I would like to thank Josephine Bankole for making this interview possible.
Who thought t-shirts could motivate people into losing weight or spending time in the gym.
YHP had the privilege of doing a quick interview with olu Johnson, founder of the get hench or die trying brand, a company that started from the gym.
Hope you enjoy the interview
Hello Olu! Thank You for giving YHP your time. How are you today?
I'm fine thanks for asking, and thank you for having me on here.
Can you give us some brief background information about yourself?
I am 26 years old, Nigerian born and British bred(I am bi-lingual). I am a graduate of Law. I am currently a trainee lawyer and junior manager for a company in the Rail sector!
Please, start off with giving us just a little info on who you are and what you do...Where did the concept for “Get Hench” come from?
The concept for the Get Hench brand came from a training session in the gym . After a period of about 6-8 months that my friend Shayne and I had trained intensely to be unquestionably the henchest guys in our local gym, we started training some of the younger boys in the gym who asked for help. During one of the sessions, one of the youths, Tavell, said 'I didn't come here to die, I'm not on this get hench or die trying sh**'. Everybody laughed but me, it occured to me that that was his perception of our attitude towards training and I thought we could sell that image.
How long did it take the “Get Hench” to get up and running, how many of you running it are there and where is it currently in operation?
I'm not one for procrastinating so when I had the idea, within a week I had samples selling like hot cakes and then my problem was I needed more t-shirts to meet my demands. A month later, I had funding and we were off the ground. There are three people in charge of the brand. Somehow I ended up being the posterboy/spokesperson of the executive group.
How did you fund your business in the beginning?
Initially, I funded the business by myself. I paid for all the samples to be done recouping my costs as I went along. When I needed funding to do things on a larger scale, I went to people I knew had the type of money I was looking for.. I was quite fortunate that I only had to speak to one person. The pitch wasn't perfect but the evidence of the potential and the enthusiasm I had were obvious and I think that helped a great deal.
When would you say, you first experienced your entrepreneurial talent?
I first experienced my entrepreneurial talent when I sold homeworks at school. It only happened a few times but I was excited that I was trading......or maybe it was that I was getting money that I could spend on sweets etc. Either way, I always seized any opportunity I had since then to make a sale.
What types of setbacks have you encountered? How would you say you deal with them?
The biggest setback I've encountered is other people. That includes people I'm working with(my camp) or people working with me(outsiders). No one else will be as reliable or as enthusiastic as I will about my products therefore I have learnt to anticipate non-performance of duties by others and have a backup plan.
Sometimes, it is life itself that gets in the way. Everyone does what they're supposed to and then it snows or rains or floods or there is an outbreak of swine flu or events get cancelled or something drastic interrupts ones plans. When that happens, all you can do is mitigate your losses if you have any and have the strength of character to continue with your plan.
You recently climbed a mountain, what the motive behind it was?
I recently climbed the highest mountain in England (Scafell Pike) for Breast Cancer Research UK. The motivation for me to do it was two-fold. One, I wanted to do something for a charity and Cancer Research was the obvious choice for me because I lost my biological mother to cancer. Two, I wanted to do something unusual for me and that I would find difficult and extremely challenging. The mountain climb was it.
I had no training for it and made no preparations just because I didn't have the time(work & everyday commitiments). It was an immense achievement for me. Conquering the mountain reboosted my belief in my ability to conquer other 'mounatins', some of which the Get Hench brand presents.
If you could change one thing about your business what would you change?
If I could make any changes, I cant definitely say it would be to the business itself. Perhaps maybe to contacts I've had/used and prices I've paid. (Always check to see if someone is willing to beat your current price in order to gain your custom)
Finally, what “wisdom words” do you have for young entrepreneurs of today?
'Words of Wisdom' - Always do what you've said you will do, even if it is to your inconvenience. The reason for this is that your integrity matters in business and people will judge you on it(it is a very small world and people talk). Also, don't be afraid to ask for things(reductions in price, funding, deals, extras......whatever).
The worst a person could say is no and that does not leave you in a worse position than you were in prior to. Finally, don't discriminate on who you sell your product to(you don't have to like them). Every person you snub is potential profit you push away...........in addition, make every single customer feel like they are the reason you're doing what you're doing. You will always get repeat business.
Thanks for your time olu
Get in touch with him on facebook