•IBADAN Big Fabric Merchant, BOLA OLOGBURO
In the ancient city of Ibadan, Alhaja Bola Ologburo is one of the most popular fabric sellers. She runs a popular fabric store called Lace and Fabrics, which has 3 branches in Ibadan at popular Gbagi market, while the other one is at the spacious Jericho Mall.
A-list Ibadan socialites, who want to avoid cacophony of market noise go to the Jericho store to buy their needs . Alhaja Bola, as she is fondly called, is married to a popular construction giant, Alhaji Tunde Ologburo.
City People’s Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE, had an exclusive interview with her where she spoke about her life as a fabric merchant. Enjoy it.
You are educated, why did you decide to sell fabrics?
It is a family business. Yes, I am educated and we all need education in anything we do. The love for fashion made me go into fabrics business.
Your husband is a socialite and a successful construction giant, how do you juggle taking care of your home and business?
It is grace of God because; God helps to balance the role.
You are one of the fabric merchants in Ibadan, for how long have you been selling fabrics?
I have been selling fabrics for over 30 years. My mum was into fabrics. Her name is Alhaja Sidikat, whom people fondly called “Alhaja Oyo”.
She was one of the biggest fabric merchants in the Old Gbagi market. I learnt all the rudiments of fabric business from her. When I was growing up, we would go to shop everyday after school. When we were on holiday, we would resume early at the shop at Old Gbagi market to sell for her. You must be at the shop. Little did we know that she was training us. You must learn about fabric business before going into it. You would make a good business out of it if you do. So, that was how my journey into fabric business started many years ago.
Your mum sold fabrics in Old Gbagi market, where do you have your shop?
I have my shops in Gbagi. I have 3 branches and intend to open the 4th branch in Lagos soon. We have shops in Gbagi, this one is at Jericho Mall and the 4th one is opening in next few month, Insha Allah.
How do we know a good fabric, as the market is flooded with Korean and Chinese products?
Not many people can identify a good lace. Only those who have a background knowledge know what a good lace is. Yes, we have Chinese, Korean, Swiss and Austrian materials to mention a few. For instance, Chinese lace are not bad. They are equally good, it all depends on your pocket. Chinese materials are mostly picked as Aso-Ebi, while Korean has high end lace.
What kind of lace do you stock?
We sell mostly luxury lace. We sell HKG, HOH, Korean and our Chinese are mostly Aso-Ebi. You know most people hardly pick Luxury Range as Aso-Ebi, but we are blessed to have people, who order our Luxury Range as Aso-Ebi.
Your husband is a from prominent family in Oyo, “Ologburo of Pakoyi town, where were you born?
I am also from Oyo. My husband is Samorin Adinni of Oyo State. My parents are also popular in Oyo.
Do you have a title?
No, I don’t have. I am a very shy person.
How long have you been married?
I have been married for close to 30 years.
Your family is a closely knitted one, what has sustained your marriage?
It is God, love, submissiveness and prayers. I adore my husband. I respect what he stands for. It is a closely knitted one as you have said.
What is the secret of your look?
I use basically organic products.
What do you call your husband?
I call him “My Dear” and he calls me “My Dear”.
How did you meet your husband?
(Smile). We met in Oyo in 1989 in Olota. I think it was love at first sight for him, but it was not for me. He said he wanted to marry me on the first day, but I was not interested. The love grew with time and the rest is history.
How would you rate the fabric business in Nigeria?
It’s okay. It was better than this when we started, but Alliamdulai.
Every fabric merchant has gone online, would you say it has helped?
To be candid and honest, it has helped a lot. We sell a lot on instagram. We got new clients, who want lace and fabrics or no fabrics. They know what the brand stands for from testimonies from other patrons. They won’t settle for less. It been very good.
What has brought you this far?
Your husband is going to be 58, how old is Mrs. Ologburo?
I will be 50, this year. It will be in the next couple of months.
How do you want to celebrate it?
We just pray more.