My name is Manfon Felix Anyam, the Daughter of Elder Simeon Nyang Ntino, a native of Abijang, Etung Local Government Area, Cross River State. I am the MD/CEO MannyRoyal Resources.
Born on 14th February, 1981. I learnt salient lessons about the world of business staff personalities, organizational behaviour and the role of temperament in the success/failure of business. Growing up with enterprising people like my parents and other significant persons has helped me wade the storms, fuel my passion and built a psychology that has aided me to progress in the field of hospitality and entrepreneurship.
HOW THE JOURNEY OF MANNYROYAL RESOURCES BEGAN:
Becoming a successful entrepreneur especially of large scale production and be an employer of labour is a dream that I have held from my secondary school days. My passion and curiosity to achieve this grew even stronger during my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year. I served in Kano State at the Federal College of Education, Kano and passed out on September 11, 2008. I am a graduate of Psychology from the University of Uyo, 2006.
MY FIRST BUSINESS VENTURE:
In April, 2008, I proceeded to the Corporate Affairs Commission and obtained a certificate of Registration of Business Name. I believed that with this, my business would have more credibility and win the air of seriousness wherever I went or where opportunities presented itself (like this 2015 Business Icons Summit).
I registered my contact address which enabled me have a letter headed paper and Business Card for which I used to write proposals and do mini contracts, handle events and make supplies. After my NYSC, I began my first venture with making and supplying pea-nuts to supermarkets in my neighbourhood and relaxation centres. At the end of the service year, it dawned on me that the monthly Nine Thousand Five Hundred Naira will no longer come – i.e. our monthly allowance as Corpers.
I thought that coming back home immediately was not an option as I needed to maximize the aim of the National Youth Service project – one of which was National Integration. Rather than come back to my parents hands of comfort, I decided to try paying my dues in life by staying back and building my dreams in an environment of discomfort; which was invariably my motivation. I needed to survive.
The move for survival began with peanuts. From my last ‘allowee’, I took some money and went to a market in Kano called Bachirawa Market where grains were sold for cheap. Bought some ‘mudus’ of groundnut, flour, sugar, eggs and a transparent container on which I had printed a slip “Manny Peanuts”, included my contacts (phone numbers) and pasted on it.
I worked on the packaging of the peanut to make it attractive. My first supply was to a supermarket I patronize. On getting there, the woman was reluctant about buying from me for fear that they may not buy. I encouraged her to sample it, if they don’t, I will pick them back without pay. “I knew I had done my best and believed it will sell”.
Surprisingly, later that evening I went back there to buy something, on getting there she demanded for more that customers came back asking for more of it. That is how that channel opened further to more supermarkets, restaurants and snacks stores.
I began to get orders from homes whose children refused to go to school without “Manny Peanuts” in their lunch packs. The demand got high but I could not sustain large scale production for lack of industrial equipment and man power to meet this demand. I could no longer continue with this because it was very demanding on me all alone. Rather than compromise quality. I opened my first Current Account with proceeds from this business, I made good profit.
MY SECOND VENTURE:
After discontinuing with the peanut enterprise, I went into food business, I took over the management of the Officers’ Mess restaurant, in the Barracks I lived as a Corper, ran it successfully serving both African Dishes and confectionary.
I had five staff on my payroll monthly; until insinuations began from a group of officers. I left to avoid falling out with the senior man in charge, to let peace reign. I proceeded to register for fashion and design lessons, with a Ghanaian Taylor at Sabon gari, Kano.
THE JOURNEY UP TO DATE:
Through these ventures, I was now well known/popular in the area. I took advantage of the opportunity I now had as a trained Fashion Designer. I started making clothes in my room with one sewing machine. I did not bother much about external publicity but used every opportunity to make a dress for someone as a contact for another by making sure I made it beautifully and creatively.
That was how inside my room, I made clothes for my clients, friends from the international community, robbed choir/choral groups and more. At this point, I needed more space to handle trainees/apprentices who just kept coming.
I had fifteen apprentices training under me. I proceeded to rent the Nigerian Army officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) Tailoring Hall which had been locked and redundant with several machines locked in there. I converted it to a Fashion Training Institution where both officers, Soldiers’ wives and people from town came to train and patronize my services.
Following the Boko Haram Insurgence in the North, my parents insisted I relocate from Kano. I relocated to Abuja where it was like starting all over again in my one room self-contained apartment. I lived inside and used the verandah as my workshop. It was a very challenging period for me and my business.
High cost of accommodation and shops were main challenges I faced; it was difficult to monitor profit because of bills. I worked to just pay rents and bills. I could not cope with this. I sought for a more realistic option after spending two years in Abuja.
I gathered great lessons though in Abuja within 2012/2013. In 2014, I relocated from Abuja to Lagos before which I had gone there to carryout feasibility study and what possible opportunities I could harness. I registered for Ankara Craft Training (where I learnt to customize and cover books, make dress accessories, bags, clutches and more with Ankara (African Fabrics).
I later relocated to Lagos where God presented me the opportunity to buy two shops in my name which today serve as my Business Headquarters with Staff. We produce both male and female designs on order and for sale. We also train in not just sewing but Ankara Branding for hotels, organize trainings at subsidized rate for interested youths and women.
My dream is gradually becoming a reality and I believe it can only get better. Currently, I’m working to get a training location in Cross River State. Open another Branch at Obudu, Cross River State to reach out to the Obudu/Obanliku/Ikom Youths, Women, School Leavers and Students of Tertiary Institutions who will love to acquire skills for self-reliance. I carry out campaigns in churches and schools.
OPPORTUNITY AND CHALLENGES:
The journey of a million miles begins with a step. I only try to cut my story short for reasons of space, but I wish to emphasise that opportunities present themselves in different ways. Mine here was the absence of a steady, paid or white collar job. The absence of a job expanded the rays of introspection – I looked more inside me for something that could complement needs outside.
I always thought of how one could make clothes for people with little or no complain by the clients, how to do what no one is doing by building a monopoly of ideas, find solution to problems and meeting needs, putting smile on faces by bringing out your best-Hospitality.
I found that the world of Fashion and Food (2Fs) were areas that could never die out as long as life exists because they are basic and doing what I could to be the one giving answers to the ‘Whys’ in my little corner.
I have the opportunity of brewing change in a positive direction by getting people to think like me, and duplicate and expand on my network; knowing that those I inspired with this knowledge are also inspiring others and believe in themselves as agents of solution.
Success in business/vision is not a smooth ride. Sometimes it could get very discouraging especially when your mind is full of ideas like you could even see them work yet, it is not physically a reality because you lack the wherewithal to execute it. I learnt to take risks, I suffered loses too from impossible clients.
LESSONS WORTH LEARNING:
1. All things being equal, I learnt how long to endure some clients and when to stop and still be acquaintances.
2. In the world of business, courage and passion go hand-in-hand. There are times when your courage needs your passion to complement it to achievement.
3. Not everyone will believe in your vision but you must never stop believing in yourself one day, the world will save you as an icon on their platforms of opportunity, because you stayed on.
4. Let your dream be larger than life. In other words, let your dream/vision outlive you. That can only be when you touch the world with your ideas by transferring knowledge, hence building a network from your little corner.
5. Great things start small. Start somewhere with what you have. Men shall come to your rising. Your greatness may just be tied to that talent you’re neglecting because you have not got the kind of platform you want. The platform can only be prepared for the actors not spectators. “Your lifting is in your gifting”. You never know how big you can be until you look inward and dig out your empire.
6. You may never have another opportunity to create a lasting first impression. So, see every single opportunity as the only one until your success presents you another. Be reliable and perfection oriented. Everyone you meet is either a teacher, a lesson or an opportunity. Watch with an eagle eye.
7. Stability/Continuity: There is a difference between dreams and to keep dreaming. In spite of the challenges, ups and down, thick and thin moments, I just keep dreaming, I keep seeing it, working it, praying it, and I see it unfolding to reality. Constancy has helped me pull through. There could be many people doing what you do, but I learnt to do the same thing with a difference, wading the storm getting better daily.
VISION OF THE FUTURE:
1. I envisage that in the nearest future I shall lead a campaign for the inclusion of skill training and implementation subjects into the syllabus of the senior secondary schools. Some of whom for economic reasons cannot proceed to the tertiary institutions could fall back to acquired skills and be self-reliant.
This will be a distraction from vices such as teenage pregnancies, for the girls and criminal gangs for the boys to mention a few. I think that if these interests are triggered early, it is channeled to areas of perfection.
For instance, His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade’s igneous garment factory project will be regenerative and more empowering for the youth populace.
2. To raise fashion/hospitality consultants through a well organized institution here in the state especially in the rural areas where youths are giving up on themselves and often not reached. By making it highly subsidized with empowerment structures.
3. Very importantly, I desire to expand my business especially my core interests-Hospitality/Skills, workout a significant profit margin through well structured monitoring and personnel management.
Moreover, I have a target to organize training workshops to service the Obudu/Obanliku/Ikom youths. I have already printed reach-out forms to assess areas of interests and group them accordingly (Baseline Test).
I believe that if I achieve this, expanding my frontiers will be made easy. This is because from these, I can get human resources who think like myself.
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