I appreciate the life that I live – Ijaware Ayodeji

In this week’s segment of YabaCitizen, the spotlight is on the Chief Executive Officer of the popular DEJ FASHION COMPANY in Yaba. He talks fashion and how he ventured into it. Enjoy the read.

Early life.

I was born the fifth of nine children. I went to Providence Nursery and Primary School in Fagba, Lagos.

Post-Primary Education

I attended Federal Government College Idoani in Ondo State. After getting my Senior School Certificate, I went to Olabisi Onabanjo University to study Microbiology.

After I completed my mandatory one-year youth service, I enrolled in at the University of Lagos, to get a master’s degree in Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Management.

I Met my wife during NYSC and she influenced my moving to Yaba. Yaba is largely peaceful and a nice place to have a family. I have lived in Yaba ever since 2007.

Shortly after that, I went to the Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom to bag a master’s degree in Toxicology in 2010.

I lived in the UK for a while and that was where I fell in love with shoe-making and designing pieces which, essentially, is what I do now.

How did you become a renowned shoe designer?

Hmm I have always loved to look good. I have always had an opinion on how certain clothes and certain shoes should look like.

Just like Lagos is a common ground for all cultures in Nigeria, the United Kingdom is a place where people from different walks of life, around the world, expressed their sense of fashion differently. My love for fashion grew during my time in the UK where good pieces are put together, colours are coordinated, and everything had to be in a certain way. That increased my love for fashion.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?

I appreciate the life that I live now. I have made a few mistakes growing up. I do not regret making them though. Making mistakes, learning from it, and pushing forward in life, is part of life. Although, I wish I had started my fashion business earlier than I did. My love for fashion is forever.

What is the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?

I think that I learn. Learning has made me push forward every time. I have tried and failed a lot and I have learnt through my failures. I do not like to fail twice in a particular thing. However, when I venture into new things I fail. Then I learn from it and push forward.

Any advice for the younger generation?

Yes. I would say ‘be patient’. As an entrepreneur, I understand the urgency to get things done as quickly as possible, but then, there is time for everything. Through patience and perseverance, anyone can achieve anything they set their minds to. Patience is one of the things that is scarce today. I would say trust the process and be patient and learn through it and you will succeed.

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