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How Joke Coker built Jodot Events with hard work, resilience

Hard work and resilience are two striking attributes that characterize Ajoke Olubunmi Coker, founder of Jodot Events.

She ventured into the business of event planning at a time the industry had not gained the prominence it commands now.

Ajoke has always braved all odds that comes her way. With minimal funds during her start-up days, she weathered the storm, winning the heart of her numerous clientele.

Today, she stands out as an experienced event planner and her brand has evolved since she started 19 years ago.

Speaking on how it all started, Coker says she started the business as a side hustle while working in the banking industry.

Seeing the potential of the business then, she had to quit her banking job to fully focus on running the business.

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The entrepreneur having resigned from her paid employment in 2002, ventured into event catering. She went further to increase her stream of income by renting out catering equipment as well as canopies, chairs, and tables among others.

With a craving to do more, Ajoke decided to expand her line of business and up-scale her skills by enrolling for training as an event venue decorator with the prestigious Balloon Academy, Ikeja.

“My business was first registered as Jodot Party Rentals but when the event decoration dream became a reality, the brand name changed to Jodot Events.

“My first major job in event decor was the wedding ceremony of my younger sister’s brother-in-law. It was an open-air event by the sea at Apapa. I remember the event with nostalgia,” she says

“The appreciation and encouragement I got inspired me to keep at it. Today, venue decoration has brought me this far,” she narrates.

Aside from events, she says in her entrepreneurial pursuit, she had also tried her hands in bead-making, training as well as sales of bead accessories. But all these were short-lived by health challenges she faced some years back.

She notes that her business has continued to grow in leaps and bounds and in 2010 she had started another arm of the business, which deals in the rental of decoration props.

Explaining how she has been able to navigate the tough business terrain in Nigeria, she says “in the past 19 years, we have had our ups and downs. In those 19 years, we have experienced two fire outbreaks but with God on our side, the losses were minimal.”

Describing her effort at scaling-up the business, the event planner says she has had to seek the help of a business coach.

She reveals that the brand went through an overhaul of structures, processes, and procedures as part of their rebirth mission and employees had to take up training and attend courses and seminars to broaden their skills.

On how she has given back to society, she says the brand runs a training school and has successfully trained over 150 people in event decoration.

“We are partners with NYSC SAED ( Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development), Lagos, training corps members to prepare them for life ahead.

“For several years, we were the event decorator for NYSC SAED Lagos. We have worked also with several multinational corporations such as British America Tobacco (BAT), Total Nig. Ltd, Guinness Nigeria, top-notch schools and several private and government institutions.”

Concluding, Coker says her vision is to build a conglomerate and continue to be an employer of labour in other to add value to society by reducing the rate of unemployment in Nigeria.

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