Saturday, 28 November 2009

Elroi… Passion drives the ‘delivery’ girls

These four girls have turned a simple, ordinary duty – showing you care – into a business; and that was what impressed us much about them; and so we hunt them out for a chat.

Please introduce yourselves
Sarah Adeyinka, Head of IT
Seun Damole, Head of Finance
Enene Eko, Head of Logistics
Ifedayo Lawal, Head of Legal/Admin
And we make up Elroi Global Resources.

What exactly is Elroi? What is the meaning of that name?
Elroi means “the one who sees. It is principally a packaging and delivery outfit. Most of our work is done via wi-fi or via telephone. We understand the value of friends and loved ones and between things that demand our attention, it is easy to forget their special days like birthdays, anniversaries etc, so what we do is to do our best to take the stress off our clients and to give them the chance to express their emotions through the medium of their choosing and deliver on their behalf; making that day truly special for that person.

What is the origin of your company? When was it founded?
Sarah and Ife used to work part time as delivery girls while in school as odd jobs. One day Ife thought to herself that since we were so good at this, it would be great if we started this business for ourselves. We knew how to put together amazing packages and had experience in delivery, so why not? She sold the idea to Sarah who liked it. They both sold it to their sisters and so the company grew. Principally, there are four of us running the company. Elroi was founded in 2004; making us five years old now. Wow, we have come a long way!

What is the objective of this company?
We are trying to encourage the culture of love and showing love to those around us. We make it so you can’t use work as an excuse not to show love; all you have to do is call us and we’ll make that person’s day truly special. Another objective of the company is to take the stress off people and help them keep those important to them always feeling special by showing them they care; surprising them with perfect gifts and more that show how much they care and love them.

How was it starting up?
Starting up, like any other business, wasn’t easy. We had to do a lot of publicity and to make deliveries and purchases ourselves —nmost times at ridiculous bargains; but such sacrifices are necessary for growth in a young company; we trusted God that we would do better in time. We lost some deals, and gained some. Money made kept going back as turnover and we found ourselves spending from our pockets sometimes. It was hard but as the years passed, things started to pick up and ease up. We can say though we still have a long way to go but there has been a lot of improvement over the years and it’s a decision we don’t regret. Indeed the eagle outwitted the storm (laughter). We’ll get to where we should be as individuals and as a company.

The group is made of up such diverse people, how do you manage the personalities?

Well, we try our best. This company taught us that being friends with a person does not necessarily mean you can work with them. Sometimes we have our issues but we try to be professional about everything; and to always try to balance friendship and professionalism but never at the expense of the company.

You all have day jobs, how do you juggle your responsibilities?
Wow! We have to confess it is not easy at all! But I guess when something is important to you; you go to whatever length not to disappoint your customers and to make it happen. We had to learn to hire and delegate responsibilities and to get around hardships. Also, most of what we do is wi-fi (on line or over the phone), which helps make things easier.

Why haven’t you all quit your day jobs to work full time on this brand that you are developing?
We are definitely working on that (laughter). The nature of this business allows us to do this, not all businesses have this luxury; some demand constant attention. But we know that very soon, especially with the rate of growth we are blessed with, we would have to face it squarely.

What particular challenges do you face as a growing brand?
Competition, things needed for company growth; sometimes profit isn’t where it should be, and much more. But with each day solutions always come up. Where we don’t see doors we always go through walls and we thank God we’ve made it this far…

What advice would you give someone who intends to start a business but hasn’t because of indecision?
If it’s a business you can run on the side give it a test-run first by the side of your day job (nothing wrong with multiple sources of income), then see if it can fly alone. If it can, then go all in for it. Decide if it’s really what you want. If it is, try it out first then decide if you can go for it fully because in the end, what it brings in financially is as important as satisfaction and fulfillment. Most importantly, be bold and creative, start first and see and may God prosper you as you do.

What does being young and Nigerian mean to you?
Being patriotic. Giving back. Helping your own. Loving life and country in spite of… Working hard and getting results no matter what. Ability to do anything no matter what!!! Fighting for change.

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