As a young continent going through a phenomenon known as Youth Bulge, it is relative to say that the new Africa spews an enormous amount of intellect and vibrancy. Africa currently has an average of 54% of its population being youth. The once referred to as “dark continent” now beams with a glimmer of hope and growth. The paradigm shifts from aid dependency and government intervention to the new African seeking to control their own destinies economically. This surge has seen the sprouting of several entrepreneurial minds and commoditizing of our African experiences into globally competitive businesses. The likes of Lanre Akinlagun, Sangu Delle, John Armah, Adeniyi Makanjuola, Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe and others have proven beyond doubt that the young African generation is a force to reckon with globally.
Alberta Bugri a young Ghanaian gem unravels her creativity and passion in a rather saturated market and unlike a ray of light consumed by darkness still illuminates. Albies Decor is a contemporary wedding planning and organizing company established to provide unique and customer-oriented decor solutions to the average Ghanaian. On a one-on-one chat with Miss. Alberta Bugri, she had a lot to say about herself and her entrepreneurial journey.
What inspired you to start your business?
The love for weddings inspired me to go into wedding planning
How do you motivate yourself to keep the business up and running?
Fear has always been my underlying stimulus, it’s imperative to say that every entrepreneur is somewhat motivated by fear. My inability to realize my companies vision, my inadequacies, my helplessness towards understanding my customer’s preferences and being unable to satisfy their needs gives me the chills. Fear is always a powerful motivator once you learn to wrestle it behind you, it becomes a force propelling you towards your desired destination. My fear keeps me awake and level-headed.
Can you tell us about yourself and your business?
I’m 23, am just like every other youth, I like to hang out have fun, very spontaneous not to brag but I have a voice of an angel and love reading as well. Alberta is a final year student at Pentecost University College studying marketing. I started Albies Decor 2 years ago, it’s basically my brainchild I happen to have picked up these skills from an Auntie I briefly stayed with. I don’t work in unison I’m obviously assisted by brilliant teammates who share my vision and are dedicated to its realization. Albies Decor isn’t your mundane decor solutions, its designs are dynamic, lively and a perfect blend of diverse cultures. Its distinctiveness doesn’t only draw it reminisce from its design but also its customer-oriented services and budget friendliness. My first professional job was for my uncle (wedding ceremony) it was very stressful, it certainly took a toll on me for days but it was worth it though because it was a massive success.
What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
The boredom that comes with working a 9-5 job and its monotony . I wanted something more refreshing, thrilling and challenging and also contribute my quota in the refinement and revolutionizing of wedding planning globally.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My biggest hurdle was finance. I had to heavily rely on personal savings, I must admit I literally emptied my savings account.
Did you deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it?
No, I didn’t encounter any problems with my family, they were very consenting and very supportive.
I understand you are a student how do you juggle your books and your business.
To recount an experience, I had a few semesters back. I took a job prior to the release of my exam timetable and unfortunately I had a paper a day after the event. It was somewhat an experience but I was able to still make it just in time to prepare adequately for that paper. It would interest you to know I had a B after all the stress and tiredness. Well, its always been very difficult and challenging but I try my possible best to study when the need be.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I think it was when I did a decor for my pastor’s sendoff party at church. I did it for free anyway but the comments and reception at church afterward were highly commendable. I can say with 100% certainty that it was a success and had several referrals as well.
How many decors have you done so far?
So far I have done 14 of them and currently working on others.
How do you market your business?
Mostly through the various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, twitter WhatsApp etc
How do you believe evolving technology will impact the way we do business over the next 10 years?
The advent of technology has made what would have seemed fictitious decades ago merely a formality so I believe in the next 10 years technology will continue to improve communication, dissemination, and accessibility of information, bridge diversity gabs and provide much better ways of transacting business globally.
How are you as a business inculcating technology into the way we do things?
It’s particularly odd these days to see a business which doesn’t employ technology in its daily operations. Am a social media freak, very active when it comes to Whatsapp and Instagram(http://www.instagram.com/albies_decor/ )so I take advantage of my patronage of these platforms to engage and communicate with most of my clients and sometimes even broker deals via email. My page on Facebook also serves as a virtual office where prospects can make inquiries and have access to some of my work.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
Certainly my pricing strategies, I made quite a lot of losses in the beginning as a result of my inability to price accordingly. We are in an industry where access to certain information is very difficult or probably unable, there aren’t any set standards or regulations that vividly spell out how we do our business or the market pricing. It’s solely a free market system which makes the environment pretty much inimical to infant companies.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
I foresee Albies Decor improving upon its systems and structures to accommodate the turbulent environmental changes whiles expanding in terms of reach and appeal. We want to build an African business by Africans that has a global appeal and presence.
A word of advice to other young entrepreneurs following suit.
My word of advice is to start small, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, be passionate, consistent and last be truthful to yourself.