To be a Nigerian Jeweler or not to be a Jeweler: (Concluding part) by Ibironke Oduniyi
To be a Nigerian Jeweler or not to be a Jeweler continued.. If you missed part 1 and 2 check links below. Being picked by YOUWIN (a Nigerian Governmental grant scheme) helped strengthen my zeal to carry on, It gave me hope that things were going to get better and I was on the right track, by this time my entrepreneurship skills had developed thanks to the boot camps organised by YOUWIN officials, I learnt a lot I needed to know about running a business properly and effectively.
I put what I learnt to task, by asking myself questions, what were my strengths and my weaknesses and how I intended tackling them. With the funds received in batches from YOUWIN I upgraded my workshop and I was ready to work.
This time around I focused on training because I had realized that there was a new and growing market for goldsmithing training here in Nigeria and not much schools were readily available in the field (honestly I believe My school is the first school to offer these services).
I must confess, that worked because in the year (2013) I trained 7 people, 4 short courses students and 3 full time Students and also made money from selling jewelry making tools to my students and till date I have trained 21 people ( 10 full time students and 11 short courses students).
Some of ION Jewelry Design school students below (Past & Present)
Goldsmithing training also had its bumpy road for me, for example it was emotionally depressing at times when some of my students were finding it difficult to understand techniques being taught, I would spend nights not being able to sleep pondering on what went wrong, wondering if I misrepresented a technique, maybe I didn’t know how to explain well and the best of them all I am fraud and I didn’t know what I was doing at al.
Then I would get students who learnt so fast that they would start churning out projects and I would be thinking “Watch out because this one is going to give you a run for your money ” but those are the ones that elevated my spirits and re-established my confidence in what I was doing.
I have had students that didn’t finish their training because they couldn’t handle it or their parents did not believe in what they were doing and they needed to get a real job which was sad because they had potentials they just needed their people to believe in them.
I didn’t want to let go of the training because that was my current cash cow at the same time I knew I had to expand and get back on track with my goals, I was also worried that the Nigerian market weren’t just ready for me or maybe its me that is not ready for the Nigerian market.
Notwithstanding, I kept going through images of my previous jobs, analyzing my mistakes and noting the pieces I needed to improve on, which better techniques to use and how to go about them.
Fast forward months after, I had my baby and resumed work 6 weeks after (I couldn’t wait, if left to me I would have resumed the following week if not for yoruba Nigerian tradition) went back into training and as usual swept the thoughts of producing a jewelry collection line under the rug not until thankfully my new set of students kept singing into my ears and encouraging me to create a jewelry collection.
In December 2015, I made up mind to take the bull by its horn and create a collection of jewelry pieces but this time around I was confident with how far I had gone and how well, I also chose an ex-student to became the new lead facilitator of the training school whilst I faced the ION Jewelry production line department.
We are in the second quarter of the year and I am still working on this collection called the Bella Rose Collection, frightened as hell wondering if I would ever finish and if by the time I finish it would be accepted and loved by almost everyone (trying to be realistic here) but guess what no matter what happens the same lady that almost gave up on this job quite a number of times before just because her pieces were not good enough has grown a whole lot both in skills, knowledge and maturity.
In terms of handling hiccups and so on, I am ready for whatever happens, if it’s a hit I will definitely dance shoki and if it isn’t accepted which I doubt (yes that’s the confident me) I will go back to my bench and re-evaluate and reproduce because I have realized there is no going back or quitting for me.
This is my passion and my love (besides the fact that I have spent a lot of money on this business for it not to work, by fire by force I must make it work, lol) so you people should watch out because I am about to introduce the first Made in Nigeria Fine jewelry collection and take over the Fine jewelry making industry in Nigeria.
This article was written by Ibironke Oduniyi, CEO of Ion Jewelry
To find out more about her work, click to: www.ionjewelrydesignsschool.com
Check out her listing page on Bellafricana: www.bellafricana.com/listing/lagos-ion-jewelry/