It’s unbridled joy for amiable Foluke Moradeke Kupoluyi, wife of the Chief Executive Officer of FLIPTV, Biodun Kupoluyi as she clocks 50.
Foluke, ever looking radiant is the CEO of upscale fashion outfit, Radek Fashions with outlets on the high street of Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos and Omotola Plaza in new Alade Market, writes GBEMISOLA AKANBI.
Radek Fashions has distinguished itself as the choice of savvy shoppers, especially Radek Maternity which caters to a lot of women who find it hard to buy affordable, comfortable, stylish clothes especially during pregnancy at affordable price.
Asked how she feels at 50, the mother of two said: “I feel thankful to my Maker for creating me, I rejoice in the Lord that the journey to 50 has been a mixed bag of experiences, some good, some bad. I feel grateful that life has been of great fulfilment with God on my side, my family, my friends have been my inspiration.”
Trained as a Caterer, her foray into business, she said, started after her Higher National Diploma at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology, Lagos where she studied Hotel and Catering Management.
She later honed her skill in popular food chain, Tantaliser, where she rose to the position of a Supervisor before the vision to be an entrepreneur overwhelmed her.
” Yes, I knew it was a risky venture to be an entrepreneur but I loved the risk, I wanted to be on my own, I want to determine my future. So, I started Radek from the boot of my Toyota Starlet car I bought when I left Tantalisers.”
Working at the restaurant’s branches in Apapa, Yaba and Ikeja as a Supervisor prepared her for a lot of challenges: financial management and human resources. It also prepared her for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.
” I love to be challenged. When challenges comes I face it, solve it and move on. With God on my side, I ventured into the clothing business, moved from one location to the other, offices to offices and banks, selling on credits and at a point the cash inflow was low due to huge debts. It was a challenging period for me and I took the risk of a loan with defunct Intercontinental Bank on Ogudu road to travel to Dubai and replenished my stock.
She continued: “I used my car as a collateral. I was told to park the car in the premises of the bank until I pay back. Today, it is history, now I stock the stores with fashionable clothes from fashion capitals of the world. It was a risk worth taking.”
Other challenging period in the business, she recalled, was moving to Ogudu Shopping Plaza, the experience was most discouraging with daily low sales while loans were due for payment.
‘You don’t tell banks or finance house that you had poor sales, each time you default or fail to pay your integrity is at stake and for me, that is key, I ensure loans are paid, managed and my integrity is intact.”
Her choice of Allen Avenue after years of having her trade in old Alade Market after it was pulled down, she said, was strategic for the business.
” I took into consideration the profile of our customers because, daily, women of substance, government functionaries, royalties, achievers, celebrities, professionals walk in to buy one item or the other and I felt they deserve a level of comfort, privacy, I mean buying their clothes away from the prying eyes of the public. The ambience is welcoming, inviting especially for pregnant women to sit comfortably and shop.
Hardworking and determined, Radeke, who attended Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Gusau, Zamfara State, has grown the business from the boot of her car into three thriving outlets with interests in supply of gift items, procurements and designs of corporate uniforms for multinational companies and other firms with technical support of expatriates.
Her experience in business reinforces her belief that women have the opportunity to succeed like their male counterparts if they are focused and not distracted by mundane things.
“No doubt men are at a great advantage when it comes to business and politics but women have a role to play in all of these as partners and home makers. I bet a little push given to any woman will add more value to the man and take unnecessary stress of him. Truth is, if women put half of the energy, resources and network men deploy to any project, given the same circumstances, the results will be enviable.”
At the home front, her marriage, she said has been a blessing.
“Marriage has changed and blessed me tremendously. I married a man who gives a lot of room to express myself, experiment, allows you to grow, spread your wings. Yes, we have our issues, challenges but not enough to break us. I married my friend, a gentleman, a loving father of his children, caring and protective of his children and family.”
As a married woman with two kids, managing the home front, she said, has been without stress.
“My children are peaceful and my in-laws are fantastic, they don’t bother you. You are like another sister and that’s the way they relate with you. The Kupoluyis, home and abroad are a rare breed. Sometimes I wonder if it is because we are from the same place, I mean, we are both Ijesha, but, overtime I have come to realise it’s in their DNA. They just don’t bother you.”
Asked what would change or add to her person at 50.
“It is to perfect the use of my time, guard my time. If you watch successful people, the one thing they all have in common is that they guard their time. Time wasted is irreplaceable. I want to spend my time growing more in wisdom and harnessing more opportunities to grow.”
As she glides into 50 in grace she’s full of appreciation to her family, children and business angels.
“I want to use my 50th birthday as an opportunity to thank all the wonderful people in my life, my husband, my family, children, my business angels, my uncles, aunties and my tireless staff who make me smile, happy everyday. I say God bless you all. Clocking 50 is a very remarkable moment in my life.”
Ten years ago, she clocked 40 and her husband and family painted the town red. Is she celebrating her Golden Jubilee?
“I planned to roll out the drums but God knows better with Covid-19. Celebration at this time is against all rules, I pray to God to heal the world.”