Adeleye Olanipekun’s journey to entrepreneurship was a fascinating, if not amusing, one. Although he always wanted to be his own boss, the 2015 Political Science graduate from Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, didn’t realize he was going to be bossing high-end headgear. “It’s a funny story because I had this one favourite face cap I used to wear, and one day I left school for Lagos, and I was on a bike and my baseball cap flew off. I was hurt so badly because a vehicle ran over it and ruined it. From that day I decided to make another one myself. A 9-5 job was a no-no for me. I never wanted to work for anyone. I always wanted to be the boss and run my own thing, but I didn’t know it was going to be designing caps,” Adeleye narrated. Adeleye graduated in 2015 and participated in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) the following year. In the seemingly saturated Lagos fashion market, how has he been able to cut a path? “Everyone is doing everything in Lagos; once they see something is working everyone jumps on it,” he said. “However, the beauty of my brand is our ability to remain consistent in terms of quality and always deliver way beyond the customer’s expectation. Branding is how we have remained profitable. We have identified our ‘kings only’ target market and, at the end of the day, you just have to understand your niche market and realize that your products aren’t for everyone.”
Social media contact:
Indeed, what else better buttresses Adeleye’s “kings only” selling point than an encounter with one of Africa’s most sought-after music artiste? He shares his happenstance with David Adeleke (Davido): “My first client was David Adeleke. I also remember my friends Chimela Polo and Teye Adekeye; they were the two guys who put me on. I had finished production and the product was good and ready to be delivered to the market. A friend of mine, Teye, called me and asked where I was and I told him I was in school -- this was about 7:30pm. He said Polo had shown my cap to Davido and he liked it and asked me to come over. I was excited but there was no way I was going to get an exeat to leave school. So I decided to sneak out of school with a friend of mine that drove me to Lekki. I told him straight up to please rock my caps and hopefully post pictures, and he said he would.” Adeleye was cautiously optimistic about his encounter with Davido. He headed to a house party at his friend’s and slept over, only to wake up to calls and social media buzzes about his product. An excited experimental entrepreneur recalled how things turned out: “Everyone was calling and hitting me up, telling me I had blown. Next thing, I opened up Instagram and there I saw my cap with Davido and the entire HKN label members rocking it.”
The major key is that you must always deliver that standard you’ve set at the very first point and continue to raise the bar higher.