Entrepreneurship is an appealing possessive spirit – Chika Ilang

Entrepreneurship is an appealing possessive spirit – Chika Ilang

Mfonobong Akpan

Many love fruits, its a great nutritious addition to our diet, however, fruits can also be used in creative art.  Fruit art display is a fast growing business today, and in this interview with Happenings.com.ng, Chika Ilang, founder of Ore Services, says fruit display and carving is an intriguing and fun art and is all about adding glamour to events and occasions.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into entrepreneurship?
I am Chika Ilang, 27 years, a Mass Communication graduate of Caritas University, Enugu, an ambivert, a lover of God, life and everything beautiful and captivating.
If you are an entrepreneur, you would agree with me that entrepreneurship is an appealing possessive spirit. You could have an enviable employment but your quest to add your quota to the growth of the economy, your desire for more, your adventurous side and a lot more would keep yearning for satisfaction. I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey January, 2015, still on my second employment of two years.  I started Ore Services to cater for gift items and event favours, but fruit art came calling. My business is all about adding glamour to events and occasions.

I’m particularly interested in the fruit art display – What motivated you to go into this?
Oh my! I was beyond pleased the first time I saw a fruit display on a BBM display picture of one my contacts last year. I followed up with enquiries on how it is done and the possibility of learning the super art. She gave an overview and I was pleased. I was eager to learn but for tight schedule, learning was brought forward to 2015.  I had started the gift items and event favour part of Ore Services but my love for this art didn’t end with time and tight schedule, no way! I worked on my schedule and created a deserving time to bond with this new found love and I am thankful for my decision making sensory. I am also about healthy living, hence healthy eating. Fruit displays add colour and glamour to an event, it’s also an edible and a healthy option for guests. Clients have the unique option of ordering fruit displays for family, loved ones, friends, colleagues and associate perhaps to say “I love you” “Thank you” “Congratulations” “Marry me” “I’m sorry” etc. Fruit display and carving is an intriguing and fun art.

Owing to the short life span of fruits, how do you manage to keep them fresh?
Different fruits require different preserving techniques. Generally, blocks keep fruits fresh in a cooler, lime water keeps fruit like apple alive too, sprinkling of icy water can revive fruits too and the list goes on. When I am getting a job done, I apply as required.

Are there courses individuals can take to go into this line of business or it just comes naturally?
Most certainly! Like I said earlier, I enrolled for fruit art training. It’s a practical work. Once the passion is there, and there’s a creative mind living within, learning is easy and FUN.

What inspires your designs?

Everyday life and occasions create a picture in my head. Clients’ requests inspire me a lot too. If a client wants a baby shower centerpiece, wants to please a loved one or appreciate a colleague, my creative mind gets into play to be able to deliver a suitable piece for the purpose.
With fruit art, you explore your imagination, it’s basically an art. There are tools but no machine does the work, every fruit carving and display you see is a result of creative mind and capable hands.

How profitable is this business?
It’s quite profitable and encouraging. It takes time to put an art together, so we don’t just get appreciated for the fruits as some people would say, “come on, it’s just fruits” – our time and creativity has been infused into that fruit. So you can imagine the satisfaction of getting paid to do what you love to do, you could say we actually get paid to have fun.

How saturated is the market; how do you deal with competition?
Fruit art is a growing art in Nigeria. A lot of people want fruit displays at their events, there’s need for professional fruit artists. The market is impressive and I believe the tree is branched enough for all to perch. I am committed to satisfy my clients and that’s it.

What has been your most interesting job so far?
My most interesting display was at WOWE festival. It was actually pleasant to interact with people who admired my display on both days. This doesn’t happen much at events, you know. I had fun at WOWE.

Have you ever had any mishaps on the job? How did you deal with it?
Fruit art generally requires enough detailing. It’s a careful craft because you wouldn’t want to make mistakes though there are corrections to each manageable mistake. I try to be patient, cautious and detailed as required, I haven’t encountered any mishap but that does not say I can’t encounter one someday, I can only pray and hope it would be a manageable one.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given and received?
I love gifts! Like who doesn’t? I receive gifts and gift people often too. But the best amongst all gifts is my husband. He’s my pillar, my rock and support. He’s my own petrol, so I’m never short of petrol…no fuel scarcity with me, nah.
And the best I have given? I can’t really tell the best, the recipients would assemble to tell but I would say the best I have given is my loyalty to the few in my circle, I am that loyal.

When you aren’t working what do you do for fun/relax?

When I am not working, I am catching up with life and friends. Thank goodness for social media, my friends are a chat away when work is done. I love nature, oh! I love nature dearly. When I can, I try to savour the ambience nature holds.

Happenings Media