I Started Auto Retailing By A Sheer Stroke of Fate…
Auto retailing is a tedious business that many people used to see as a career path meant for men. But there’s a young Nigerian lady breaking boundaries and barriers in the auto world with her highly professional services. Adesuwa Renee Ogiozee popularly known as Auto Queen is no doubt the number one female Nigerian auto dealer in the US. In this exclusive interview, she reveals the pains and gains of been a female auto dealer amongst other topical issues. Enjoy!
How did you get into the automobile sales business?
I studied Accounting from Delta State University, after which our dad took us to America, with the hope of following our dreams! I was admitted into Christ for the Nations Institute,
Dallas Texas. After graduation, work was easy to get, so dad got me a job at a family home health service where I needed do some internship, after school. On a faithful day, my sister took me to the mall; we drove my car, which was a beautiful Honda Accord.
We got back with our hands full; we manage to get inside the house, but forgot our house key and car remote key on the door mouth. That was how I lost my car. We woke up to not being able to find my car. My dad is a pastor so he decided to pray, and said my car will be brought back by whoever took it. I had no insurance…
I was so sad! 2weeks gone and some random guy brought my car back! That was a miracle. Long story cut short, I got scared driving same car, mom advised I ship it to Nigeria and sell. I did and made so much profit. Since then, I have been selling cars.
This is a business largely dominated by men, how have you been coping?
My strategies are very different from what a lot of guys will want to do. It has been fun for me. I wake up and get to work and everything seems easy! I managed to ruffle some feathers because so many males could not stand my guts! But most of them fell off and we are still here.
It has not been easy! Some don’t like me, yet they have never met me nor spoken to me. But just the fact they feel, maybe it’s too much going on with me. I will say, it has all been Grace! And we are not quitting.
What are the challenges you faced when starting out?
Trust issues. As Nigerians we have major trust issues. The fact that someone would send funds to me, without meeting me first was hard. It is still challenging but way better than when we first started. Now we have a lot of referrals that help resolve most of those in doubt.
How has the journey been so far?
It’s been great. Ups and downs. But we are taking it one day at a time and doing our best.
But it’s been Good.
What stands you out from other auto dealers?
I guess you could say I’m a perfectionist. I like things done in the right way. So I dedicated my time, years to learn my craft. Now I can say I’m a professional in what I do.
Do you sell mainly to Nigerians?
I sell to anyone, anywhere in the world, though 80% of my customers right now are Nigerians.
You seem to be one happy-going fun loving person going by your numerous Instagram post. Who is Renee (describe your person).
Happy, hardworking, kind and loving. God fearing especially but also a strict disciplinarian.
Can you share with us your educational background?
I studied Accounting from Delta State University. Theology from Christ for the Nations Institute. I’m still in school, University of Phoenix, where I am studying Medical Administration.
Can you share with us some of your memorable moments while in school, secondary and higher institutions?
I remember in secondary school, when I won Miss Hottest Legs, that was fun. I was also assigned the position of Sanitary Prefect, as I was always super neat. Then when I first came to America, we had to work while in school. It was really difficult and different from what we are used to in Nigeria. The transition was fun, because we were glad to be in America, but difficult because back home, you only get to attend classes until you graduate before you can work.
Your family background
My parents are Pastors. I come from a very close knit and respected family in my community.
What is it like growing up? Childhood memories
I had a great childhood in Nigeria before travelling out to the USA.
My parents made sure we, I and my siblings had the best they could afford.
You deal with all brands of cars, which is your own favourite brand?
Right now, it is Mercedes Benz. It could change tomorrow.
You’re a stylish and fashionable person. Describe your style.
My style is spontaneous. I dress how I feel.
Are you into labels? If yes, who are your favourite designers?
Hermes definitely, then Gucci and a few others.
How do you relax?
I chill with my family to have quality time.
Your favourite food
Do I really have one? I like good food.
What inspires you?
Who are your role models?
Your mantra of life
Be kind to all.
Advice to young ladies who are looking up to you.
You can do anything you put your mind to, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Any other things you will like people to know about you?
I’m very God fearing and I’m down to earth.
Favourite holiday/vacation spots.
Most def, it’s Dubai! You can never see enough of that beautiful city.
Your real names
I’m Ms. Adesuwa Renee Ogiozee.
Can you tell us a bit about the auto business? How you source for the cars and market to potential buyers?
I’m a registered automobile dealer both in America and Nigeria. I personally handpick and inspect all the cars I sell.
How I source is a business secret (laughs).