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Folashade Okoya: The Amazon Who Salvaged Eleganza Business Empire - Career - Nairaland

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Folashade Okoya: The Amazon Who Salvaged Eleganza Business Empire by MakeItBiz: 1:28pm On Jul 01, 2019
If Alhaji Taju Adeleye and his wife, Nimota had hired an astrologer to peep into the future of Folashade, their daughter who was born in Lagos on April 25, 1977, they most probably would have been completely dumbfounded to hear about the messianic role she would play in turning around the fortunes of a haemorrhaging business empire.

But this was exactly what the gods decreed for Folashade. When the Founder/Chairman of Eleganza Industries Limited, Alhaji Razak Okoya who was then 59, got married to her 21 years ago, he was actually bringing into his family a woman who would turn out to be the saviour of his legacy. By her drive, commitment and business sagacity, Folashade has proved that she could only have been an Avatar of Mami Wata, the water goddess who was venerated throughout Africa. According to J.F. Penn, the acclaimed British author who specialised in writing about religion and psychology, Mami Wata, the deity, can be volatile and dangerous, yet protective and nurturing.

In her case, Folashade has been the reincarnation of the latter attributes of Mami Wata and she has brought good financial fortune to Eleganza Industries.

Folashade’s beginnings

Folashade who grew up in Lagos, read Banking and Finance at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, where she bagged an Ordinary National Diploma (OND). She later studied Sociology at the University of Lagos.

The Amazon who was raised by her grandmother had this to say in an interview about her upbringing:

“I grew up in a family where discipline was the watchword, a family that did not compromise on respect, irrespective of your age. When I grew up under those circumstances, I had no difficulty taking after my grandmother. She was everything to me. May her soul rest in peace.

“I had a strict, but loving upbringing. My childhood memories are still very fresh. My grandmother was very strict and apart from that, she was a businesswoman. I learnt part of that from her. Majorly, I was determined that I wanted to be a businesswoman when I grow up and make money for myself.”

Rise and decline of Eleganza

Alhaji Razak Akanni Okoya born on 12th January 1940, started his business in a very small way. With 70 pounds, he began importing and trading in goods from Japan.

Okoya’s first wife, Kuburat Okoya inadvertently gave her husband his first break. She was obsessed with costly jewellery, according to Wikipedia. She imported them at very expensive prices. Okoya was baffled with the cost of the imported jewellery in view of the abundance of the raw material in Nigeria. Since the local demand for jewellery was high, he travelled abroad, bought some jewellery manufacturing machines, brought in some experts, and started manufacturing the jewellery at low costs. The success was phenomenal and this led to a remarkable major break for him. After the establishment of the Eleganza Jewellery brand, the business mogul commenced the importation of shoes in large quantities.

The organisation also went into the manufacturing of pens.

However, the fortunes of the business, after many years, began to dip.

A Deborah steps in

The emergence of Folashade as the superintendent of the business reminds one of the Biblical story of Deborah.

It was one of the darkest periods of the history of ancient Israel. For 20 years, God’s chosen people were under the oppressive rule of foreigners, the Canaanites. All the men of valour had gone weak. No one dared to stand to lead the Israelites to revolt against their foreign oppressors.

But Deborah took up the gauntlet. She influenced Captain Barak to mobilise forces against the Canaanites. And victory was the consequence of her efforts. This biblical story also bore similarity with the strategic intervention of Moremi Ajasoro in saving the Ife people from Ìgbò marauders.

In Alhaji Okoya’s old age, Eleganza Industries Limited had suffered a setback. But by some stroke of genius, the business is on a rebound as Eleganza Industrial City Limited with Folashade as the Managing Director.

The company currently sits on a 35- hectare land at Km 68 Lekki- Epe Expressway, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.

Eleganza has now become a foremost producer of chairs, tables, school tables, cooling boxes and food warmers, baby diapers, sanitary pads, suitcases, pet bottles and beauty soaps, slippers for both ladies and men, disposables and re-usable products.

The company manufactures over 68 different designs of standard chairs for various organisations including churches, event centres, eateries and hotels.

The plan is not to export the company’s products just to West African countries, but all over the world.

Eleganza is said to have over 2,000 workers now. It has become a classic modern case of a swift trajectory from ashes to smash hits.

Celebrated more for her visibility in the social circle than her cerebral contributions to Nigeria’s industrial renaissance, Folashade has proved that it is indeed possible for a frontline socialite to be an accomplished business icon.

Having done well to rescue the Eleganza business empire, perhaps, her next target is to become the glue that unites the Razak Okoya family. It’s just about time!!!

Honours and titles

Folashade was on 23rd August 2014 conferred Doctor of Science, D. Sc (Honorary Causa) in Business Management and Corporate Leadership by the committee of the European American University.

She also has several chieftaincy titles, which include: Bewaji of Lagos, Otun Aare Iyalaje of Ajiranland, Yeye Oge of Epe Land and Ajisewa of Oke Ona Egba

Quotes from Folashade Okoya

“As you know, repositioning is the key. Eleganza Industries had suffered a major setback over the past years, but it has returned bigger, stronger and better under the name Eleganza Industrial City Limited with premium products at affordable prices.”

“I’ve always looked forward to being a businesswoman. Being married to my husband has added to that. I don’t believe in failing. I get a little bit shy of failure. I don’t want to fail in whatever I tried to do. It’s a is a no-go area for me.”


CC: Crazyman 1forall

Re: Folashade Okoya: The Amazon Who Salvaged Eleganza Business Empire by donbachi(m): 1:47pm On Jul 01, 2019
It should have been"the elegant woman who salvaged eleganza empire"...kudos mami.
Re: Folashade Okoya: The Amazon Who Salvaged Eleganza Business Empire by MakeItBiz: 2:59pm On Jul 01, 2019
It should have been"the elegant woman who salvaged eleganza empire"...kudos mami.

Thank you.

Modified: We cannot make that adjustment as it is the headline on the website. Thanks for the suggestion.

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