We had the good fortune of connecting with Christine Osakwe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christine, how do you think about risk?
I am a huge believer in risk taking!
While at college, I noticed that I had a flair for interior design and decor. My friends would marvel at how easily I was able to take abandoned furniture that people saw as scraps and make something beautiful out of it. With no formal training or real experience, I helped plan and decorate my apartment for a friend who was celebrating her birthday. I put my heart, soul, sweat and blood into it. In the end, it turned out well, so well that when she posted it online, people started making enquiries. Soon, I was getting booked to plan and decorate events.
After graduation from college, I was torn between a 9 to 5 job with a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month or properly launching my business, Coco Cabana. Against the advice of many, I went with my guts and fully thrust myself into my business using my savings over time to expand our inventory and invest in marketing. It has begun to pay off but some days, it gets scary and unpredictable. This is why I have taken courses to improve my business acumen.
Risk has played a huge role in my life and career. My big takeaway is that the more I prepare, the more calculated the risk is. High risk, high reward. If you don’t try, you will never know.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I specialize in event decor, balloon artistry, and table-scaping. I have always loved creating and designing things and so i naturally enjoyed all things event decor. Because I enjoyed it so much, within few months, and lots of practice I was able to monetize what was once a ‘favor i did for my friends’
I wouldn’t say it was easy or hard. Instead I think it all boils down to interests. If you have the passion for it, the work is fun, and what could have been months of tedious practice and hours of blowing balloons, actually seems more like your favorite pass time or hobby.
I have learned that money isn’t always the goal. At the beginning of my business venture i did many jobs for free or highly discounted. Often times people would tell me I’m running a charity and I don’t know how to run a business. However, even though they all meant well, they were wrong. When you have grand long term vision for your business, you have to be okay with sowing seeds that might not seem to produce harvest immediately. Taking on free and low paying jobs to gain exposure was the best thing i ever did. It gave me the chance to perfect my craft, and it opened new doors for me. I think if you really love what you do, money shouldn’t always be the bottom line.
Now this is a different case when you have a well established business that has credibility, and experience! Once you get there its a whole different ball game!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Turkey Leg Hut Ipic
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My number one shoutout is my heavenly father. I am so indebted to God for everything I am and everything I have. And I know everyone says that but i actually mean it. My faith in Jesus Christ is something I hold dear to my heart, because he has blessed me with life, with an amazing family and a passion filled career. . There is truly nothing i have achieved without him. I have always had dreams of starting my event decorating and event planning business but i had no idea how i would even begin to pursue those dreams. God opened so many doors for me and gave me opportunities that put my in the position i am today. I spent so much time praying abut my career because i was very miserable working as an accountant. And he answered every single prayer and blessed me with a calling and a career I love.
Specially in my business there were so many times everything seemed to be going downhill. For example i had a huge event and when i got to the venue the door was locked and i had to wait for the manager to come open it. I ended up having less than 3 hours to set up when i would usually take 6 hours. In the midst of that as my heart started racing, i immediately turned to prayer. It was like a cloud of peace came over me and i knew that the event would end up perfect even if i had no idea how i would execute everything i needed to. I cant count how many times. situations like this have happened. And each time i turn to prayer and worship and everything always comes together in an almost supernatural way. I frequently call my best friends to tell them how everything was going wrong but cam together perfectly, and its always so mind-boggling. Its almost like the Holy Spirit gives me supernatural speed and i am able to work 10x as fast.
Youtube: Coco Cabnana