There’s one thing we all love to see when doing business with others, and it is integrity. No one wants to be cheated or lied to by someone else, and this is the core of integrity. Every successful brand, in one way or the other, integrates integrity into its processes, be it by keeping to delivery time or giving clients exactly what they asked for.
Previously, we spoke with Oluwabunmi Fadahunsi on how she motivates herself as an entrepreneur to keep going. This week, we spoke with Oluwabunmi Borokinni on how she maintains integrity in her business.
Work role: Kid’s Coding Instructor/Product Manager.
Laptop: HP Pavilion i7.
Best work quote: You can do it!
First thing you do every morning: Say thank you to my Creator.
Best cloth to wear: A pair of jeans and tee.
For owanbe: A native dress.
What language do you speak when you’re angry: English.
Please tell us about yourself and your brand.
I am Oluwabunmi Borokinni, a graduate of Computer Science from Bowen University and the Creative Director of Craftidi. Craftidi is a brand that focuses on beautifying your space – interior and exterior with paper flowers and handcraft.
At Craftidi, we make paper flowers for events decor, picture area and homes. Other products we create include gift boxes, cake toppers, centrepieces for themed parties, props, 3D standing letters and numbers, handmade cards, and balloon art.
Nice to meet you, Oluwabunmi. What was the inspiration behind Craftidi?
I learnt to make paper flowers in 2016. I got interested in learning how to make them because I used to see my friend’s sisters posts on what she made out of paper. Before that period, however, I wanted to learn decoration but couldn’t because of school and other tech-related things I was involved in.
I began to take interest in paper flowers and she was open to teaching me all about it. I took paid classes with her and learnt from her in 2016 but I didn’t start Craftidi till 2018. I’ll say Craftid is officially 3 years old now.
Our focus today is on integrity. How have you been able to continually act with integrity when dealing with clients?
For me, the matter of integrity stems from the fact that I have a God somewhere who I intend to please every day. This covers my personal, business, and work life. It is my yardstick for dealing with people. So, my acting with integrity is a product of the fact that I have to honour God.
Interesting. Has there ever been any time when you were tempted to be dishonest with a client? How you resolved it?
Yes, there has. It happened that I had just gotten my cutting machine and I was trying to learn how to use it. I had gotten an order the day before and was to deliver it the next day. When I began to work on it, I started having issues with it and my delivery time was later that evening. This issue started in the morning and continued till noon.
I planned to call someone else to do the job and inform the client that a few things happened and she was going to get her order on Monday morning or so. I couldn’t do it and knew I had to come clean with her. So, I had to open up to her and let her know that my machine was bad and I’ll give her order to someone else to make for her. She wasn’t very happy about this but she agreed to it.
What are the work ethics that guide the way you do things?
My major work ethic is getting the job done promptly. If a client says they need their order in by 6 a.m the morning after their order, I should be able to deliver by that time, all things being equal.
Secondly, I am big on performing neat jobs. I always ensure that every order that goes out is neatly done and delivered. It is a craft and the work speaks for you. I always just make sure it is done well.
How do you gain customers’ trust?
For customers that come via online media, I do a video call with them and give them my name first. This makes them comfortable before I send my account details to them for payments.
At other times, I get jobs based on referrals. In this case, the trust issue is not there because they know people I have worked with. As much as I can, I also try to build a community amongst my followers. I comment on their status updates so there is a human feel to my business.
Another way I try to build trust with my clients is by letting clients know if I can’t deliver their order on a tight deadline. If it’s an important order, I try to see if I can work with the timeline. If not, I let them know.
Working with integrity has gained me referrals. Many referrals. I don’t even need to ask my clients to tell others about my business before they do. They sing my praises themselves.
What are the major challenges you have with acting with integrity as an entrepreneur?
Money. For example, When I know that about N50,000 will complete a job, I sometimes think to add another N50,000
Clients always want you to lower the prices of your items below what they can find in the market. But then, I have a brand to build and there is a standard attached to the brand. Most times, I have to stick to whatever it is I’m giving them, but, if it can be changed, then why not?
The next challenge has to do with delivering orders. As an entrepreneur, sometimes, you tell your client that an order will be delivered at a particular time but the logistics guys become an obstacle. For instance, if I need to deliver something at 9 a.m and I ask the logistics guy if he can be at my place by 8 a.m, he says yes. By the next day comes, you’re calling them by 8:30 a.m and they are still on their way. 9 a.m comes and they’re still nowhere to be found.
Having to use logistics companies has greatly challenged my working with integrity. I always try to get every order to the client when they want it because I don’t want them to see me as someone who is not true to her word.
Hmmm… Those are valid points. What are the main integrity tips you follow?
I always try to put myself in my client’s shoes. I ask myself how I would want someone else to attend to me. Once a client tells me what they want, I, first of all, put myself in their shoes and ask myself questions that revolve around time and money factors.
If I can do what my client is asking me for, I do it. If I can’t do it, I refer them to other crafters. I’ve done this to many clients. There is a community of crafters and I refer clients to them once I can’t do their job because the majority of the time, it’s a personalised craft.
What were your worst and best experiences with a fashion designer?
I don’t know why they always do this, but fashion designers always tend to mess up major outfits. I was supposed to attend my sister’s wedding in Lagos and I gave my aso-ebi to someone to sew. When I went the day before the wedding to collect it, I saw something different from what I asked for. I had to wear it that way though because it was for my sister’s wedding.
My best experience was when I didn’t tell the fashion designer what I wanted and she sewed something very nice for me. It was a ready-to-wear type of outfit and she has been consistent with delivering this type of service to me.
What is the top advice you have for other entrepreneurs on acting with integrity?
Acting with integrity pays in a business. You are looking to build a brand that will stand the test of time and integrity should not be far from your brand. Even when you are having issues with sales, integrity should not be far from your brand. Pick it as one of the first 3 values for your brand.
Nice! Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you for having me.
What new thing have you learnt about doing business with integrity today? Do share with us in the comments below.