Omolola Olanrewaju Kayode was born on June 17th 1995, an only child her late dad who died in 2010 but the last born for of her mother .
Omolola’s journey is one of resilience, determination and doggedness, From struggling to attend school from her young age to sleeping in Ketu garage for 11months with her parents at the age of 6 . Her mum sold drinks at the entrance of Ketu Demurin bus park, which exposed her to brutality of all kinds, from being pursued by armed Mopols with whips, to them carting away with her goods. Lola’s mum raised her through this livelihood and this in no little way made Lola more determined to make something our of her life against all odds.
After her education, she started working as an auxiliary nurse to earn a living, but she thought to do something on the side to give back, and this informed her decision to go into the Roasted plantain business, populary known as “Boli”, a popular roadside snack in Nigeria, where the Plantain is roasted and sold with groundnut, and displayed stylishly on the local burner.
However, Lola decided to take her vision a step higher by creating a full business venture called “Boli la’ n ta” , a wonderful snack eaten by both high and low income earners, by packaging the plantain with stew and other delicious condiments , selling to corporate workers and residents of high brow areas across Lagos, she also caters at parties and big events in Lagos.
Her story went viral on Facebook few weeks ago when several Nigerian celebrities posted their photos of them with Lola’s signature roasted plantain, this in no little gave her business and edge and made her motivated to keep pushing.
The wonderful budding entrepreneur who is hopeful her business will make more impact,and passion for animals and humanitarian work with me in this interview.
My childhood was a mix of love, fun, trials, hustles and strength. My mum carried me for 13months and 2weeks before finally being able to deliver me at a TBA’s facility, I never tasted breast milk because of how sick she got after my birth for a stretch of 6months as I was told. At the age of 5 we got homeless and the only choice of shelter we had was my Mum’s sales space at Ketu Garage , I would be laid to sleep in the counter while my dad and mum would take turns to watch on the bench and once it’s 4am ,mum starts displaying her wares and dad takes me to the public bathroom to freshen me up for school . After 8months my parents were able to save up enough money for an apartment. I was born in a highly competitive environment; everyone wants to be ahead of the other and with such setting you can’t afford to slow down. My mum wakes up at 3:30 and sets out at 4a.m to Ketu market where she has a sales space and there are almost 10 people around her selling the same products, the earlier you resume the better for your business. I grew knowing that you must keep surviving no matter what odds comes your way .
Inspiration behind her business Boli La’n ta
Boli La’n Ta was inspired by my love for roasted plantain and the ringing mentality of growth. There was a day I was coming from Oshodi with some of my friends and we were hungry and needed to eat something, so I suggested we go for boli. We approached a woman selling it and she selected the ones we wanted, which she gave us with groundnut. “As she was selling, an idea dropped in me and I asked her, ‘Why can’t you sell ponmo and fish together with the boli?’ She responded she wouldn’t be able to do that as it would not attract buyers. At home, I woke up at about 2am and the only thing that kept coming into my mind was how to prepare and package boli differently.
My first pack of boli, earned me N700; the second with croaker fish fetched her N2,500. The orders starting going up from that moment.
Feedback since I started
The positive feedbacks and extreme support towards my business made me feel indescribably happy and more determined to sharpen my skills. Also, I make my customers understand my plantain is not carbonized, I visit the main plantain market to buy it but when I have a big order, I buy outside Lagos.
Transportation and the market unexpected uprise.
I am always happy whenever there’s an avenue for me to assist humans or animals, I believe a purposeful life is that lived by making others happy. My inquisition made me love animals as I see all as pets, seeing beyond the physical features and carefully studying the works of God in them amuses me a lot . I also do a lot of humanitarian work with several notable Ngo’s, helping hopeless women and giving hope to street kids.
Advice to young female budding entrepreneurs
They mustn’t give up on their vision as no one would see those dreams come to life except they themselves. Contribute maximum strength focus and persistence towards the determination for success. They should channel all their energy towards standing out in their field of choice and not shiver from like brand’s pressure instead dare to be indomitable.