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Onyinyechi: A young entrepreneurs inspiring story

Published by The Nation on Tue, 04 May 2021

By Daniel EssietAt 26, Onyinyechi Lilian is already off to a good start in business. The talented and multi-tasking final year Business Administration student of Osun State University has carved a niche for herself as a hair stylist and shoe maker.She has been meeting the hair styling and footwear needs of her colleagues within and outside the university community, using proceeds from her business ventures to see herself through school.Young, innovative and enterprising, Onyinyechi cut her entrepreneurial teeth even before she gained admission into the university. By the time she finished secondary school, she was already financially independent, working hard to fend for herself.My parents saw me through Primary 1 to Senior Secondary School (SS3). The moment I finished, I started working in a factory. I have done so many factory jobs. It was from the money I saved from factory jobs that I paid to learn hair making, she said.While she and her colleagues were waiting for the result of their Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Onyinyechi decided to taste the entrepreneurial waters. She enrolled for hands-on skill training in hair styling. I started with hair styling. It was a unisex salon, she said.Her trainer was a guy. And he taught her great styling skills. He also exposed her to a variety of instruments, ranging from combs to electrical appliances such as hairdryer, hair straighter, and hair crimper. She took time to acquire knowledge and skills that eventually transformed her into a successful hair stylist.Realising that footwear plays an important role in complementing fashion trend, restless Onyinyechi also delved into footwear making, taking advantage of her knack for creativity and innovation to introduce her own shoe line. She makes shoes that are exported to Ghana. Her shoes are not just about style and design, but also about comfort and affordability.She said what gave her competitive edge in the shoe making business was her ability to learn the skill in stitching and turning pieces of leather or fabric into beautiful footwear within few hours. Another thing working for her, she divulged, is that she loves colors and endeavors to include quirky color combinations in all her designs.For the young entrepreneur, the COVID-19 lockdown was a blessing in disguise. It was during the pandemic lock down that I went to learn shoe making. Since I am a fast learner, I was able to grasp the skill within three months. I am exploring the three skills right now. I make hair, shoes for men and women and I cut hair too, she said.According to Onyinyechi, all these skills have continued to guarantee a steady stream of income both for her survive in school and the sustenance of a comfortable lifestyle that her peers can only dream of.She said she owed her string of business successes to being optimistic, hard-working, patient, and never losing focus. She also reads and visits social media to update herself on latest hair and shoe designs.
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