What I Gave Up to Start My Business - Seun Abolaji
We got talking with the co-founder of Wilson's Lemonade Company, Seun Abolaji, recently. Wilson's started as a smoothie and other fresh squeezed juices stand at Covenant University in Otta but as its customers grew to love lemonade, Seyi and Seun Abolaji focused solely on lemonade production. Their defining moment came in 2011, when the brothers started selling lemonade in bottles instead of cups. Wilson's is now stocked in major retail outlets across the country. Seun tells us what it's like to build a business from scratch
A lot of companies produce fresh juice drinks, what sets Wilson’s apart?
Wilson's is more than a drink. It's a lifestyle. It's a story. It's a beam of hope. It's homegrown. It's unique from packaging to product. It's a company built and run by young Nigerians. It's courageous. It's the future. It's true.
You often speak about the Wilson's lifestyle. What does that mean for you and your customers?
The people who live the Wilson’s lifestyle enjoy going out and having a good time. They are often the trendsetters amongst their friends. They have great taste and don’t mind spending money for a quality experience. They are unique and not afraid to venture out and do what they love. They love to discover and try new things. They thrive on exploring the world around them.
If you could go back to when you first started, what's the one thing you would do differently?
I really believe this business started the way it was supposed to. In a very modest way. From ground up. Though we still have a long long way to go, we are building a company for now and the future, not just a brand.
What inspired you to start a juice company?
We simply saw an opportunity to do something different and creative. Much of what we consume on a daily basis, on the go, isn't natural. We saw the opportunity to provide a healthier, natural alternative and started a juice company. I'm so excited for everything else we have in store to share.
What do you consider more important: talent or passion?
Passion. There are a lot of people with talent, but lack the passion or courage to take the necessary steps to make dreams come true.
What did you give up to start your business?
A life of "comfort", though I've really always been a bit restless for achievement. I was comfortable working as a pharmacist in New York prior to moving back to Nigeria. I gave up close friends, love, church family, a beautiful/inspiring environment, a 6 figure yearly dollar salary, other career interests.
This is probably the most cliche question you get asked but: what's your advice to people like you who want to step out and create their own thing?
Just start. There's magic in starting. Everyone has ideas, the person that is courageous enough to just start causes the universe to work in their favor.
When you’re not working, what fun thing do you do?
Not too much. Growing our brand and company consumes a lot of time. Probably eating. I like food.