Bounce Exclusive: From Barrow Pusher To Importer
Andrew said he started with this type of wheel barrow.
Ebonyi state born business man, Andrew Iziogo came to Lagos in 2006.
Without a penny in his pocket, his brother lent him 7,000 Naira to start a business. He used the money to buy some shoe stockings, singlets and boxers. He hawked them around streets of Lagos for six months before realizing some money to start selling mobile phone accessories at Computer Village, Ikeja using a wheel barrow.
The wheel barrow eventually rented him two shops inside Computer Village. Today, he has also become an importer of mobile phone accessories as he returned from his first trip to China, few days ago.
In this exclusive chat with Bounce News, Andrew shares his grass to grace story and how he was able to build a mobile phone accessories empire from such a humble beginning.
Andrew said he came into Lagos in 2006 and used the little money that his brother lent him to start shoe stockings business.
"I hawked them throughout the streets of Lagos" he started.
“That time, I used to trek from Apongbo to Idumota to Victoria Island to Falomo and back to Apongbo and then I will close for the day. Sometimes I make as much as 15,000 to 20,000 Naira a week.
“It was very stressful. Sometimes I had sores on my feet and thighs. I did it for some months and I realised some money, about 400, 000 Naira which I used to start the mobile phone accessories business at Computer village,” he said.
First, he had to buy a wheel barrow and then bought some phone accessories and put in it. He also paid some agberos (touts) so that they could find him a space to put the barrow. That space he paid for, which was in front of someone else’s shop, became his shop and he started selling.
But luck was also on his side. The man that he used to put the wheel barrow in front of his shop liked him. So, he permitted him to construct a counter and put his goods in. That allowed him to invest in more goods and he stopped pushing wheel barrow around. Thus, he now had what looked like a real shop.
Business was well, and about six months later, his elder brother suggested he finds a shop.
“There were three of us in Lagos at the time. Myself, my elder brother and my half-brother and all of us were in the phone accessories business.
“So, the three of us found and contributed 750,000 Naira to pay a two-year rent for one shop. After then, we came together and decided that one of us must travel outside the country to do business.
“So, my elder brother decided to travel. After he traveled, we found a second shop for my half-brother.
“It was after then, that I started business and then God started helping me and then I rented more shops to expand the business.
“Today, I bless God that I now travel to China to produce my goods and import them without going through any middleman. It is a dream of every business man,” he said.
But Andrew believes two things worked in his favour. First, was his belief in God and in himself that he would succeed. Second, was his ability to manage his finances well.
He said: “I am not really surprised that I have become an importer. This is because I believed that if God is on my side and I believe in myself, I would do whatever I want to do.
“When we were small, there was no one to help us. Even some of the relatives that we have were making mockery of our struggles. They laughed at us. So, we determined that we must succeed. And here we are today.
“Also, I learned to manage my finances well. I do not like going to my account for any reason unless I have seen that someone is dying.
“The money that I have in my account is like a forgotten money unless it is to do business that will fetch more, that is when I will go to the account.”
What is his advice to someone still pushing wheel barrow by the roadside. He recommends two things - save money and stay away from women.
“I used to advice people that come around me, that if they are serious, they will make it. But before you can become anybody in life, you will have stop following women.
“Even if you are a drunkard, there is nothing you will drink that will make your money to finish. But the only thing that will make you not to have money is when you begin to follow women.
“This is because, if you give a woman 10,000 Naira today, she will tell you thank you. Tomorrow, if you give her 20,000 Naira, she will tell you thank you.
“Next tomorrow, she will request for 100,000 Naira. You will give her and she will tell you thank you. After two days, she will request for another one, if you refuse to give her, you will become an enemy. By that time your money may have finished.
“So, if you really want to achieve something, you will have to forget about women in the meantime" he concluded.