The Chief Executive Officer of Redbubbles Events Limited, Bolifish PHC Enterprises and K2 Sparkles Enterprises, Ladi Osadebe in this interaction speaks about her business empire, the many challenges of doing business in Nigeria and how she has been able to surmount these challenges.
Who is Ladi Osadebe?
I am a graduate of Estate Management from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and hold a certificate in Event Management from the New York Institute of Art and Design. I worked in the construction and facility management firms in Nigeria before moving on to found Redbubbles Events Limited in 2010. The company has since grown to become a major player in the Event industry. I am also the Senior Partner at K2 Sparkles, a facility management firm.
Can you tell us more about your background?
I have attended several leadership and entrepreneurial development training programmes both within and outside the country including a stint at EDC under the Goldman Sach scholarship program. I am also an alumnus of CEIBS (China-Europe International Business School) WELA Program.
What has your experience been as a graduate of Estate Management who has worked in a highly respected construction and facility management firm?
I can describe my experience as being both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Challenging in the sense that there are always new goals and objectives to pursue. Indeed, some of these goals stretch one to the very limit. Rewarding in the eventual knowledge that no matter how challenging the goals were initially, one was able to accomplish them.
How do you ensure that you stay in business as the founder of Redbubbles Events Limited,?
At inception, we made a conscious decision to put a stamp of excellence in the services we render. It was obvious to us that there existed a critical mass of individuals and organisations that were very particular about hosting quality events. Our game plan is to focus on meeting the unique needs of this segment of the market. That way, we have had access to a pool of similar clients via referrals from satisfied clients. My experiences have shaped who I am today. I must confess that I am a better version of myself today than I was when we started. I have learned to be more adaptable and to focus on my goals and objectives squarely while avoiding distractions. I have also learned to remain open to new opportunities and be willing to take calculated risks. To be able to take these opportunities when they present, I have invested in both personal and professional development within and outside the shores of the country. This has exposed me to industry global best practices and has impacted my business positively.
I am big on effective time management, prioritizing tasks and setting specific time blocks for the different businesses I am involved in. I have been able to assemble a competent team that is highly empowered. This has meant that tactical and everyday decisions are taken by the managers leaving me with more time to craft the high-level strategic priorities for the businesses.
Can you run us through the operational system and workability as the founder of Redbubbles Events?
Our business model is built on four major pillars namely customers, processes, employees and technology. We combine these aspects efficiently to meet the specific needs of each client. Our services are tailored to the personality of each client and powered by best-in-class technology. At Redbubbles Events, no two events are the same as each event has the personal imprint of the concerned client. This has worked for us judging by the positive reviews of our satisfied clients.
What are the motivations behind your choice of discipline, especially in event management?
As often said, to get ahead in the Event Management space, one needs the ability to keep a level head when things are going wrong, a stomach for serious hard work and comfy shoes. For me, it has been a worthwhile journey from the days of humble beginnings to the present. The choice of this line of business came naturally to me as it brings out the creative side of me. I have a keen eye for detail, a critical ingredient to excel in the industry.
Doing business in Nigeria comes with many challenges, can you tell us the challenges embedded in the work?
The Event Management industry is highly demanding. From event conception, and event planning to the final execution, the ability to manage unforeseen circumstances is inherent in our day-to-day operations as deadlines have to be met. Unfortunately, we are not immune to the everyday challenges of running a business in the country such as poor infrastructure. We have to contend with issues that are uniquely Nigerian in striving to remain relevant in our industry.
How do you deal with competitors?
We believe that the market is large enough for all players. At Redbubbles Events, we have clearly defined our target market and put in place tested strategies, driven by technology, to remain relevant and dominant in our chosen market. We deploy both traditional marketing and digital marketing to attract opportunities both locally and internationally in countries like the United States. Our unique selling point is the personalized services we offer to our clients. This has ensured that our satisfied customers become our greatest proponents and are ever willing to refer others to our company.
How do encourage young people to be passionate about your job?
We have instituted internship and mentorship programs that enable participants gain practical hands-on experience and foundational knowledge to spark and nurture their interest in pursuing a career in this field. To our credit, some of the participants in our mentorship program have gone on to set up successful event companies in their own right.
As a woman, tell us your organization’s five-point agenda and how would you say this agenda favour all women at all levels.
At Redbubbles, our five-point agenda revolves around Equal opportunities, Work-life balance, Mentorship, Diversity and inclusion, and Sustainability. We set out from the beginning to create a modern equal-opportunity workplace with zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and to cater to our female workforce throughout the different stages of their life journey. This has ensured a very committed workforce.
How is your business wired to ensure effective operation and delivery of purpose?
Our organization is wired to provide our identified market segment with excellent Event Management services through experienced and talented employees using global best practices and cutting-edge technologies. Technology is at the heart of all we do as it has improved our operations tremendously and given us an edge over the competition.