Business couple, Olagoke and Abimbola Balogun, the founders of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Ltd, looked back on 10 years of their startup’s journey and had a piece of wisdom: entrepreneurship is a journey of patience and resilience.
The Balogun’s have over the last decade being able to grow and nurture their business which they see as their ‘success story’ by inspiring Nigerians to eat fresh and live healthier.
The values we share
The COO Bimbo says the values she shares with her husband makes it easy to work together as a team.
The husband-and-wife neighbourhood market is becoming a retail chainstore.
“We share so many things in common. But most importantly, we share similar values. That helps us to negotiate work together. It’s been a journey of commitment, commitment to agreeing to work together.
“Even when we have disagreements and conflicts, we are still able to navigate and focus on where we want to be. First is the issue of agreement and commitment to the same goal. So Fresh was born out of our love for eating fresh fruits and vegetables, so that common experience that we both had in our separate families was a very strong connection.”
Tech and Business
Comparing now to 10 years ago, Bimbo said technology has played a huge role in their business thus accelerating growth.
“Technology has enhanced and amplified our growth, it has accelerated our operation. We are able to reach more customers online, thus increasing our revenue.”
The decision to try again
In 2013, the Balogun’s were on the verge of shutting down and they were left with one last decision: to open one more store to try again, and from that decision, they exploded into more stores.
Olagoke said: “[We] will continue to play it’s part in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 and 3 in Nigeria, as we expand our reach across the nation. We inspire people to live healthier and happier lives, by enriching them with fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich and delicious meals. Not only do we serve rich food, fresh and healthy from nature, at the core of what we do is the people we serve.”
From their success story, Bimbo, is urging all budding entrepreneurs to “understand their business and believe in their vision, believe in more than anybody else, even when you’re asking for advise and they say don’t go, nudge in your spirit that says go for it.
“Clearly state why you want to go into business, let it be stronger than making profit, so that when the money is not coming in initially, it will not stop you.”
With 10 outlets across the nation, the plan is to invest over $10 million in the West African region over the next seven years.
It is an expansion drive to surpass 100 stores, while keeping the focus to building a healthy nation, create jobs and expand the learning and capacity of the food retail space.
Olagoke said over the last 10 years, the company has been at the forefront of the healthy lifestyle and wellness revolution in Nigeria, by promoting healthier eating alternatives and habits in line with the mission of ‘Inspiring you to live fresh, live healthily’.
“We will continue to play its part in support of the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 3 in Nigeria, as we expand our reach across the nation. We inspire people to live healthier and happier lives, by enriching them with fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich, and delicious meals. Not only do we serve real food, fresh and healthy from nature, at the core of what we do is the people we serve,” Balogun said.
According to him, every So Fresh outlet is an inspiration for Nigerians to live the healthy life they have always wanted.
“So Fresh remains committed to promoting a lifestyle of living healthy by consciously ensuring that what we eat, where it comes from and how it is prepared is healthy, safe, and beneficial to her customers wellbeing,” said Balogun.
Abimbola said, “So Fresh’s growth continues to be predicated on its focused drive, consistency in maintaining its high standards of food safety and quality products, while obsessed about connecting with customers and delivering excellent service always.”