Ayodele Donye Samson is a popular Nigerian jeweler who enjoys patronage of the crème-de-la-crème in the Nigerian society.
While recounting his sojourn in the jewelling business which he ventured into in 2015, Ayodele shed light on the peculiarities of the business as well as his plans to go global, among other issues.
Recalling how he forayed into the business, he noted the challenges he has had to grapple with.
“I tried a couple of business before venturing into jewelleries. I didn’t really start with capital. All I did was to task my brain. I had some other jewelers that could give me stuffs to sell. So, I used link them up with buyers. I started from there before building my own outfit.”
“It was a big challenge. I have always loved jewellery and the love drove me into the business. After I was done with schooling, I decided to try the business out. I made some research, hooked up with people and I started from there. It is not an easy business. You need lots of connections and big personalities who can pump money into your business and patronize you. I started by getting things from sellers and linking up with buyers. It took me years to grow and we are still growing.”
He added; “Sometimes, when I step out, I get reactions from people that I might be a fraudster because of how I look. People have the mindset but there’s nothing one can do about it. It doesn’t really get to me. My own sense of fashion is personal. Right from my school days, I got awards for being the best-dressed and most attractive. I have always loved to look good. I believe the more I look good, the more I embody my business.
On what fuels his drive for the business, he said; “The first is publicity. You need more people to be aware of your brand. One also needs to build the trust because people wouldn’t easily entrust their millions with someone they barely know. Over time, the trust has grown. There are testimonies from people which we post regularly on social media and people are getting convinced. Now, people from overseas place orders and we deliver accordingly even without having met physically.
Baring his mind on the level of security the business requires, he quipped; “In Nigeria, for instance, jewellers barely have stores because of the security situation in the country. We have a store in Ibadan but the kind of jewels we put there are just steel replica and samples of the original ones. Our store also functions as a pickup point. But our work is delivery. We don’t keep such goods in plain sight.
Unlike some jewelers, Ayodele emphasized that he can never be caught wearing the jewelries he sells. “I can’t be caught wearing the jewelleries I sell. Maybe because it’s the business I do, it’s not something that is part of my lifestyle”, he said.
Speaking further, he highlighted the peculiar challenges in his line of business. He said; “Most of the Rolex watches we sell are got from the producers. We face challenges from authorities because when they see the kind of goods being imported, they hike charges and expect us to settle all of them. Another challenge is the impatience of clients. Some people think to get gold or diamond is straightforward, that we just order and they bring it. Making gold, for instance, is very tedious. But people expect their job done in two weeks. So, it is hard convincing them often because of the money involved.”
On where he visualizes himself in 5-years time, he said; “My projection is having standard stores in Lagos, Abuja and one other distant state. Once the pandemic is over, I would be creating presence in some countries. Sitting in Nigeria alone is limiting. One needs to go out there, meet people, do more research and explore the outside world for clientele.”