. I can only hope that this award is restricted to Nigerians who believe in Nigeria enough to actually LIVE AND TRY TO DO business there”. That was by far the harshest (at the time), but not the first; and I’m certain it won’t be the last. I’ve had tons of criticism over time and learnt that not everyone will care about/like/love you. In time, I’ve become immune to such and don’t let mundane comments get to me.

People say all sorts, but I’m not moved or upset. Actually, I’m sort of flattered! Everyone has a right to their opinion(s). A colleague of mine once said,”I will hate not to be hated”. I think I concur. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not “hated”, there’s nothing worth being envious about you. Not to dwell on the negative, there were also lots helpful comments offered. Someone actually appreciated me being open – this is his first time meeting the open me lol, and this is what he had to say: “The openness about you is a plus…makes you real…human…it let’s people know that real people exist that make real impact. Fictitious folk will exist, but watch those real ones soar…mahn do they soar/fly! See them shine as the stars in heaven!”. I thought it was sort of funny, but helpful nonetheless.

I like to thank all those who offered constructive criticism and gave advice on what to offer and leave out in future interviews. Special thanks to my friends – Pelumi A*, Teni O*, Toyosi I*, Rachel A* and ‘Mobola R* for your love, support, encouragement and bluntness!

Well, I’ve changed my perspective on life and things in general. I have a new belief system. A part of this new system is the believe that the only thing constant in life is change; and a reinvention is brewing…come 2010.