+How She Has Sustained Her Business For 40 Years
Chief Mrs. Dr. Bolanle Ogini is a big name in the Sachet Water business. She is the woman behind the Blessed Water brand. She was one of the pioneer producers of sachet water in Nigeria. She is also the brain behind the innovative production of cup water. She also has spread producing and selling potable water by setting up quality water factories in Rivers, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States.
Before now, Chief Mrs. Dr. Bolanle Ogini had thriving businesses in clothes and poultry farming before venturing into production of sachet water. There is no doubt that her disciplined and loving posture could be traced to her youthful years when she was a teacher. Asides from being successful in her business, she is also a successful wife and mother. Recently, Chief Mrs. Ogini was spotted at the social scene where she had an interview with City People. She revealed how her businesses have kept the flag flying and how she has kept the business afloat for the past 40 years. Excerpts.
Popularly known as an agile person, why have you been off social scene for the past few years?
I have been off social scene because of my age. You see, I will be 70 years old soon and I just decided to slow down a little. Again, a lot of my colleagues are no more, so we cannot be struggling with the young people on the social scene, even though we cannot be sent packing just like that. So, I attend a few parties but not as many as before.
Since you are on your way to 70 and you still look young, can you share some of your secrets on this look?
When I wake up in the morning, I do some walk, then I come back and wash what I want to eat. I don’t eat any how and I minimize things. You can eat anything, but not too much. Take more vegetable, don’t drink alcohol or frizzling drinks. I make fresh juices with orange and other fruits in a minimal amount too.
Talking about the water business and the rise in the prices of sachet water, how have you been able to continue with the process till now?
You know that anything in life comes with change. There is an increase in the prices of raw materials which is not the sellers’ fault, but the Nigerian system and the pandemic. There are a lot of factors which make the increase in the prices of raw materials inevitable. If suppliers of raw materials increase their prices, we will also have to increase prices of sachet water and bottle water. In those days, so many people came into the water-making business. But now people are not coming into the business. In the past anyone who was sacked from bank, would go into water production business without knowing the basics. This slowed down the business because the costs of raw materials were on a high side. But by the grace of God, we have been in the business for 40 years and I have not reduced the quality of my water and I am still a front runner among the top 5 water businesses in Nigeria.
What is the secret behind maintaining quality of your products for the past 40 years?
It is just what happens when you are doing something with God’s guidance. You will not backslide or do what you can’t eat to sell to other people to eat. I purposely make sure that our quality remains no matter what. We don’t cut corners and make sure that we produce potable water.
Being the pioneer cup water producer, what made you stop production of cup water?
We stopped production of Cup Water because of the raw materials involved. We tried to get the machine to aid production, but the output was not as impressive as that of the imported Cup water. If we could get the machine right, it would have been a beautiful and profitable initiative.
Before going into water production business, what were you doing?
I started with teaching in 1975, along the line, I was buying and selling. I also had a poultry and also fell in love with selling cloths because I love cloths. Back then, I went to Dubai and other places to get my wears. If I go to Dubai on Friday, I will come back on Sunday. Remember, I was also a teacher, so I combined everything. I did not let any of the busineses, affect others.
Even my family, I have to be a mother to my children and a wife to my husband not forgeting the fact that I am a business woman and teacher.
I am still playing my part as a family woman even though I have stopped selling cloths and teaching. All these were possible by the grace of God.
As a successful business and family woman, can you offer some advice to young women who desire success in what they do?
So many people don’t know that there is nothing you are doing in this life that you shouldn’t plan for. You need to plan. You also have to respect your husband no matter what, even if you are resonsible for feeding the home. You have to still come down from your high horse. You don’t have to emulate pompous people. A lot of women emulate their friends. I don’t regard you as a friend if you start, acting as if I am your rival. That is where problem starts. Those are the marriage problems. I tell my children who are married that “if you cannot bend down, you cannot achieve anything”. You have to take it easy. Don’t emulate someone who got a bigger car, just be yourself. Just think of God first and your family, but young girls don’t want to do that. That is why I try to live a scandal-free life with the fear of God and contentment.
What advice do you have for people who want to go into the water production business?
Not just water business, any business. Don’t enter a business because of profit, the person may not go far. There will be ups and downs in business before you are stabilised, so don’t give up. For instance, if you invest 7 million naira and expect it to rise up to 15 million in 6 months, it is not a wise thing to do. Some people also start businesses by lowering prices to attract customers, it is not advisable. Let your quality speak for you.
Those people who I started water production with only about 5 still keep the business running. This is because they are prepared to sell quality and withstand ups and down, that come with the business.
Everything is not profit at the beginning, God will help us all.
What does the water manufacturing association entail?
We have a big association to which I am one of the key members. If we don’t have an association, people will not do what NAFDAC says, they should do, they will cut corners and this will dent the image of every other producer’s name. We are only 10 in number who started the association. We picked sachet water nylon on the streets, check their addresses and visit their factories. We advise them to come and register when they registered with NAFDAC they will be guided to do the right thing.