With Mum’s N50,000 I Became International Business Woman – Christy

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A LIFE IN BRIEF

Christy Thomas was born in Maiduguri, Borno State. She grew up in Bama local government area of the state and did her primary school in Staff Primary School Bokos, Bama. She later proceeded to Telta Memorial Secondary School Maiduguri and graduated in 2008.
In 2010, she gained admission into University of Maiduguri to study mass communication at diploma certificate level. Currently she is an undergraduate in the same department of the university. She is presently an importer

BY Nazeef Bakura
BACKGROUND
My name is Christy Thomas. I was born in Maiduguri, Borno State and I grew up in Bama local government area of the state. I did my primary school in Staff Primary School Bokos, Bama, then I proceeded to Telta Memorial Secondary School Maiduguri which I graduated in 2008.
By 2010, I moved to University of Maiduguri to study mass communication where I obtained a diploma certificate, and currently an undergraduate in the same department.

HOW IT STARTED
I have the passion for doing business because my parents were business people. My late father Thomas Sini Kwante had a bakery, and my mother Naomi Thomas has a restaurant. I gave them helping hands from where I developed interest to be a business woman.
My business started when my mother gave me the sum of N50, 000 to give business a try because she saw my passion of becoming self-reliant.
I chose to start by selling perfume, body spray, roll-on, and those related products to people I know closely.
With that capital I started my purchase in Monday Market, Maiduguri, and when I brought the products to my sister’s house they were welcomed on that very day by the people. More than 10 customers bought the products. That really invigorated my dream.
Within 24 hours, all I purchased was sold out, and more people were coming as the news broke. Others even thought it wise to book.
To meet my customers’ demand, I used both my capital and the profit I gained to purchase more than the first time. On my return, I came with variety of products which were incomparable to the ones in the market; their uniqueness, quality, and how my customers admired them were remarkable. I now began to consult them on what they need most before going for purchase. When I sold my products the second time, I then directly travelled to Kano following the advice from my mentor. I could remember after my return, lots of people from my family, friends, government institutions, businessmen, academic institution were coming for my products. That gave me a big hit in Maiduguri. I have a lot of customers among them are high profile personalities.
As time went on, I decided to be importing products that will give me the opportunity to make huge income.
Then finally, I went to Benin Republic and Togo to import wrappers. They were so cheap there and of high quality.
So currently I travel at least twice a year to Dubai for importations of jewries, men and ladies’ wears, shoes, among other stuffs.

CHALLENGES
No one in this circle that cannot expect obstacles, financially, sociologically or geographically. I am undergraduate; my studies do weigh me back from concentrating fully in my business. Mixing business and my academics activities is giving me a hard time.
Secondly, customers collect goods from me on credit which takes them long to pay, those are even better than some people that you cannot even pay some amount from the credit they owe.
Had it been people pay on time, it wouldn’t take me more than two months to make new purchases. But I usually end up skipping and setting new dates for travelling. Also the insurgency made some of my customers flee with my money, for some till now, I don’t know their whereabouts.

HOW YOU COMBINE BUSINESS WITH ACADEMICS
I run my business as I usually do. I attend my lecture and other academic activities, but sometimes I can’t make it. Also, when it comes to going overseas for purchase, I skip it till semester ends except for the festive period. I had no choice than to make sacrifices.

MENTOR
My mentor is Friday Adamu Kantiyock, a charted accountant. He assisted me professionally and financially. It was for his counselling that I made it to this height.

HOBBIES
Travelling and cooking.

ACHEIVEMENTS
It fills me with delight when I turn around and see those I helped with this business, I have obtained plots of land, properties, car and I got multiple digits in my account balance.
I have a friend Naomi Yohana. I helped her with her business, she is currently a business woman too, based in Abuja.

YOUR DREAMS
To become a reknowned large scale entrepreneur in the country whose products penetrate foreign countries.

REGRETS
My biggest regret is that I didn’t start tertiary education earlier. That was the reason for my challenges in this business. Had it been I started early, I could have been more than this today.

ADVICE
There are lots of business opportunities in this country, even if you have no capital you can decide to acquire skills from countless artisans in the country. My fellow women should stop depending on their boyfriends or relatives. Time has come that we have to believe in ourselves and make a living.
I also call on parents to always encourage their wards; they should not give them money rather show them how to source money through business or different crafts