“People laugh at me for selling crayfish but my passion for it beats shame”
Queen Edet is a young, hardworking computer engineering student of Yaba College of Technology. She made the news last week when one of her friends posted a picture of her packing crayfish, a business she started just to see herself through school not minding the stress, and sometimes low patronage. According to Edet, while growing up, she enjoyed helping her grandmother who was also into crayfish business. Little did she realise that hobby and passion was going to turn into a viable business today. She shares her story in this interview.
My name is Queen Sunny Edet, a 23-year-old computer engineering student of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. I hail from Okobo Local Council Area of Akwa Ibom State. I am the last in the family of six.
My childhood has everything to do with what I do now because I started assisting my late grandmother with her crayfish business, at a very tender age, that’s where I learnt the business.
My grandmother used to sell crayfish in Calabar, and I assisted her with the measurement and tying, when I was young. During vacation from school, I always wanted to travel to Calabar so I could help her in her crayfish business and I enjoyed it. As time went on, I discovered I had much passion for it but I never thought I could venture into it as my own business, considering the fact that crayfish has a distinctive smell. I have a passion for it because passion beats shame.
To be honest, the patronage has been poor. People don’t patronise me, including my friends, they rather laugh at me for selling crayfish. When I just started this business, a girl called me and asked, ‘’You sell crayfish for real? Of all the businesses in town and as pretty as you are?” I replied, ‘’Yes, I do and I love it.’’ At a point, I started feeling bad because of the mockery and the fact that buyers were not coming but I later sat down and said to myself, ‘’Queen, so you will not eat because of what people are saying about you?’’. I dropped the shame and kept on moving on.
Combining school with business
It has been stressful because sometimes the little deliveries I make, warrant me missing classes, notes, and even impromptu tests. It is God who has been helping me pull through and also helping me strike a balance so I can excel.
I have problem keeping crayfish in the hostel because I don’t have a place to stock them and sometimes, I have to go to a hotel once the crayfish arrives my location, so as to do the measurement and tying, and then bagging them in a ‘Ghana must go’’ bag before carrying it back to my hostel. It presents a lot of discomfort to my roommates because of the smell and also because I don’t usually have customers, it has to stay there for long. It is also stressful, jumping from one ‘danfo’ to another just to make a delivery and return to school for lectures. It’s not easy at all.
Reaction when story went viral
I was overwhelmed with joy but at the same time speechless. I call that grace and favour from God. When God has chosen you, no man can bring you down. He chose me out of a million that sell crayfish to favour me, it’s never too late when God is involved in your life. I remain grateful to God, and uncountable thanks to my friend/course mate ‘Uche’ for taking advantage of the social media on my behalf.
The responses have been wow!! I’ve received cash donations from great people of this nation to support my business, calls of encouragement, and even calls from people who say they want to invest in my business and above all, I now have daily supplies, the demand tends to be greater than the supply. All thanks to God.
Yes, my family has been really supportive. I get support and words of encouragement from them. I can still remember my dad declaring great words upon my business when I started, those words keep me going every time I feel like giving up or when someone laughs at me.
Advice to undergraduates/young people
Do not wait to be done with school and then start hunting for jobs. Do not think of what your country has to offer you, rather think of what you’ll do to help reduce unemployment in your country by starting a trade or however you may put it with your “blessed hands” and become your own CEO and an employer of labour before and after school. Just take a bold step today, build from the level you are, forget the hindrances and do not forget to take advantage of the social media platforms. I mean you don’t necessarily need a shop since most of the sales now is done online. You can never tell what awaits you there and learn to use the right words at all times Remember you are the expression of your own words and build a positive mindset towards your life, school and business, remain focused and be passionate in all you do.
If I have the opportunity to meet the president
I will ask him to empower students like me out there, who are working hard to make ends meet and need motivation to continue what they do.
I am a woman of rubies
I am unique because I have chosen to go into a unique line of business that girls within my age bracket wouldn’t want to go into, not minding the shame. I am using my blessed hands to make money and be an employer of labour in my nearest future instead of waiting to be out of school to hunt for jobs. Those who want to patronise me can reach me on 08058120848