By: MUTIAT ALLI
Chane Ezinne is a Multi tasking kind of entrepreneur who believes in hardwork and consistency; a woman of many parts, one will consider her a born model by her physique, Chane owned one of the largest farms in Lagos. Cornered recently, she tells us more her farm, why farming business is lucrative and the need for government to enlighten people to delve into agriculture. She spoke with MUTIAT ALLI on this mentioned issues and more.
With several businesses attached to your name, which did you start with?
As a child my mum has always thought us to be hard working. My mum is quite hard working herself. I read nursing in the United Kingdom. My sisters are all medical doctors in the United Kingdom. At some point when I was in the UK, I decided that Nigeria was the best place to do what I was passionate about which was cosmetology. I started with my cosmetic and fashion line and that was a few years ago. Then I diverted into my interior decoration and when I noticed that the economy has gone really bad with the recession, especially with the dollar exchange always going up, I thought of agriculture. I knew that was another means that could help the economy. Agricultural goods are assessable for people within the country. It’s not something you need to travel outside the country to get. That is how I found myself in agriculture.
What kind of farming are you into?
In my farm we do snail farming, fishing, poultry and we also get eggs from the chickens. Then we also have vegetables.
Do you export?
I have both retail and whole sale clients. You can never get enough of food. A lot of people can be into the animal agriculture business and still the food is not enough. We don’t have enough food to eat here in Nigeria let alone export. Exportation will come soon but right nigh we are focusing on providing enough for the big hotels, super markets, bakeries and companies whose demands for these products keep increasing. The demand for animal farming is quite high and we don’t have enough to meet up these demands but I am sure we going to expand much later and start up with exportation.
You say you farm snails too; do you do the local processing before supply?
Yes. We break them, shell them, and wash. It’s all organic made.
How many birds does you farm have so far?
We have about 5000 birds. We allow the layers to stay longer because of their eggs. We are working on increasing the number of birds to 15,000 and as time goes on we increase to 20,000 birds. The 5000 to 10,000 birds we have right now, is not giving us enough for our clients. This is because each five star hotel in Nigeria can demand an average of 200 crates of egg every week. Just one hotel. And then when you are dealing with about five to ten hotels, what do you do?
How lucrative is the farming business? Would you say you are making enough income if compared to working with a reputable company?
Agriculture business is a business of patience. It’s a business you wait for to flourish. It’s not a business you go into and expect billions from it the next day. The high cost of feeds is affecting the business presently but notwithstanding, it is a lucrative business.
The people that said you look more like a model than a farmer are not wrong, do you go into the farm yourself to check on the birds? I mean do the dirty job of cleaning the wastes sometimes?
I get such comment all the time that I don’t look like a farmer. I don’t do the dirty job of cleaning the wastes because I have farm attendant that do all that but I go into the farm every time. I gear up, get in and supervise. I am always at the farm. I am very passionate about the animals I breed. I have to make sure everything runs well.
Tell us your daily routine. Once you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you check?
I wake up every 4am for the past one and half years. I sleep 11pm everyday too. When I wake up, I go to my laptop to create designs for my interior decoration. I create designs for my fashion line. I send emails and then I prepare my organic body soap and body cream. Then I move to the farm for a couple of meetings and then I retire home after the meetings. I don’t have a social life. I don’t go to clubs, parties or weddings. Doing one job makes me feel like I am lazy that is why I am this multi tasking. And I feel great whenever I wake up in the morning knowing that I am doing something positive with my life.
From our discussion so far, one can understand that your outward appearance is not how you are in the inside, what would you love other women who look as pretty as you out there to learn from your personality?
I encourage more women to become entrepreneurs. No job defines who you are and no job is too belittling. You can do the job and still look how cute or glamorous as you want to look. Women should know that hard work pays. The age we are in is not a time to sit, paint your nails and wait for money to fall on your lap. Or sit and expect a man to do it all. You have to get up, get out there and work. You can still be a farmer and look as beautiful as I look.
How many male admirers do you get every day?
I cannot count but it’s natural to be admired by men especially when you are this fair skin. People believe my colour is flashy and attractive. I have a man in my life so I really don’t focus on any other person.
You said earlier before the interview that your clients call you Glam Goddess, how did you get that name?
Glam Goddess is the name of my cosmetics products. I got the name because my clients that patronize my herbal cream and herbal soap say the products make their skin flawless. They decided to nickname me after my cosmetics products.
Are the herbs used in the soap grown here in Nigeria?
Yes they are. They are harvested here. They are roots. I mix the creams by myself. I have customers in the UK and United States of America.
Taking you into the fashion side, what is your favorite fashion item? Is it the high heel shoes or the exotic handbags?
For me, I will rather have a beautiful skin. I would rather have a beautiful heart than other fashion items. I am not the high heel type because I walk a lot because of the businesses I have but I wear high heels once in a while. I love handbags too.
On the interior decoration part, how did it start for you?
I started by putting things together for my friends and family. And then people saw them and liked them, then I started doing hotels and then from there, companies.
Nursing is said to be one of the most lucrative professions in the western world. A lot of Nigerians would kill to have that career over there in the UK, why did you give that up to return here?
I love being self independent. I wanted to be self employed. To plan my own time and work for myself. I wanted to know where my strength lies and where my energy could take me. Like I mentioned earlier, my siblings are medical doctors. My immediate elder sister is a medical doctor, my elder sister is a nurse, my mum is a retired nurse but I want to be more practical in Nigeria. I wanted to do something else.
And so far would you say you are actualizing the dream you had to have a different career from that of your family?
Yes it has been so amazing. I have gotten to a stage in my interior decorating job where I don’t strive so hard to get jobs. It has been God’s mercy. My cosmetic business has been great too. A good number of cosmetologists we have in Lagos and Abuja started with me. And the farming business has been awesome too. When I introduce myself that I am a farmer, people don’t believe me. Some say I am too flashy to do anything that has to do with farming. They take one look at my skin and how fair I am and say its not true. They say my skin does not look like one that goes under the sun. But I am proud farmer. I am proud of being in the animal agriculture sector.
Nigerian government has been encouraging people to go into agriculture and now you are one of the few in the business, where do you think government can come in to help entrepreneurs like you in the agricultural sector?
Government can provide means for the serious ones. They should check the prospect some of the key players in the sector, especially those that are contributing in a large way and help them expand. Agriculture is the new oil and its very lucrative. Every home needs me on daily basis. We all eat to survive.
Do you have any new project you are working on?
Yes. That’s Timeless Luxury. I partnered with Italians to have some leather bags, shoes, belts in my name. This would be launched in January 2019. I already have samples. It is going to be as luxurious as Gucci and the likes. So, instead of our celebrities going abroad to buy good designer wears, they patronize made in Nigeria products.