•The CEO & Boss Lady Opens Up
This is about La Dots Partycity’s 8th Year Business Anniversary. And the CEO and boss Lady, Mrs. Soledotun. Abdulkarim-Yusuf spoke to us a few weeks back.
When the Boss lady was asked to introduce herself, Mrs. Soledotun. Abdulkarim – Yusuf, introduced herself as the brain behind La Dots Partycity Ltd., La Dots Partycity food, La Dots Partycity kiddies, La Dots Partycity fruity drinks and La Dots Partycity rental and Logistics.
I felt Mrs. Soledotun Abdulkarim – Yusuf left out the designing aspect of her business, but she explained that La Dots Creations, which was her first-ever entrepreneurial business was birth in 2005, where she engaged in fashion consultancy and designing, is another of her business organisation, on its own, before she ventured into party events planning and management in the year 2012, which gave birth to “La Dots Partycity”.
How did her business name come up? It was During her Secondary School days, at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu – Ode. A close friend tagged or nicknamed her “La Dots” and before too long her entire classmates and schoolmates started to address her as La Dots” which was created during a French language class, and automatically the nickname stuck with her since then.
So, when the idea of creating a business name arose, she sat down in her bedroom while the thought popped up. It would be interesting to use her nickname “La Dots”, which was later incorporated with “Partycity” to be unique and also being a past planning student during her University days, she wanted to have a business name that people can easily relate to, that is totally eye-catching, from all the other event planning business slogan which usually ended with the word “Events”, by now coming up with her business name “ La Dots Partycity”. She felt “Partycity” was kind of a company household name or an umbrella under which, everything party needs existed, not just birthday parties, but all the various types of parties you can imagine, weddings, funerals or corporate parties…etc.
Was the business born out of passion or was it a job idea? The business was born out of passion, as she is an organised and resilient person who loves planning generally, not just for events. She is known as a triple planner, she is a Town Planner by profession, She also bagged a Masters in Transportation Logistics and Planning. And currently, she is an Event Planner.
She started her event planning entrepreneurial business with La Dots Kiddies Partycity, due to her great love for children. Although she knew she would engage in all the various types of event planning fully, she decided to start gradually by clamping the ladder of the event planning world through organising kiddies’ parties.
Although, kiddies parties do not seem to have so many monetary profits, but she derives so much joy from celebrating children. And she committed so much her time to kiddies parties before she started getting referrals for other bigger party planning events. Till dates, she still caters for kiddies party of which La Dots crispy popcorn is famous, as one of the best party treats served to both children and adults at the event.
Also, her kiddies party was incomplete without the mention of her unique bouncing castles, cartoon characters entertainments, Special Children M.C and D.J, Children Action figure birthday themes, for both boys and girls creamy ice cream, Cotton candies, face painting, special cartoon characters of birthday cakes, and all sorts of children activities to make the kiddies birthday fun, remarkable and memorable.
What does your job as an event Planner entail? To start with, she said the work of an event planner is very interesting, because without an event planner, a party cannot be a seamless event, without great coordination. The role of an event planner is to help you plan and coordinate your party in order to achieve a successful event. It is the duty of an event planner to coordinate all your event vendors, without which a lot can go wrong, and your party might become messy at the end of the day. Therefore, an event planner takes off all the stresses off the party host and helps them to relax by taking absolute control of the event, starting from the moment the event planning job had been contracted to the event planner. Thereby, finding a suitable location, hall and size for the appropriate seating capacity of the event guests, organising meetings with food vendors, the catering services that provides adequate plates, cutleries, cups, reception hall flower decorators, chairs and table decorators and lighting effects, arrangement of the best musical band for the occasion and many more, are the responsibilities of the event planner.
The monetary aspect of every event except for corporate organisation events, La Dots Partycity accepts a deposit payment of 70% upfront and the balance is paid a week before the commencement of the event. But for her corporate organisation event clients, she accepts a deposit of 70% upfront and the balance of 30% after the event has been completed.
Do you anchor events just within the western region or far and near the 36 States of Nigeria? She said she takes events everywhere within Nigeria and had anchored events in the north, east, south, and west of Nigeria. But the majority of her jobs come from the western region of Nigeria. She also mentioned she takes jobs from outside of Nigeria. As some of her abroad based clients, usually travel to Nigeria to anchor their events. She had worked with a lot of clients from the United Kingdom. The United States. And recently she worked with a client from Mexico, through referrals from satisfied clients whom she had anchored their events in the past.
Although she had not travelled out nor been hired to anchor an event outside Nigeria, but a lot of times when she travels on holidays abroad, she usually finds herself assisting close friends and family to plan and anchor their events , free of charges , it is her way of showing her support, as a kind gesture towards their event planning. But she hopes that, in the nearest future La Dots Partycity would be hired and have flown abroad, to plan and anchor events in the diaspora, Insha Allah… Amen!
Was there an event that gave you an unexpected challenge within the 8 years of your business? Of course, she had experienced a lot of challenges during the 8 years of being an event manager and planner, but the most challenging was the event for her Mexican couple, during the month of December 2019. She had never anchored such a huge event before because it was a Premium wedding. As she had not met the clients before but through a referral from past clients from the FCT Abuja, Nigeria. When she was contacted on the phone, she told God this was a huge one and prayed for exceptional wisdom to be able to execute a flawless and fabulous job. Being a lover of challenges, she knew she would give it her best. It was challenging because the clients already hired an event planner but wanted her to handle the decoration and catering aspect of the event. While she was used to being the main event planner, and knew how challenging it could be, if the event planner is not on the same page with a decorator or caterer. At the end of the day, she ended up working the role of the events planner, alongside their hired event planner.
The clients were so impressed and amazed by her relentless spirit, that they commended her big time, for her remarkable efforts, for having a great impact on their event, because she delivered and responded to the smallest task accorded her within the shortest time limit, which also made the clients gave her 100% of the trust before the event took place and at the end of the event, they said they would had rather hired her as the main event planner , instead of asking her to work alongside their first hired event planner, if they had received her contact earlier.
Was there a particular event that opened doors to greater numbers of referrals during her 8years of being an Event Manager and planner?
Amazingly, every event she ever catered for, always gave a referrals, be it an indoor or outdoor party, where she caters for food, decoration and fruity drinks or all sorts of drinks supplies, or small or massive capacity events or a corporate events planning or wedding events or funeral events or rental and logistics supplies or kiddies party. Every event always brought her good tidings, which she is so honoured and grateful to God for, every blessed day of her life.
Is her staff seasonal or permanent staff? “My staff are mostly seasonal, let assume 80% are seasonal while 20% are permanent staff, for reasons best known to her. She has staff that works with her often, while the seasonal staff are paid off after working with her for her on a particular event.
La Dots Partycity also claimed to also have backup staff that are called for work, whenever any of the seasonal or permanent staff are not available or whenever they needed more staff for bigger events ranging between 1000–1500 guests at an event.
Does La Dots Partycity have other business expansion or extensions asides the La Dots Creation? Yes. But the extensions/expansions side belong to her husband, although the businesses co-exist. It is Affadots studio, which is the photography, videography, T.V production section of their business, although it belongs to her husband, but she helps also in the latest idea invented and created by husband, where they invite guests from all walks of life for T.V questions and answers interview series on various topics about the everyday living, professional inclined topic and also deliver film production and documentaries … etc, which helps to produce and its shared on their YouTube channel for the general public viewing.
Affadots Studio, in a nutshell, works in collaboration with La Dots Partycity, by handling all the photography and videography coverage of every event anchored by La Dots Partycity.
What impact did Covid–19 have on business this year? As we all know, Covid-19 affected every business in all the works of life, in the whole wide world. Although she was lucky to have anchored events starting from January 2020 and had just completed an event in the month of March, a few days before the lockdown was announced. She ended up canceling other jobs that fell within the lockdown season.
It was quite challenging, coping without working during Covid–19 lockdown seasons, but she was able to divert into mentoring some upcoming event planners, as a part-time job. Although she hopes to establish a mentoring vocational school in the nearest future, God willing.
Although they had resumed catering for events after the lockdown, she had to abide by the rules and regulations guiding Covid-19 set rules for parties. As it is the largest number of guests, she caters for 200 guests in number or unlike before Covid –19, the number of guests they can cater for is unlimited in numbers. And she ensures the safety measures laid down by Lagos State Government.
In fact, she is anchoring one event that was canceled during the month of July, that was canceled due to the lockdown, at the end of this month of December. How do you manage to combine and juggle with every aspect of your different businesses? La Dots Partycity Boss Lady gave all the credits to God and her parents, her late dad, Barrister Chief O. Ade. Okenla and her mum, Alhaja. O. Ade. Okenla, from whom she imbibed all her great attributes, who were involved in so many businesses. She said her late father of blessed memories was a Lawyer, a hotelier, and the first cinematographer in the western region, who owned quite a few numbers of cinemas during his lifetime.
Her mum also was an entrepreneur, who engaged in food catering services, she owned and managed a few supermarkets and was also a fashion designer. She grew up to emulate and combine the lifestyle and business orientation of both her late dad and existing mum, together which happens to be the secrets and success of her strength. La Dots Partcity Boss Lady acknowledges her first and outstanding client’s patronages over the 8 years of her business existence.
She acknowledges The Nigeria Institute of Town Planner, Lagos State Chapter as her first-ever client, that hired her for their end-of-the-year kiddies party at La Dots Kiddies Partycity event planning for so many years. Egbin Thermal Power at Ijede is also one of the first clients and she still gets hired by them till date. And they are one of the companies that commend her on her popcorn production asides to children event parties. She mentioned having anchored events for so many churches including Redeem Christian Churches of God.
Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club patronised me in 2013 and Lion District 404A1 patronised me in 2014 and 2018. She had also worked with a couple of Goge Africa T. V shows, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was one of her clients in 2014 and uncountable different personnel’s and individuals in all walks of life.
She claims majority event planning of job where received from past satisfied client’s referrals and online clients who view her event planning photographs and videos on her various social media handles. Boss lady of La Dots Partycity Recognition of Awards, Social Societal Status and Club membership in Nigeria, are as follows:
A triple planner–Town Planner, Transport and Logistic Planner and An Event Planner. A certified event planner certification APPOEMN – Association of Professional Party Organizer and Event Managers.
A Registered Town Planner of The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners And Logistics/ Transport Planner of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (Nigeria)
Town Planner Registration Council of Nigeria. (TORREC)
Fellow Institute of Professional Managers Association in Nigeria (FIPMA) of City Managers in Nigeria.
Pro Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT) Nigeria.
Member Neca’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW)
Corporate Member Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN)
An Ex- President of Ikoyi Lions club and a continuous member since 2007, till date.
Where do you see La Dots Partycity in 5 years? She sees her business everywhere on the globe. She hopes to establish an event management and planning training school, where she would tutor and mentor upcoming event planners, she also hopes to make her NGO official, although it is in existence already, but hopes to take it to a higher level. She usually gives back to society through her NGO on every 29th of November which happens to be La Dots Partycity’s business anniversary. During the festive seasons, La Dots Partycity reaches out to the community and society by supporting and partnering with Lekki’s motherless babies’ home, Pacelli school for the partially Impaired Surulere, Bab- es- Salam home GRA Ikeja, and some other orphanages, to mention a few. La Dots Partycity, Slogan, website, email address and social media handles are as follows: La Dots Partcity Slogan … Part needs @ their best!
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Website. www.ladotspartycity.com, Instagram : @ladotspartycity, @ladotspartycity_foods, @ladotspartycity_kiddies, @ladotspartycity_fruitdrinks, @ladotspartycity_rentalogistics, Twitter: @la_ dots, Facebook: La Dots Partycity, Email:la email@example.com, Snapchat: @ladotspartycity, WhatsApp: 07057757510