BusinessWoman: Ufoma Awodeha, Founder Rubies N Emerald
Please tell us more about you?
My name is Ufoma Awodeha, most of my friends call me Uffy and that name has sort of stuck. I am from Delta State so I like to refer to myself as a Warri girl although I have lived in Lagos for the better part of my life. I have a degree in Business Management from the University Of Sheffield, England. I also have a qualification in Events Management from The Event Management Training School, UK.
What is Rubies and Emerald all about?
Rubies N Emerald is a full concepts and events management company. We add the sparkle to all events with our planning, coordination, decoration, ushering, and security services. We easy the stress of planning and give all our clients some form of uniqueness to their event.
After you conceived the idea what steps did you take to make it a reality?
It actually me a while to turn my passion into a business, I absolutely love events and the whole planning process so whilst at University I would make sure all my friends had birthday plans, I was actively involved in all weddings or birthdays happening around me, I would put things together just because I love to get people together and have a good time. After sometime I realized it would be more fun to actually do what I enjoy all day, every day. So I went ahead and launched my business my first event was a baby dedication which hosted about 300 people.
There are so many events company; did that discourage you from starting?
Well I am one who knows that there is market for everyone so that didn’t discourage me one bit infact I was quite happy to associate myself with planners because that would mean, I would learn much more from people who have more experience.
Did you have to learn special skills or go for trainings to do this?
Well I did go for an academic and practical training and sat at the feet of very experienced planners while in Nigeria to lean a lot from them. Molara Akande (JUST WEDDINGS) is one of my very close big sisters and I just tapped so much into her vast experience. I am also a part of APPOEMN which is an association for planners in Nigeria so the training is a continuous process for me.
There is a creative side to it and there is also the business management, how do you handle both?
Yes both sides really work hand in hand to make the business a success. Sometimes you meet a client who already knows what they want so we just run with their vision and make it all come together. However, there are sometimes we meet clients who just want a classy, elegant occasion and we have to sit for hours, brainstorm and make sure all parties are happy with the ideas we have gathered. The business management side, hmmm ideally I would say since I have a degree it’s a piece of cake but nope. Classroom knowledge is a tiny bit to what I have learnt over time, everyday is a new experience but we make sure our goals are the same which is to satisfy our clients.
How do you set yourself apart in the industry?
Well making every event we are a part of unique and tailored specifically for the needs of the clients is the way we know how to be different. So as opposed to a mass production work we form proper relationship with the clients that way it is easier to understand and work with them.
What is a typical business day like for Rubies and Emerald?
Meetings, meetings and more meetings, note taking, brainstorming, calls, text, emails, follow up relationships but we love all the craziness everyday brings.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you were starting?
Well in the beginning I would not let myself go in terms of creativity. I would just do the norm and hope for the best but over time I have learnt to be much more innovative in terms of how events are handled and how we go about things.
Some of the most memorable event you have handled?
I have memories from all my events *big smile* most of them good memories.
What are the hardest challenges you face in running your own business?
Well being responsible for other people’s salary. I have to make sure everyone who is a part of my business is as happy as I have the power to make them.
What’s your best event planning tip for FL readers, whether they’re planning a wedding or even something as small as a birthday?
START PLANNING ON TIME. Helps you be more organized, have time for negotiations and also helps you test different ideas before you make choices. HIRE A PLANNER *wink*
What is the one thing you want your clients to say about your work?
I want people to constantly be impressed with my work. So let’s assume I handle a décor job I want people to walk in a wooow at my work.