Foluke Martins is a beautiful lady who looks stunning all the time.
She is into interior design and space management. The interview Oluremi Adeoye did with her recently, best reveals the kind of person Foluke Martins is. This humanist, Foluke Martins, CEO of eluxuryaccents, and social media influencer, is our woman of substance for this week.
My early life was interesting and I still cherish fond memories of it. I had primary and secondary school education in Ibadan. It was always fun walking back home from school with friends. Nigeria was safe back then. Kidnapping was a rare occurrence. I was in Bayero University for a while and later ventured into procuring and producing furniture for corporate and individual clients.
I was like a sheep in the midst of wolves. The business came with its challenges. I had to go the extra mile in preparing and presenting my proposals. If men had to give 60 per cent of time and effort to get the job or contract, as a young lady, I had to put in twice of that even during execution of the project. I placed premium importance on customers’ satisfaction. It was a function of time, jobs started coming in steady flow and I was getting referrals.
Just like every other business, the blip came. Unstable economic policies, inconsistent importation regimes and orders, lack of raw materials and lack of dedication from workers forced me to have a rethink.
I shut down the business for soft furnishing which entails me travelling to China and Vietnam to source for fabrics and what we call furnishing accents. I also import fabrics materials and accessories for furnishing,
The Nigeria of today is so far from the shadows of the Nigeria I dreamt about as a young girl growing up in Ibadan. As we speak, I’m expecting Nigeria to be in the league of countries like Brazil, Pakistan and India when it comes to innovation and technological advancement. I imagine Nigeria will be as stable as Norway or Scotland if United States of America or United Kingdom seem out of reach. Nigeria of today is in a mess. It is chaotic and purposeful leadership is lacking. Tribal mistrust is deeper than ever, insecurity is alarming and a new scary height and poverty is endemic.
I travel a lot due to my kind of business and I must confess that I have experienced the two sides of a coin. There was a particular trip whereby at some point I was treated with suspicion but when they realized I came for legitimate business which was profitable to them as well, I was treated with respect and dignity.
I cannot blame or advise anyone against moving out of the country. Basic infrastructures have collapsed, there is no dignity for human lives. Opportunities shrink by the day and the chasm between the rich and the poor is not bridged, but keeps getting wider by the day. The general sense of insecurity and looming economic cannibalism is enough to make you lose it and lose hope in and for this country.
It’s not a case of women feel they are being marginalized, women are marginalized but the good thing is many are standing up against it and questioning the status quo. Women are no weaker sex or lesser to men. Women are equal because we are all equal in the sight of God. Moreover, God created us from a substance with mass and hardness, men were created from dust. (smiling) with that I can say we are stronger. Really it is old fashion to think it’s a taboo for a woman to be ambitious or aspire for some things. Full time house wife is fading away if not totally phased out. Economic realities contributed to that as well.
For the youth trying to break even, all I can say is never seek validation from people. Be it for your dreams or efforts. Humans will always rate with standard lower than them. This means you will never measure up as they will never want you to.
Lastly, go to any environment where your dreams and ideas can become a reality
Social media influence is strong as everybody is on those platforms. It could be good if the country and everyone makes conscious effort to set a true and progressive national agenda.
I believe things will get better at the grassroots if and when governance is brought closer to the people at that level. I believe the amendment to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which granted autonomy to the local government will achieve this. It will be a question of time.
Philanthropy is the best way to serve God….. by serving humanity. I try to touch the lives of others in my own little way. By being good to myself and in my dealings with others. And if l have the means to step in to help people in meeting a want or aspiration I do.
I don’t believe in mentoring. I see it as a limitation of one’s potential and destiny. Why must I lead you through my path? Am I not being selfish? I just believe I shouldn’t limit or tele guide any human to follow my path. What if that is not his or her destiny? What if he or she is bigger or will be bigger than what I stand for or have achieved.