19 Sep Olabanke Banjo: I didn’t receive any funding to start my business
Olabanke Banjo is the Creative Director of Cyrus45 Factory, a creative outfit that specializes in recycling and also producing avant-garde products. While growing up, she always stood out as an artistic child with an unmitigated interest in literature and fine arts. Her keen interest in literature and writing led her to launch a poetry blog in 2012.
Asides managing the brand, she is also a Digital strategist and a Content writer. She is also a graduate of Foreign Languages (French) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. When she is not mining her imagination for innovative ideas that will change the world, she is binging on Sci-Fi or Crime movies.
The idea to start Cyrus45 factory came about last year May while I was living with my elder sister in Lagos, I came across a pile of about 20 used tyres in her compound which her neighbors intended to dispose of. However, being a lover of revamping old items, I asked them to me. The first idea I had was to make a coffee table, so I decided to search online on how to recycle and reuse old tyres. Then I made a table for myself and when I saw the response from people, I thought “why not turn this into a real business?” That was it.
About Cyrus45 Factory
Cyrus45factory is a creative agency focused on creating bespoke avant-garde and ultra-modern products for the art-savvy Nigerian and also recycling. We produce unique furniture designs from recycled items such as tyres etc. Apart from being passionate about unconventionality, we are also passionate about contributing to the minimization of environmental pollution and global warming caused burning of harmful waste items.
God is my first and main motivator. He inspires my creativity and general thinking. I also admire Jumoke Adenowo of AD Consulting and Ibikun Awosika, First Bank Chairman and CEO of The Chair Centre because they are women who have constantly broken the glass ceiling that regards the African woman as weak and inferior.
Getting the word out
First of all, I didn’t receive any funding to start my business. The capital was given to me by friends and family. My main marketing strategy has always been leveraging on social media. We are in a digital age and most people, if not everyone, make transactions online. However, my brand received some serious attention on social media last month after I exhibited at the Lagos state MSME exclusive fair organized by the Ministry of Commerce. Pictures of my products were shared online the Cyrus45 factory went viral.
Production has been the main challenge, especially being a startup. There are a lot of equipment and resources that Cyrus45 needs for seamless production. I actually shut down the business in May this year for about two months to restructure and re-strategize because of this challenge. However, after going back to the drawing board, I was able to cross some hurdles but frankly, there is still a lot of resources we need to run smoothly.
My hope for Cyrus45 is that we change the general perception of Made in Nigeria products and also be named one of the game-changers in the creative industry.
Dear Business Toddler,
Never let the fear of striking out or losing keep you from playing the game. Believe in yourself and always be original because everyone else is truly taken.
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