Principal Experience Manager and CEO of 2706 Events, Adeola Okeshola, is more than an entrepreneur! With years of corporate experience as an investment banker and financial advisor, she brings more to the entrepreneurship table than her counterparts in the events industry.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
My name is Adeola Okeshola and I am the Principal Experience Manager and CEO of 2706 Events. An alumni of the prestigious Vivian Fowler College, Lagos and Bellerbys College, Cambridge. A trained investment banker and finance advisor who has worked with Citigroup UK and Chapel Hill Denham in Lagos, Nigeria.
I am a graduate of The University of Nottingham, UK. I have a strong appetite for innovation, professionalism and service best addresses how my clients have described my work over the years. Frequently quoted in local and global media from around the world, in my capacity as a wedding expert. I am the ‘go-to’ wedding expert for couples living local and abroad who desire a bespoke unforgettable experience, on that special day!
We pride ourselves as the most-sought after bespoke bridal, social and corporate event planning company. Specialized in crafting exquisite events such as marquee weddings, destination weddings, corporate functions and private parties. We offer a dedicated service tailored to your individual needs. The company’s vision and brand mandate is driven by our impeccable creativity and passion for planning exceptional weddings, events and parties. 2706 Events always exceed expectations and deliver long lasting beautiful memories from special celebrations. With our fingers on the pulse of the latest industry trends and innovations, the 2706 team is skilled at reinventing classic and timeless themes and moments that stay in tune with contemporary style.
We have built a reputation for crafting bespoke unforgettable events where we handle all planning, event design and management services. Our clients get to imagine possibilities for their special day and watch them come to life.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
It feels great! You have your owntime which is very important to me because apart from being an entrepreneur….I am first a Wife and a Mum. I always knew I would have my own business and work for myself. I honestly got bored while I was working as an Investment Banker. I wanted something more! I wanted a sense of fulfilment and Event Planning does that for me. Watching an idea grow from inception to execution is the best feeling ever!
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
For me the event world is a world of unending research and because of this, I am constantly researching on how to do things differently. Bearing in mind the extent of hard work and workmanship that goes into planning of events, I ensure that I invest in my staff so as to get the best out of them, thereby making them look beyond the stress that comes with the job but creating a passion for the job.
I dare say we have the best office space in our industry. A truly state of the art office setting giving room for our clients to relax when they come in and to feel at home, having an idea of what to expect which is nothing short of classand also a space where the team constantly falls in love with daily.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
First and most importantly, I would say God for giving me the drive and the strength to have carried on this far. Secondly, a very supporting husband who ensures my creativity tank never runs empty. Thirdly, the 2706 team. A team of hardworking, motivated, career driven individuals who are always on their toes to ensure that every client is beyond marveled at the result of our services.
Our work philosophy revolves around these four keywords: Integrity. Innovation. Service. Professionalism. We have built a reputation for crafting bespoke unforgettable events where we handle all planning, event design and management services. Our clients get to imagine possibilities for their special day and watch them come to life.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
I honestly have not experienced any in my line of business. Others may be facing in other sectors…I however believe that there shouldn’t be any type of challenge that should be peculiar or unique to any gender. If you’re faced with a challenge, deal with it not because you are male or female, but because you can.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
a) Take calculated risks
b) Follow your passion
c) Seek balance in life
d) Have an excellent spirit
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
The Million dollar question! Lol….. This is a business that is inborn and has been nurtured from its grassroot to the stage that it is now. I have always had a passion for planning events, from friend’s birthday parties, showers and now full blown event planning with 90% wedding planning to be precise. I have always been the type of person that wants to see a smile on everyone’s face, so bringing dreams to reality has just always been a part of me. When you have a passion for what you do, work becomes fun. While other people dread Mondays…I look forward to it!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Staff: We live in a microwave generation where people don’t necessarily believe in evolving to get to the next stage in life. Instant gratification! They work for 2 months and believe they have gained the right knowledge to start their own business and you see a lot of them struggling to actually maintain the business. What happened to the days of actual development and progress in a steady rate? Let’s forget what we see on the gram! Are you actually profitable? They forget the principle of sowing and reaping.
We have recognized how to identify such people during the recruitment stage and therefore we are hiring right.
Low Grade Competition and Pricing Challenges: There is a low barrier entry into the Event industry in Nigeria… Anyone can wake up tomorrow and say I am a planner. They then begin to charge 10 times lower than you are charging because they have no knowledge of the business or even what to do. You then find some prospective client comparing your prices to those of these new entrants. We have managed to stand our ground in what we charge carefully explaining our services, what we offer and also a track record to show consistency and professionalism. Again, constantly evolving your business and staying relevant goes a long way in overcoming this particular challenge.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
I always get asked this question. Lol!! Well to have a presence first in other countries in the continent and then finally in other parts of the world. We are also working on a Training Academy where people who have genuine passion for planning and want to go into the event industry to make a difference. A lot of people are in it for the wrong reasons with little or no knowledge on how the business work. Our aim is to train on the both the passion and the profitable side of the business.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
I worked as an employee for about 5 years of my life and will always encourage anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur to do that first. You get to experience life as an employee and how to handle someone else’s business before starting yours. Another essential thing that I’ve come to learn over the years is tolerance. One must learn to tolerate and accommodate people in any area of business they find themselves. There a different type of people and being able to deal with all of them differently with their various characters is a virtue, one which must be imbibed into any business.
Research and Collaboration: You have to constantly be on top of your game by researching on how to make a difference with your events. I can not over emphasize on this. In the event industry, you can NOT do it alone…Find YOUR vendors…those who are able to execute your briefs to your standard and taste! You know what they say…Collaboration is the new Competition.
Integrity & professionalism – Once you have these qualities as an entrepreneur, then the sky is your starting point because that is what you will be known for. Always ensure you do not compromise on quality of service and then watch how you progress even with the competition around.
Finally, be patient with yourself and your goals…Rome was not built in a day 😊
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.