Nwachukwu Nneka Mercy, CEO, Mercywealth Giftens, is a jack of all trades and a master of all. When her mates in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, were busy reading and learning for educational qualification, the Imo State indigene was learning the untaught surviving techniques of the school. In this interview with Lawrence Enyoghasu, the dark-skinned and graduate of Combined History, International Studies and English Language expressed her surviving techniques in the corporate world.
Where did you learn your greatest lessons?
I would say in my school. The school taught me how to survive. Before I got admission into the school, I was told that if one can graduate from the school, that means the person can survive in any situation. In a nutshell, the school taught me the basics of life; survival. In the midst of reading and learning in the school, you have to learn how to survive.
How are you surviving now?
To the glory of God, I am doing okay. Running a business is highly challenging. I am the CEO of Mercywealth Giftens, a future empire. For now, we are into making souvenir packages for weddings, trying to relief couples the stress of them buying, packaging and distributing gifts on their wedding day and afterwards.
Where did you get the idea from?
I have been to different weddings and I have seen how people scamper for gifts. In the process they distort the wedding, spoiling the day for the couples. Weddings are one in a lifetime experience, why not make it special? So, I did not buy the idea of couples sharing gifts themselves which made me to brainstorm on how to help out and still make a living from it; I thought that they could give the gift sharing segment to an agency that would handle it. If you are a regular at weddings, you will notice that gift sharing at weddings are always sectioned; some people will give to their friends while most people will give to those who bought the same clothes as theirs, as a result some people are left out in the gift sharing. These are a thing that causes rancour at weddings, in order to avoid such; you can contract it to us. Therefore, if there is going to be any blame in the sharing of the gifts, the couples won’t take the blame, we will!
Is that the only thing you do that gave you this fame you enjoy today?
We are into other things that include gifts and ushering services. We are also into surprise delivering also. In this case, we come up with ideas and brainstorm with you. This cannot be achieved if you don’t tell us little about the person, so that we can know what to package for the person. There was a time, last year that we delivered a surprise package for a customer at her office in Lekki, she didn’t know whom the delivery came from until she got a call from the person. We were there with a guitarist playing melodious songs for her. We treated her to her best songs until our client called her and we left, leaving an impression on her. Like our motor says; it is all about amazing creativity. We like to do something new. We don’t repeat ideas.
You said you also into ushering?
Yes! We are. As an event planner, you should have an ushering department.
Can one just say you are an event planner?
If you say so, I told you that the business is a future empire. It will later move from gifts-delivering to a conglomerate of businesses. I have to tell you that I have passion for ushering. In general I have interest in planning and organising of events. The souvenir packaging aspect is part of event planning. When I approach a client for a business, and I tried to pitch him or her to let me plan his or her event, if the person does not agree, then I pitch the souvenir packaging which always work. I just try my best to ensure I could get something doing in every wedding. If I don’t get to be your planner, I could supply the souvenir or provide ushers for the wedding or events.
What was your first job like?
My first job was for my uncle. I was asked to deliver a hamper to a lady friend. She was not impressed by the gifts. It got me thinking, then I went back to learn. I leant that it was not just packaging things for people; the purpose must be defined and accompanied with creativity. Now if you see my hamper packages, you will be impressed. I had to be creative to get the boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, sister and etc.
How is the experience so far?
It has been challenging, it is not easy to be an entrepreneur, especially the first year of the business, but I thank God for myself. When I started my business, there were always people who wanted to buy my idea and wished to sponsor it. It started with jobs from my friends, colleagues and family and I think it is going places. When I pray, I pray for more challenging jobs to come because they will only make the business stronger. I want to have I job that will impress me.
How does an inspiring lady like you differentiate the line between business and pleasure with clients and sponsors?
I like the question you asked, because, of a truth, as a young lady who is so passionate about her job, some people mistake it for desperation. I am God-fearing Christian above all I am a good marketer. I know how to approach people and how to turn their minds around. You may initially see me as a lady that you will like to have sexual intercourse with but by the time I am through talking with you. You will change your mind. There are different ways I achieve it; sometimes I get nasty or extremely polite. There are ways to touch a man and still not give him what he wants. I am skillful when it comes to that, I am not boasting. I am telling you that I have been in such situations and I swiftly overcame them. This business is about reputation and I have mine to keep. I keep telling myself that God is involved in this business, in as much as I need men to make it work physically, I need God to make it work spiritually and I can’t please men and displease God. What I do not to displease my God? Most times, when I meet people and I have the idea that personal interest is developing from the person, I try as much as possible not to talk relationship with him. I just go straight to business because I know that if I don’t engage you in business immediately, you will have the opportunity to express personal feelings. Imagine meeting you for the first time and I start to ask you what you do and how we can do business together. On the spot, you won’t have the time to admire me. If you admire me in my absence is not bad but when you are with me, just know that it will be business and no pleasure. Myle Munroe said when purpose is not defined, abuse is inevitable.
How did you start your business?
Most of the capital came from my National Youth Service Corps allowance when I served at the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, working as an office assistant to the Department of Languages and little donations from family and friends.
Where do you see it in the next 10 years?
I continue to say this, in 10 years, Mercywealth Giftens will only be a branch of the empire.
Source: Shepherd Digest Magazine