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My age makes clients doubt me – Uzuh

In this interview with ANNA OKON, Chinyere Uzuh, 24, a lawyer-turned event planner and the Managing Director of Qwint Perfect Events, talks about her business

 Briefly tell us about your background

I was born and raised in Lagos and I am the only child of my parents. I am a law graduate of the University of Lagos. I qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2014 after passing the Bar exams.

 Why did you leave law practice to work full time as an event planner?

It is my love and passion for event planning that informed the move. I wanted to be able to create beautiful and unique experiences for people and fulfil their dreams through their events. When I started out, I tried combining both worlds but as the business grew and the demand for our services increased, it became imperative that I focus on building the business and achieving my dreams.

 Which one pays more out of the two careers?

 I can’t exactly say which pays more as it all depends on what my dreams are and what I hope to achieve out of each industry. Both worlds are unique and distinct in their own way.

 How challenging was the law profession for you?

It was quite challenging as I was faced with the everyday practicalities of what I had studied for six years.  But the tutelage I received at one of the prestigious law firms in the country helped me to cope well with the challenges.

What impact did the two-week internship at Funke Bucknor’s Zapphaire Events have on your life?

Although short, my experience at Zapphaire Events was an amazing and eye opening one. I learnt a lot from her team on what it actually takes to plan events and all the details which one needs to take into consideration to plan a successful event.

From watching Mrs. Bucknor-Obruthe herself who is detail oriented, I learnt a number of very important things about building a premium brand that speaks quality, and I learnt the importance of being thorough and constantly learning to improve oneself no matter the level of success you might have attained.

In running Qwint Perfect, I ensure that I put into practice all the lessons learnt from my internship.

 How easy was it starting off on your own?

 There is no easy road to success. Starting off, I didn’t think it was going to be easy. I knew I was going to have to work extra hard to prove myself, particularly in an industry filled with creative minds.

 Have there been times you wanted to give up and go back to the legal profession?

 No, there hasn’t been. At the time I took the decision, I was determined to work twice as hard and not to give up no matter the challenges faced. I had made up my mind that if I ever went back to practice law, I would do so because I love and miss it and not as a back-up plan.

 How can one become an event planner?

I would say the first step is to get training. This could be with a qualified events management training academy or online by taking courses or reading materials which are freely available.

I also recommend undergoing an internship with an experienced event planner to learn the practical aspects before starting out on your own as this would make a world of difference in helping you avoid certain mistakes.

 How much money does one need to start?

An event planning business is not such a capital intensive business.  It all depends on how you want to start. I would suggest that having enough money to cover your basic business operating costs should suffice.

 What are the things that can prevent one from succeeding in the business?

 Lack of passion and innovation can be detrimental to the success of every business, particularly in the event planning industry.

The industry is really competitive, so one has to constantly keep up with and be ahead of the trends. Also, dishonesty, as in every other business, can prevent you from succeeding so it is important to earn and retain the trust of your clients for continuous patronage and referrals which would grow your business.

 How can location affect the growth of the business?

 Location plays a key role in the success or failure of every business.  It is very important to understand your business model and the kind of clientele you want your business to attract. Thus, the location of an event planning business should be strategic in order to attract the desired clientele and meet up with the demands of the clientele.

 What has been your rate of expansion since you started?

 The business was established in December 2016 and in the past six months of operation, our growth has been incredible with four successfully planned events so far, out of which three  were weddings; each with over 1500 guest size.

 We also have a host of events slated for the rest of the year and have bookings for 2018 already.

 How many people currently work for you?

Currently, I have a five-man team – three event producers and two interns.

 What are the current challenges of the business?

I get doubted by clients to entrust their events in my hands either because I am young or because Qwint Perfect is not yet a known brand.

 How do you keep your business ahead of the competition?

We strive to constantly be innovative and ensure that each client has a unique Qwint Perfect experience.

In addition, I try my best to keep abreast of the happenings and trends in the industry globally by attending trainings, seminars, webinars or taking online courses so as to constantly improve on our service delivery and raise the bar.

 How do you handle difficult clients?

Being an event planner requires you to have a high level of patience, tolerance, respect and diplomacy as you are bound to interact with people from all walks of life and different orientations.

Being a business owner, I understand that the customer is king, so in interacting with my clients, I deploy a mix of the above character qualities to ensure that each client’s expectations are met and even surpassed.

What is your advice to young people who are still looking for jobs?

 My advice to young people still looking for jobs is not to give up the search but in the waiting period, look inwards to hone their God-given talents and skills and put them to use by taking advantage of the opportunities around them.

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