Mrs Tinuola Aishat Olayiwola is a big player in the business of mechanical tools, electrical tools and all sorts of building materials ranging from Nails, DPM Nylon, Colored and Waterproof cements. Her company is popularly known as FAOLAQ ENTERPRISES. NIGERIA LIMITED. She is a woman of great repute and intellect, well respected by friends and clients.
Her corporate office is located at Plot 5, OPIC Estate after Kara. She has been in the business for about 19 years and the business registered about 17 years ago. She is one of the few women who are into the male-dominated business and has competed buoyantly and confidently in the market.
She has quite a number of strong and popular clientele base and has also been a supplier for major blue-chip companies such as Fair mate Nigeria Limited, Tarrabbichi Printing and Packaging, MOA Constructions Company, the list is endless.
She recently spoke to City People about her career as a supplier and how she grew through the ranks to become one of the most sought-after building materials suppliers.
How did you start the business?
I started as a distributor of cement. I was a distributor of Lafarge cement for 2 years before I moved into the sales of tools. It all started from Magodo in Lagos.
Why the change of business from cement to building materials?
There wasn’t a change perse we just decided to major more in supply of tools, Waterproof and colored cements and DPM Nylon, Nails, but we still supply cements
Are you trained in the business?
Yes, I did training, but I was also doing the business while I was training. But the training majorly helped me in the business because it gave me a clear and better understanding of how the business works. And it turned out to be a great success.
Where did you start from, and how did you get the funding?
As I said earlier I started with cement. Along the line when the cement industry stopped the credit facilities and the profit reduced I was forced to think of a business that required a lesser capital and had more profit. I then decided to major more into supply of tools.
After I realised my dream of getting a bank job proving futile I started saving to start up a business and also solicited for funds from my family members
How is your clientele base? Do you supply for big projects?
We have quite a range of clientele from personal individuals to a couple of building construction companies, T-NART Nigeria Limited is one of them.
We have done a lot of heavy supplies to major companies to various parts of Nigeria First August Constructions is one of them and our clients are always happy with our services.
Let’s have a brief run through your background
I was born in Lokoja in Kogi state that was where I studied as a primary school student. I later moved to Badagry, where my parents were from, and I did my secondary school there. I later gained admission to Federal Polytechnic Oko to study Marketing. The same year after I finished, I got a direct entry into Anambra State Univeristy, Awka, where I did Business Management, but all along I was hoping to graduate and become a banker, but I was not too fortunate to get a banking job after graduation.
Who introduced you into the supply business?
Actually, it was my aunt she was a distributor at Lafarge. It was at that time when you have to pay in a month and after 3 or 4 months you are given your order, so you could actually sell at the price you want. Nobody was controlling the price. So, she was in Abuja and I was in Lagos, I take the allocation paper and do the business for her, so that’s how I picked the interest to be supplying.
Would you have preferred being a banker now that you have grown in the business?
I will prefer to remain a supplier. The time, convenience and the Joy. You know there are things you do and you find joy in them. It is more of finding fulfillment in what you do, than just money.
Is there any word of encouragement for those women who want to go into similar businesses?
All I have to say is firstly get trained from a someone reputable. Then get the direct source to get you quality goods from. And the sky would be your limit and as the popular saying goes “Rome was not built in a day”
Patience and steadfastness are very key. Don’t try to cut corners.
Those are the areas one should look out for.
Where do you see this business in the next 10 years?
I see FAOLAQ REALITY building Estates Houses and many more Companies.
How do you juggle domestic work with this huge business?
It has been a challenge really I have to get back home early to take care of the kids and cook and also have to put the home in order. Even my Sundays are spent working. But what keeps driving me is need to create a better future for my kids
What are your coverage areas at the moment?
I supply anywhere across Nigeria for many construction companies, building industries, and special projects.