Though she studied History and Diplomatic Studies, Oyinkansola Alabi has carved a niche for herself in keeping love aglow among couples and lovers by helping them sustain a romantic lifestyle. She shares her story with SAMUEL AWOYINFA. THOUGH her father was not there for her for almost 15 years, Oyinkansola Alabi has not allowed this unsavoury development to affect her love for making couples have unending honeymoon - even after the real honeymoon might have been over. A graduate of History and Diplomatic Studies, Alabi states that her passion to keep love aglow among couples and lovers is more of natural gift and not out of lack of what to do. However, she undertook a course of study to give her mission the professional bite it requires in a contemporary setting. After observing the mandatory National Youth Service for graduates, she made a move to activate her God-given talent. ”Naturally, I have always had this idea of helping couples to keep their love life aglow,” she explains. ”But I knew I had to attend a course of study in branding and advertising to really give it a face. After the youth service I went to an integrated brand experience school, Orange Academy, where I did a course in branding and advertising.” With a commitment and determination to be different from others, she believes she still needs to go further in the pursuit of developing that natural gift. She went back for another six months to do a course titled Integrated Brand Experience, and after that she got the illumination she requires to be poles away from competitors in the line of business she‘s delving into. Currently through her outfit, Konnektors, she delivers gifts to couples who are celebrating their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other important dates in their lives. Even lovers who want to keep their love for one another aglow are also her clients. But she doesn‘t deliver the gifts like the everyday dispatch men are wont to do. Hers comes in a unique way: She delivers the gift riding on a horse, and with a team in tow that will serenade the host with music. And she delivers both within and outside the country. She has gone as far as Dubai and London to deliver gifts to spouses. ”We are there to give you ideas on romance and also to give you the practical,” she begins. ”We don‘t do theory; the theory is in the church. If you want to give your wife a gift and you don‘t know what to give her, you can rely on Konnektors. Again, if you want to give her a gift and you don‘t want to do it in the normal, boring way, we can do that for you.” Alabi says that she and her team constantly go to the drawing board to ensure that they continue to delight their clients. She explains that she has had to travel out of the country to learn more about romance and ways to sustain a romantic lifestyle. For couples who don‘t know what gift to buy for their wives/husbands, she says, they should pass this ”burden” to her to worry about. She adds, ”To get background information on our clients, we do a lot of underground research on them by talking to their spouses, friends, colleagues and family members. Through these sources, we get most of their preferences, like their favourite colours, their best perfume, their preferred wristwatches etc. It is this mystery that makes us unique and different. ”When we go deliver birthday gifts at people‘s homes and offices, we usually have our corporate dress on, which shows that we are there on a friendly mission and that we are harmless, most especially when the hosts are abroad and they want us to give their spouses a surprise treatment.” However, to make her trade count, this daughter of a veterinary doctor and retired civil servant mother had to go for horse riding lessons from a horse rider at the Lagos Bar Beach to ensure that she is the face of her chosen line of business. However, the masculinity side to Alabi might have been because of the fact that she had two male siblings ahead of her. She states, ”I was a tomboy, logically because I had two brothers and three other cousins, who were ahead of me. I did everything they did. I was quite tough, I played football with them. Anything a man can do, I definitely wanted to do it. In fact, most of my friends were guys, that at a point I desired that I was a guy. I love the life of a guy, the way he cuts his hair, shapes it and all that.” Alabi says when she hits the road to do her business on a horse, she records countless number of gazes and many camera phones and camcorders are focused on her. She recounts an experience along the Allen/Opebi axis in Lagos, where a white man focused his camcorder on her, and kept on her until she almost got to the location where she went to deliver a birthday gift. What really made her choose this line of business? She offers, ”We found out that the honeymoon would definitely be great, but what happens afterwards? Thereafter, couples begin to struggle with work/job, relations, bills, children and a whole lot of other things. ”The official working hours for most couples in Lagos are from 9 am till 8 pm. I say 8 pm because I had factored in the issue of traffic congestion. And if you keep on doing that cycle for one week or more, you and your wife become intimate strangers. Though you are living in the same room, both of you are not close.” Ironically, Alabi says she did not have the luxury of being involved in expensive pastimes like some of her colleagues while growing up because her father was not there for her. She states that her dad and mum were separated when she was 10. This made her to be closer to her mother than her father because ”she was the one that was there for us when things were rough.” But, she says, ”Now that I am born again, I am trying to develop a relationship with him. I hope it‘s not too late. I said this because since I was around 11 years, and I will clock 26 this September, and for about 15 years of my life he was not there. Getting to know such a man at this time is a journey. I don‘t hate him but I think I l know my mother more and I love her more.” Alabi, who says she bought her horse for almost a million naira, and spends N60,000 monthly to maintain it, advises the youths to shun the craze for white collar jobs, and look inwards. She stresses the need for them to develop whatever they have passion for, and turn it to a sellable product or service. Using the case of two graduates who came to her office recently, Alabi states that she told them pointedly that they have to look inwards and join the lean league of entrepreneurs, which may appear though at the entry point. But she argues that with perseverance, focus and determination, success and fortune will smile on them. With list of her clientele swelling by the day, she says her choice of business has paid off. Alabi states, ”Business has been good, couples are responding. However, I have discovered from research findings that most African men are not romantic. ”I would say that only about 20 per cent are romantic, while 80 per cent are not. Most men would be wondering why they should spend so much to give their wives a treat. Some people have even told me that the idea would not sell in Nigeria but only abroad. I told them that if some people could not afford it, some others would. Our customer base is not bad for now, it could be better.” Apart from gift delivery services, she adds, ”we also do personalised lingerie - night gowns for women and boxer shorts for men, personalized singlet, bed sheets and curtains. Anything you want to personalise in your room, we do it for you. We also do room décor and lighting. ”You can have as many lights in your room and each colour depicts a particular mood. For example, if a spouse puts on the red light, the other partner knows, the spouse does not want to be disturbed that moment. We also do dinner for two, we can book the venue, create the ambience and the mood the client wants depicted.”
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