Gloria John is an indigene of Kogi State and of Igala ethnic origin. She was born into the family of the late Mr John Sani and Mrs Esther John, first of four children. She had her nursery and primary education at St Phillip’s Primary School, Niger State, while she received her secondary education at Yaro College Secondary School, Niger State. She is currently a student of Computer Science in Salem University, Lokoja. She has been in the catering and baking business for four years.
My name is Gloria John and I was born into the family of Late Mr John Sani and Mrs Esther John on 5th October, 1997 in Niger State. I am an indigene of Kogi State, Olamaboro local government area and Igala by tribe. I am the first of four children. My educational career began at St Phillip’s Primary School, Niger State, from there to Yaro College Secondary School, also in Niger. I am presently an undergraduate of Computer Science in Salem University, Lokoja. I am a caterer and baker who runs business during the holidays. I started the business four years ago.
HOW DID YOU START THE BUSINESS?
For anyone looking to start a business, passion should be top most because it triggered my choice of business and makes it easy for me to keep on. Loving what I do makes me want to pay attention to everything, even the minute details. I started in 2014 at a skilled acquisition programme in church and people were told to register and since I have always had passion for it, I told my father I needed to register but he refused. My mother intervened and I was also not deterred as I kept on talking to him about it. My father later gave in after much persuasion. After that, I requested money for registration and went in for the training, which lasted for two months, though it was on weekends, and after completion, I collected the certificate. All these happened while I was still in secondary school. Training did not stop there for me because I believe we learn every day and the only time we do not learn is when we no longer exist. So, I went for personal training after my first year in the university, during the long vacation and by this time, my father had passed on. The expert helped me perfect the skill.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM COMPETITORS?
I must say my dedication to the business; taste and quality of products I deliver give me an edge over competitors. The business is all about quality not quantity; my customers are living proof, as they cannot get enough of my products and services. They go as far as marketing the business with pictures of my works everywhere and this has gotten me referrals.
I am passion driven and my environment inspires me in so many positive ways.
I love cooking, baking, engaging in sports activities and I always want to know more about things so I ask lots of questions, sometimes my friends get tired of this inquisitive nature. I also love creating new styles for my cloths because my mother is a fashion designer and I love wearing new cloths designed by her. Advising friends is something that comes easily and I get overjoyed when it yields positive results.
The inability to satisfy a customer’s need is something I want to avoid but there are certain customers who are never satisfied even when they are given the best.
They cannot be avoided as long as life goes on. Challenges could be big or small and I have had and still do have challenges as the business is still growing. Like I said earlier, my dad was my first challenge because it took time to make him see reasons though he had his concerns and some of them had to do with security. He felt I was not old enough to be left alone among different classes of people and people of different age brackets. He also knew I was going to disturb him for transportation, buying of the things I needed for the training and these are few of the reservations I know he had. When I went to register, there was no one within my age, I saw older women and this alone was enough to quit but I did not.
Through the rains and tears, I did not quit because my mother kept telling me good things do not come easily and as time went by I got used to the stress. The journey into the business was fun, I recall how I collected money from my father to bake and share to people and some of them would ask if it was my birthday. I encountered people who wanted to be given free cakes, meat pies and other stuffs and in the end, they would end up making comments that would make one quit the business but their words spurred me to aim higher.
Some felt I was too young to be doing stuffs perfectly and they never complimented me. As an undergraduate in a private university, I focus on my education because the school prevents one from practicing such businesses. Getting some products at a particular season is also something I battle with as sometimes they are cheap and at other times, expensive, some customers do not understand this but I end up strategising to give them the best. There are times I have to wake up very early and sleep late but I still squeeze out time to sleep well to prevent breakdown. I am sure some challenges are yet to come but when they do, God’s grace will help me carry on and earn well.
The knowledge I have achieved has broadened my horizon, I have been opportune to meet different calibre of people, I have experienced a lot. All I use for the business belong to me and I do not rent or borrow the things I use for work. I do not depend on anyone for minor needs.
Even with a white-collar job in the future, I hope to establish myself in a big way and would like to open a place of training for people to equip themselves. With time, I will assist the financially unstable ones because this is a priority I intend to achieve to the fullest.
MOST MEMORABLE DAY
My matriculation at the university because I met different faces, stayed with them and this I never did because I had never been away from home for weeks. The presence of family, food and lots of things for me was too much to contain.
SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS
God, a supportive family, friends and the passion.
HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO BALANCE STUDIES, BUSINESS WITH FAMILY LIFE?
It is not too demanding because my mother and siblings are understanding and supportive.
ADVICE FOR WOMEN
Women should get up and learn one or two crafts to assist themselves. The man alone should not be the breadwinner. We are in a country where having a degree certificate is no automatic ticket to securing a job. The country is so corrupt that best grades are not enough without connections. Gone are the days of being ‘prisoners’, one can set up a business in the comfort of his or her home. A typical example is my mother who learnt fashion designing after giving birth to her last child even though my father did not buy the idea, initially. She learnt the skill and got a place close to her last child’s school, which was also not far from home. When my father passed on, we fed from the business and also used some of it to process the monies he left behind. Sometimes, I wonder what would have become of us if my mother did not have a backup plan, especially in these trying times.
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