Here is a brief History Of Crafts Village Nigeria.
My name is Ogunbekun Olaitan. Well, I am basically here to tell the history of how I came about making my crafts, handmade cards, custom gifts and then going on to become an online community for local artisans and crafts men, Crafts Village.. (Don’t crucify me, this is a freestyle write up) *big grin*
Where did you learn to make these hand made greeting cards and what inspired you to promote other artisans and crafts men is a question that keeps recurring over the years, but only a few know the actual story behind it all.
Now this is how it all began… *flips to next page of story book*
It was a glamorous event back in april 2003, I remember vividly I read the wedding letter.. The uniform head-gear was orange (Gele as our people would say). Drums rolling, the live-band was so on point. I remember my mum wearing a broad smile all day. I made a vow to have a taste of all the choppies of the day but I was carried away by the enthusiasm there-in… There came the roar as they stepped in. She was looking so gorgeous in her white gown which looked so perfect on her. It was her day!!! Yes! My sister’s wedding! A young teen I was, still in my high school & well, my sister was my second mother. But now she is going to her husband’s house.
Ok! Don’t let me divert the story, lets continue on the History of Crafts Village Nigeria!
A truck full of gifts landed in their house the next day, & it took another 3 – 4 days before we opened them, & THERE IT WAS!!!! A customized handmade frame for the couple & it swept me off my feet, I fell in love with it instantly as I examined every minute detail of this lovely gift.
It had a white background with a red frame and two hearts (red & blue) crested and embossed at the centre. The names of the couple just below with some few designs around to give it a perfect finish. I was marveled, I chose the position it would stay in the house & lost interest in every other gifts in the room! It was my brother’s friend who sent the gift, and I wouldn’t stop asking the question of how to meet him. I persisted until I eventually met him & that was it.
Everyday after school I’d resume at his place. He’s got a job or not, I’d just sit & discuss cards & designs all through. I can’t forget when he asked me.. “are you a patient person? If not you won’t last making the greeting cards”. That question was a challenge & I took it upon myself never to relent or give up!!!
So I started gathering my daily pocket money (N100 at that time). Would trek to school & spend little during break and after about a month, I bought my first set of tools; a steel ruler, a cutter, some markers, a pencil set, and some card boards. My first greeting card was TERRIBLE (we are all always like that the start). But after some tips & corrections, I improved. Everybody around me got a free greeting card, as I was eager to make a greeting card and was quite desperate to improve quickly. Money wasn’t my priority then (although its part of the priority now), I was looking forward to the slightest opportunity to make a hand made card. I changed the whole back cover of my exercise books into a designed cardboard & one of my teachers (chemistry teacher, Mrs Osifeso) acknowledged the good look in one of her classes. There & then I knew I was going to impress because the woman was not the friendliest of teachers.
The years moved by & I was improving by the day. I’d steal concepts from my instructor (although I still steal from him till date) then I started having better referrals and customers from friends and family. The greeting card making grew into other creatives like wood works, wall frames, wall decors, graphic designs, printing and branding, customized t-shirts, and other handmade gift items. This period was prior university days.
And then came admission into the university, and the course of study? BIOCHEMISTRY! (well no regrets, i’d term this a lesson in life to sometimes follow our passion). Attention shifted into academics and craft push were reduced. But the real life challenge and the crafts career started right after university days!!!
The advent of social media… starting with Facebook helped with creating awareness and people get to see what I do easily. Then blackberry messenger, twitter and so on. At some point, this wasn’t enough… Only the people I have as friends see what I do, there was the drive to make more awareness and more sales. Then I started going to gift shops and some supermarkets to offer my products and services. But then there were many turn downs! The few that accepted to work with me were literally pricing me even below my cost of production.
& now I can proudly say WE have gone far from what it used to be 10 years ago. We have made thousands of cards from birthday cards to appointment cards to promotion cards to congratulatory cards and several other occasions. We have impressed on the highest level. The presidency of the Nation, state governors, commissioners, state secretaries, MDs and CEOs have received at least one wonderful piece of our Hand Made Cards at DottyDot Crafts.
Hope you enjoyed our little history of DottyDot Crafts, so we’d like you to browse through some of our old pictures & see the great difference between hand made cards I made 10 years ago and the new, trendy and unique hand made greeting cards we at DottyDot Crafts have created now.
DottyDot Crafts has now evolved into Crafts Village Nigeria, an Online Afrocentric Marketplace and Local Business Finder which is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s artisans and local crafts men. A platform aimed at bridging the gap between our local producers and their target consumers. Find Out More!
I as a crafts man have enjoyed the benefits of building my business around the online community. My craft works could be easily found when searched for and this is the same opportunity I wish to grant other artisans, crafts men and Afrocentric businesses in Nigeria.