How to turn your passion into Business – Priscilla Dikko, PeeXquisite Events.
Please let’s get to meet you. Tell us about yourself and your background.
My name is Priscilla Dikko, I am a graduate of History and International Studies, I also have a diploma in Mass Communication and I’m an alumnus of Poise Graduate Finishing School where I studied personality projection and impression management. I have a corporate background in Human capability consulting, training, and development.
How did the idea for your business come about and what was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I always tell people who ask; I am an accidental entrepreneur because it wasn’t something I dreamt of. I enjoyed my job and loved everything about it, but after a few years in my last place of work, everything became overwhelming and I needed the break, so I thought to myself, you enjoy coordinating events for family and friends for free, coordinating events excites me so why not make a career of it. It was spontaneous for me, I decided I would try and make a career of it, I love challenges especially when it has to do with challenging myself because I love to win. I enrolled in an Event Management school, after which I thought about what else I could offer in the event space and Cocktails appealed to me, so I also got the necessary training as well. Recently, I started a gifting business in conjunction with a close friend and it will be a year old this December.
What were some of the unexpected challenges you’ve encountered along the way? And how did you manage them?
In the beginning, getting the right people to work with me was a big challenge, because I am all about delivering maximum satisfaction, and I was struggling to translate this vision to my staff because we used a lot of contract staff and it changes from one event to another, it was hard having to work with people who couldn’t understand why they had to give 100%. How I was able to turn things around was to look through the people who have worked with us a couple of times, ask if they loved what they do and are willing to be more committed, those who were interested were trained and their remuneration increased as well. Today, we have permanent staff who understand and can translate the vision even if I am not there.
Do you think that, in Nigeria, guests’ expectations for the quality and creativity of cocktails at events have risen in recent years?
Absolutely, now they know what they want and would clearly explain it in detail. Sometimes we have a planned menu for our events and guest come and tell us what they want. They study the menu of their favorite cocktails. Beyond the taste, creativity is something that appeals to guests a lot, we draw them in with how the glass looks before they even taste the cocktail.
Your Industry is very competitive, what are the values that stand you out?
For event planning and management, my corporate background has given me an edge, the value I bring is that I understand business especially when I am dealing with corporate clients, I am able to translate their vision and understand the objective of the event. This has completely stood me out from the crowd. When it comes to cocktails, I structured that aspect of the business to be premium because I wanted to serve high network individuals who are about class and understand good quality. So I invested in expensive quality glass cups and classy bar setups that would give class to your event and these services don’t come cheap.
How do you market your business and what has been the ideal tactic?
Facebook has been my biggest marketing platform, most people who have bought from me are from Facebook and they always say they were drawn in by my personality, you can’t be an event planner and not give that social vibe, they have to see that they can trust you to give them a party of their dreams.
Your kind of business requires so much creativity and research, how do you generate new and timely concepts?
Cocktails are like cuisines, so we scout the international markets for unusual flavors and aromatics, that are also here but not well known, we search for themes to follow and try to bring together similar ingredients to make a cocktail. For events it’s easy to draw creativity from your client, their personality type, what they love, the job they do, the games they enjoy and it all comes together to create that perfect event of their dreams
What is your greatest fear as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage it?
Not meeting my target for the year or having to lose staff, luckily for me, I have been able to maintain a good quality of our workforce and this is because we send them on training and support them in their personal business. I encourage them to source jobs and use our tools to deliver them. I am not afraid to let them fly as high as they want.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur and your most satisfying business moment?
That I have the freedom to rely on myself and my imagination, enjoying what I do and the excitement that comes with seeing how happy my clients are after every event and also defining my income
Any advice for an entrepreneur who is contemplating a similar move into the catering/events field?
Take that bold step, get yourself trained, you have to be passionate about events because it can be overwhelming, it’s your passion that keeps you going. Don’t allow fear to win. I was scared to resign because I didn’t know if I could surpass my 9 to 5 income as an entrepreneur.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
To have taken the bold step of translating my passion into a business earlier.
What should Nigeria and the world expect from you as a brand in the future?
I want to take it further not just manage events all over Nigeria and abroad from Lagos as we do already but to establish our business in these locations, and be trusted as a company that delivers premium service.