The journey of 10 years: how I started Esobevents – Adesunmbo Adeoye
In this article, Adesunnmbo Adeoye explains, in her own words, how she founded Esobevents.
Propelled by the need to be there for my boys on their special days, especially birthdays which I was deprived of by my banking work schedule. I decided to start throwing class parties and the very first one I did was for my son who turned 5 in the month of January that year.
The beauty and joy of finally being there for them, made me put in the very best concept together to ensure he gets a “wow” celebration even though the budget was extra slim.
I had a mascot of his favourite cartoon character take his cake to him in class and Most kids in his class were wowed as they took turns to hug and touch the mascot.
As a business strategy, I had a candy full goodie bags with few interactive activity kits inside that bag. Then I deliberately put my business flier inside so their parents can contact me to replicate same celebration for their children.
It worked. I was later informed through his class teacher that other parents were calling to find out what was special about Nino’s class party that made their kids insist they want his kind of party. And thank God, his party was in January, I soon had client for the whole year calendar starting with 2 in the month of February.
This particular event taught me a huge lesson. And that’s because I goofed at delivering. It was for 2 clients, same school but 2 days apart.
I had hired a new vendor to make the birthday cakes and gave her the different dates for the celebrants.
She wanted to exceed my expectations and so she delivered the cakes 2days earlier just to convince me that she could do so.
You should have seen the disappointment on my face when I realised the problem that would soon erupt, since I didn’t have an appropriate storage for cakes and I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to even tell how it can be preserved.
To make matters worse, she made a huge sized cake that couldn’t fit into my medium sized refrigerator and at that point I knew I was in for a bad surprise. I told her what my fears were and She assured me that if I opened up the cake to natural air, it will be preserved. I did as advised and that only caused more damages. Within a jiffy, ants soon found their way straight to the iced fondant on the cake and in no time, made it their playground.
I couldn’t wait for the days to pass so I can deliver the cakes and conduct the class party.
The first was a huge success but the second was not and that’s because the celebrants mum noticed the cake was spoilt and was so agitated that it was delivered for small kids to eat.
She feared they were going to get sick had she not noticed the slimy effect on the knife she dipped into the cake to cut it. I apologized, took the blame, assumed responsibility by replacing with a better cake few days later but the damage had been done and my client wasn’t pleased with what went down on her daughter’s birthday. Although she thanked me for going extra mile to replace the spoilt cake, she also advised never to use unreliable vendors and suggested to me other bakers she has used in previous times. That meeting ended well with a new list of reliable vendors to my list.
Soon after that episode, I needed to regain some sort of confidence that I could still do well in this new venture I have chosen, I continued my daily Blackberry messenger broadcast, advertising with excitement my events planning prowess. I even uploaded pictures on my social media page, telling my friends what we are capable of doing with a slim budget at Esobevents, and the effect of the party on the child.
This pictures and post attracted a lot of parent who’s 9-5 schedule also deprived them of being there for their kids, or who couldn’t throw a large party because of minimal budget.
From sorting and packaging the children party packs, to the cake and their favourite cartoon character, i was soon becoming the “go to source” for a good quality children’s party.
From class parties, I was recommended for house parties and later large children’s party because I wouldn’t stop talking about how good we are at handling that social aspect.
At one of such parties, I would act as the Mc, dance with the kids, paint their faces and create activities just to manage the budget.
It was fun for me and I didn’t put to thoughts the energy involved . Most times, I’ll return home tired with only N5000 (about $10) as my take home. Out of which I’ll have to pay some of my team members and also transportation which later leaves me with a profit of less the ($3) at the end of the day.
I landed my big break December same year when I ventured into packaging hampers for Christmas and distributing it to corporate and high net worth individuals, I submitted proposals through my network of friends and always drop my contact card inside the parcel.
I went for a follow up of my proposals one day and in the midst of the meeting , my proposed client mentioned that he will like to celebrate his wife and needed someone who can put things in place for him. And I said that’s what I do as an events planner.
He told me what he wanted and sooner we were already on the planning and execution phase.
My ability to deliver exactly on the brief made me become their official events planner.
From surprise parties, to official meetings, corporate seminars And lots more, i started gaining hands-on experiences and I was excited I was finally doing what I envisioned to do. I was so happy someone gave me a chance to serve and so I out did myself at every opportunity. Working over night to ensure all i’s are dotted and T’s crossed. Paying rapt attention to details and sometimes Sleeping at the venue to ensure workers don’t fail to do the work assigned to them.
Sometimes, I goofed because I didn’t understand pricing and so i’ll pay so much for the effort without a good knowledge of what payment structure was applicable to the service rendered.
By this time I was simultaneously running a course on entrepreneurial management and we were encouraged to use the services of our course mates.
This I tried and while some delivered, some start up used it as a way to reap money off me without delivering on the quality I expected.
This broke my heart and I decided I’ll never engage anyone if I’m not sure they can deliver on my expectations.
Having graduated with a certificate in entrepreneurial management, through the Goldman Sachs scholarship scheme for 10,000 women in Africa, I was paired up for mentorship with Funke bucknor, who had that time was an already established events manager with several experience and top notch luxury events to her credit (including the presidents daughter’s wedding).
I was privileged to be graduating with her on the same day but she couldn’t attend due to her busy schedule and so I kept giving her updates on the phone about the happenings at the hall of graduation, just to see if she could still meet up.
This act of kindness gave me closer access to her. I remember visiting her at the office to discuss some of the problems I have encountered and asking how she feels I could handle it.
Funke was ready to walk me through it and soon after I would attend conferences put together by EDC for people in my sector and i’ll learn more.
Often times, we meet up at this meetings with other events vendors and planners, and I started networking, and meeting reliable people in the industry.
In class, we will take on practical events case studies and plan to perfection with the brief given. This phase marked the beginning of a whole new level in my events planning and management career.
Later on in the following year, I set up a training arm of my events planning company, to share the knowledge I have acquired with other budding event managers and I leveraged on relationship to get experienced and leading events practitioners on board as facilitators and they obliged. This include Funke Bucknor of Zaphire events, Olufunbi Akinyosoye of Dunamis events, to mention a few. They never charged for it and this kindness i’ll forever be grateful for because they showed up as scheduled and gave the students their very best.
It was a 3days eventful training and I used my experience in banking as well as my experience at other learning institutes to put together what I call a complete academy.
My mum had a vacant flat at her house and I pleaded to use the space for 3days before she rents it out to the final occupant, she noticed my dedication and tenacity towards ensuring this training turns out a success and accorded me all necessary support.
I was allowed to use the space for free, and I sort the support and advice of my life coach who released his projector, and gave me some hands to support with logistics. We rented tables and chairs, printed training materials, bought generators and airconditioner to ensure we had a hitch free and conducive learning centre. Having completed the first 2days successfully, my mentor adviced that we take the 3rd day which is the graduation day to a more conducive facility and we ended up renting a hall in ikeja .
We projected 50 students but we had in attendance 12 students, 8 of which registered and 4 others attended free of charge. We didn’t make profit off this training but it gave room for impact, as I was also impacted and I used the medium to learn more and also train my staff/team member.
Today, Esob academy has broken-even, we have graduated several men and women. We now have a more structured classroom, and a detailed itinerary for field work, and practical.
Esobevents on the other hand, now offers more than just class parties. We Plan, Style & Coordinate all types of corporate, Weddings, Social Event, And we are willing and ready to Give you a “WoW+1” event experience.
So, if you’re considering the entrepreneurial journey just because you want quick money, think again. Or your own desire to quit the 9-5 schedule is so you can have enough time to sleep and wake up anytime you like, Think again.
Entrepreneurship isn’t about being the Boss only, noooo, it comes with Huge responsibilities, dedication and most times a 24hours discipline. You are going to fail sometimes, loose customers or even get disappointed. But in all you’ll gain experience, win some and above all you’ll be fulfilled.
It’s been 10years of passionately delivering a ‘wow+1’ event experience with my team at EsobEvents
God has indeed been gracious to us.
For every client, every event consultation, planning, styling and coordination opportunities, we have built lasting relationships, built a business community, we have grown, shut down for a year and came back stronger and more dedicated to only delivering excellence.
As we look forward to many more milestones, holding strongly to our core business values and enthroning Christ as the solid rock on which we stand firmly and from whom we get our witty wisdom for creativity, May the many decades ahead bring us to giant strides, marked with growth, peace, and more Esob moments in Jesus name.
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