Oluwajare Fola-Bolumole, C.E.O, ChocBoy Brand, graduated from the University of Ibadan, as a Mechanical Engineer, afterwards traveled to the United States of America for a training on Chocolate Manufacturing and branding, after returning to Nigeria, the ChocBoy Events kicked off in the year 2013 and this year 2015 the ChocBoy chocolate party, tagged “CHOCOLATE & ME” will be coming up on the 26th December, 2015, at the rebranded Agodi Garden, Ibadan. Ayo Alex Alao, C.E.O, Jetheights Services Limited had a chat with him and you can be rest assured it was very juicy. It’s important to take note that the ChocBoy Brand includes just six man crew, Oluwajare Fola-Bolumole(C.E.O), Bunmi Tokun (a medical doctor & Quality control manager), Tolu Olutimehin(Sociologist, Social media and personnel Consultant), Noel ( microbiologist), Oluwasegun and Oluwabusayo ( the chief baker/dessert maker), these six Galacticos are the brain behind ChocBoy Brand.
Welcome to Jetheights Services Limited; we are an IT Solutions, Advertisement and Human Resource company, currently operating in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya. We currently own and effectively run more than 16 websites which are fully operational and gaining massive momentum. Now, this is Stars Connect Studio a subsidiary of Jetheights services, Stars Connect network is a programme that brings together entrepreneurs, business owners, inspirational speakers, pastors, and leaders in the society, upcoming artistes, NGOs, people giving back to the society and the world at large.
We conduct interview sessions in our studio to find out everything we can about their journey to stardom, we hope to bring together stars who can be of benefit to one another or who can synergize with Jetheights in other to impact the community. By doing this we can reach out to everyone in the society especially the youth in order for them to make good use of their youthfulness and channel their energy towards positive and productivity activities.
Once again welcome to Stars Connect Network, could you please introduce yourself and your team members?
Well, I am Oluwajare Fola- Bolumole, and this is Tolu Olutimehin, she been on the brand for five years, and the personnel manager and social media consultant, a graduate of UI , sociologist to be precise and also a photographer , this is Bunmi Tokun, a medical doctor, she has been on board before the company was birthed ,the idea birthed in her room, when she was still a medical student in University College Hospital Ibadan(UCH), she is in charge of quality control department. Busayo, the chief baker who does more of the dessert part of the product, while I do the chocolate part. And Noel, a microbiologist with Segun has also been with us for five years. We are six major people on board.
How did you come about the concept of ChocBoy?
ChocBoy: Well, it started basically when I was in school, in my forth year while in Bunmi Tokun’s room, a friend of hers was travelling out of the country and I told her to buy chocolate worth of $100,it was about #20,000 then, she sent me a message about the types of chocolate she bought, then I called my sisters and told them we are getting lots of chocolate soon, they created a blackberry group invited almost all their friends and we sold it all. I did the same thing in 500 level(final year ) and while still in the business of selling chocolate a friend referred to me as ChocBoy, and that was how the name stuck, then while speaking with some group of people, the idea of the chocolate party came up, it was at that point I knew we needed to have a company name, register it, and do other necessary formal documentation to make it official.
What is the mission of ChocBoy?
ChocBoy: The company is divided into (2) two major arms, the Event arm and the Manufacturing arm, each has its own mission, the manufacturing arm’s mission is to reverse the cycle of having to grow cocoa in Nigeria, export it and import chocolate. We want to totally eradicate it. For the entertainment arm its mission is to start new relationship, mend broken relationship and strengthen relationship, so its focused majorly on family, we hold events from time to time, children and family events, it’s the BIGGEST FAMILY EVENT IN IBADAN, because it’s the only CHOCOLATE PARTY IN NIGERIA, it will be great!
Have you started production in Ibadan?
ChocBoy: Yes, we started last November to be precise, for now we get our raw materials cocoa especially from large scale farmers and other cocoa plantations around the country, we have not started planting cocoa yet, because we are still looking for a large piece of land where we can start planting on large scale and use for production, but productions has started already, it’s a huge milestone for us though, because on the 26th December, 2015, we are offering a Nigerian made chocolate, we want people to have a taste and feel of it before it goes into the market. The chocolate industry is a very mechanized industry, because of the low funds available, we had to cut our cost, but mindful of the ability to produce quality chocolate that will compete with any chocolate in the world, comments have been positive so far.
How many team members/employee do you have right now?
ChocBoy: Well, we established the company with the minimum capital possible, my board members are also my team members, we all work together as a team. These are people that I can always call at anytime, and of course I have a lot of huge family support, especially my elder sister, and there are also four other people I call that are really 100% devoted to what we do.
Are you looking forward to expand, and what are your major plans for 2016?
ChocBoy:The first major plan for 2016, is to make sure we send a message to the world that Ibadan now produce chocolate. Traditionally, Ibadan is known to be a place you can’t come to without eating amala, but what we want is that anyone that comes to Ibadan should not leave without a feeling of ChocBoy chocolate. Also, we are trying to make history in which people will leave this country with ChocBoy chocolate and present it to anyone abroad as a proudly Nigerian made chocolate, precisely from Ibadan.
Why ChocBoy, why not ChocGirl or ChocFamily?
ChocBoy: That’s a very good question, now what we are trying to do is sell ChocBoy chocolate from the family angle, and ChocBoy was the name that birthed the company. We have names like ChocNories, ChocAbsorber, ChocGirl, ChocKnight, ChocAddict, ChocNinja, we have lots of lovely names, so everyone has an identity and that’s part of our plan. We want to sell an identity with the ChocBoy brand that when you get to our website at www.chocboy.com, you will be able to register your name and choose few other names you like, which will automatically generate the available one for you. We are also trying to produce products that are age category sensitive, and three major types of chocolate like Dark, White and Milk chocolate.
How do you advertise your products?
ChocBoy: Our major customer base on advertisement is via social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
What has been the success rate?
ChocBoy: It’s been pretty good, we have quite a lot of followers on social media, and some online companies that came on board to help push the brand.
Where do you see ChocBoy in 10-20years?
ChocBoy: Well, in 10 years precisely we would have a full relaxation center where kids and family can gather to have fun, play with chocolate and enjoy chocolate.
Now what would you want to tell anyone reading this interview about, ChocBoy and the Event coming up on the 26th?
ChocBoy: Two things, anyone reading this interview should know that ChocBoy is a full Nigerian brand, birthed from Ibadan. It’s every single Nigerian dream to produce chocolate in Nigeria, we are just privileged to act on it. Secondly, about the event I want everyone to come, why?, because 26th December, 2015 is a day you should relax with your family, it’s happening in a fully rebranded Agodi gardens in Ibadan, there will be so many varieties to look forward to, lots games and activities like Treasure Hunt, Lived sized games, Dart, Karaoke, Boat Ride, Adult Zone, P-Setting Zone, Swimming, Competitions, Horse Ride and many more! Lots of prices to be won too! So come and relax with your family, lot of calories to be consumed that day, come and enjoy yourself.
What’s your plan for the company next year and are you looking at expanding?
ChocBoy: To be honest I believe a lot in steady growth, I don’t want to rush things, because I don’t have a model I am copying yet, and if I want to build something that will last for many generations, I have to be patient and believe in steady growth. One major strategy we want to focus on is to organize a ChocBoy chocolate party between two different cities in Nigeria at the same time, also we are looking at how investors who can come on board and drive the idea to fulfillment. We are already talking to people on investing and we need more investors to help us drive the brand. But for the production arm, by next year we want to totally saturate Ibadan, we want everyone to know about ChocBoy brand, we are also hoping to expand production capacity.
It’s been a pleasure having you around, thank you very much for coming to Stars Connect Studios.
ChocBoy: It’s my pleasure.