You cannot meet Tosin Osinowo for the first time and not like her personality. To begin with, she’s an incredibly gorgeous lady. If we must say it as it is, then we’ll have to admit that only very few women come as beautiful, curvy and with a likable personality like Tosin Osinowo. But this amazing lady is not only about beauty or making fashion statements (she’s extremely fashionable too) she’s also a combination of beauty and brain. This explains why she’s grown to become one of the biggest business women based in Ibadan. Just in case you didn’t know, this lady who’s also big on the social scene both in Ibadan and Lagos is a big-time Hotelier and proud owner of several gas stations that are huge and flourishing in Ibadan.
Lately, this serial entrepreneur surprised many people months ago when she ventured into Amala business. She opened her restaurant called Ile Alamala in Ajao Estate close to the Airport and it was an instant success. The patronage has been unbelievable. Ile Amala is now the restaurant where the big boys and big babes go to for their special Amala delicacy. Last week, this delectable lady was honoured at the 2nd City People’s Female Entrepreneurs Award as the Most Promising Amala Vendor. City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL spoke to this very successful businesswoman shortly after she picked up her award. Here are excerpts.
Congratulations on the award you just picked up
Thank you very much. I really appreciate City People for this award.
I was particularly surprised to hear you just won an award on account of your flourishing Amala business, I didn’t know you were into that line business, how did you come about that?
You must not forget I am into the hospitality business, and the hospitality business is about catering for people. I told you I love making daily money. With Amala you make daily money, this is Lagos.
When did you start the business?
I started about four to five months ago.
And how has the business been?
It’s been fantastic. It’s been very encouraging.
You just started with one outlet?
Yes, but we’re opening another one soon.
Where is this one located?
It’s at 19, Osolo Way, Ajao Estate.
And how has the response to your Amala business been like?
Wow! It’s been awesome. People have been coming, you can go on Google and check, we’re hitting five stars already.
Is it strictly Amala that you sell?
It’s not only Amala, we do other things. Though we named the place Ile Alamala, but we do other things like pounded yam, Jollof rice, Ofada rice, fried rice, white rice, beans, Ewa aganyin with plantain. We have all kinds of delicacies.
Are you a great cook yourself?
Oh, yes, I am. All my friends can attest to that. That also inspired me to go into that business.
Who taught you how to cook, mum?
Well, growing up, my dad would say, ‘Tosin, your food doesn’t taste well enough.’ And I would always strive to get it right next time. I didn’t know he was training me. Back then, my mum worked with the Nigeria Ports Authority and she usually came home late, so I was the one always cooking for the family.
Tell us, how did the stylish part of you evolve?
Okay, the thing is, I am a very shy person, but when it comes to fashion, I don’t take no for an answer. I want something that fits my structure. Because of my shape, I usually go for things that suit my shape. Not that I like clingy stuff, but something that will complement my frame, that’s all.
When you were much younger, who would you say inspired your style?
I have always been stylish right from childhood. I still remember that while I was in school people used to call me the best-dressed person in my department. I studied Geography and Regional planning.
So, how did it all come about, was it from mum that you picked it from?
Yes, my mum is kind of fashionable but not quite like me. Truth is, I put a lot of detail and finesse into my style of dressing. I always strive to be unique with whatever I wear.
Clearly, you are a gorgeous looking woman. Even somebody who perhaps may not like you as a person for whatever reason would still have to admit that, no, envy apart, Tosin is an extremely beautiful woman.
(Cuts in) Sure. Like today, for instance, am supposed to wear make- up, but my make-up lady is not around at the moment so, I had to come without any make-up on and I think I look great like this.
Absolutely, you definitely look enchanting. But tell us, how have you maintained your beauty because you’re someone who’s been in the public glare as a socialite for a long while now and you’re always glowing?
Well, let me begin by saying I don’t use bleaching creams. That’s one of the ways I maintain my skin. And I also take a lot of water and vitamins, with that I am able to keep my skin glowing. And I don’t work in the sun, no matter how busy or stressful the job is, I won’t work under the sun.
Who would you say you took after in terms of beauty?
(Smiles) I don’t know, but my dad is handsome and my mum is also a very beautiful woman, so I think it’s a combination of both of them.
You look great in what you’re wearing right now, do you have choice designers that you usually rock?
Yeah, I have a sister that designs all my outfits for me, her name is Zuri. Her brand is called Zuriola. She’s on Instagram and she’s very good. She’s also very fantastic with plus size ladies.
I can see that you love jewelry, would you describe yourself as a jewelry person?
Yes, I am. I love jewelry, especially 18-carat gold jewelry.
Where do you usually get your gold from?
The thing is I shop everywhere, once I like the design I go for it. I don’t really stick to one person when it comes to shopping for my gold. It’s only my clothing that I have just one particular designer for. But for my jewelry, I pick whatever I see around that I feel would suit me.
You’re very popular as a socialite and also very well known as a business person, how have you been able to juggle these two together?
I always tell people, one thing about me is that I’m not a lazy person. With my colour and everything, can I just sit back at home and do nothing? I manage all my businesses in Lagos and Ibadan, I manage all of them myself. I have to do that because I have lots of people that depend on me, friends, younger ones, not my direct siblings, but people around me that really love me. My siblings are all doing well, so they do not really need my help, financially, but I have lots of adopted ones that really do need my help. Some of them are in the Universities, some are already trying to start something on their own. So, I have a lot of people that I support so I have to work a little extra hard because with what I get on my own and with what my husband provides for us, I think I’m okay. I shouldn’t even be stressing myself. But I don’t want to live such life, I want to be a blessing onto others. That’s why I put a lot of efforts in whatever I do. Seriously, with what I get from my husband every month, I don’t have to work, but I can’t just sit at home, it’s not my style. I like to get involved in lots of businesses and I think I’m doing well with them. God has been on my side and I’m thankful for that.
Before you went into business fully, what line of work were you into?
(Cuts in) I have never worked for anyone. Right from the outset, I have always done my own business. I have never worked for anybody, nobody has ever paid me salary. From the moment I finished school, and even while I was in school, I was always doing business, selling jewelry and stuffs like that.
And where did that talent for business come from?
Ah, one thing is that I know how to spend money. My husband will say I spend money like an Hausa person. So, for someone who spends money like that, you would need to work hard. And I love daily money, I love to count money every day. Even at my Gas stations, they all know that, every day I must count money. I don’t go to the ATM because I don’t have any reason to go the ATM. I’m always having cash flowing around. So, that’s just me, that’s Tosin.
Where were you born, where were you raised?
I was born in Lagos and I was also raised in Lagos.
So, what took you to Ibadan?
Marriage took me to Ibadan. My husband is based in Ibadan.
Did you meet your husband here in Lagos?
Not really, I went on a visit to Ibadan and that was when we met.
Can you recall the first thing he did or said to you when he first saw you?
He asked somebody to go and speak to me. He told the person, ‘I like her and I want to marry her.’ And I was like, just like that? So, some people started extorting from him, telling him, we know her, she’s our little sister and we’ll talk to her on your behalf, she will agree to your request and I was like I won’t agree. But later he walked up to me himself and said to me, I really like you, can you give me your number? But we thank God, he’s a good man.
What was your impression of him at the early stage?
Truth is, everybody was asking me that, are you sure you will marry him? I said, why not, I will marry him. I like him because he’s not somebody that is into women like that. He’s not a womanizer. So, whenever people asked me if I was sure we would get married, I would tell them why not?
Let’s talk about business, how did you get to set up your hotel and it’s grown so big…
(Cuts in) No, my husband gave me the hotel. When I had my first daughter, he gave me the hotel.
And the gas stations as well?
The gas stations were also in the system at the time and I have managed all them very well.
Like how many of these filling stations do you have in Ibadan alone?
I won’t disclose that o, it’s a business thing. I don’t think it’s proper to reveal such things on paper.
Finally, share with us your beauty routine?
Honestly, I don’t really do anything special, all that I do is drink water.