Creativity is the soul of business. The ability to be innovative is key to remaining successful and carving a niche for yourself in any market. That is what Olabanke Banjo did and is still doing.
A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University with a degree in Foreign Languages (French), Olabanke is the CEO of Cyrus45 furniture factory, a firm into the creation of beautiful home and office furniture using recycled tyres.
She has always being a creative and precocious child. This was aided by her supportive parents who got her paint brushes, enrolled her in Art clubs and created the environment for her to explore her artistic side.
At age 10, she was selected out of over 400 students in her primary school to participate in the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting organized by UNICEF, where she reported on street hawking and child exploitation.
Cyrus45 started off as an idea in 2016 while she was in Lagos with her sister. Olabanke decided to put to use old tyres while watching her sister’s neighbours headed to dispose of about 20 tyres. She wondered if they could be put to use in the creation artsy furniture.
The idea did not die as she went out to find out the feasibility of creating what she just imagined. Today, Cyrus45 Factory, not only recycles but also produces bespoke and ultra-modern furniture and products for the art-savvy Nigerian.
“While living with my elder sister in Lagos, I came across a pile of about 20 used tyres in her compound. Her neighbours intended to dispose of them because they had been lying fallow for almost 2 years. But being a lover of revamping old items, I asked them to give me the tyres. The initial idea that popped in my head was to make a coffee table, so I did the necessary research on recycling and reusing of old tyres. Then I made a coffee table for myself and when I saw the response from people, I came to a conclusion that this could be a way to reduce environmental pollution while also being a profitable business venture,” she told Guardian Life in an interview.
In 2017, Cyrus45 Factory got recognized at the 2nd edition of the Lagos state MSME Fair. She is, however, not resting on her laurels as she looks to diversify and also see what other uses she can put her primary medium.
She credits God, a desire to leave the world a better place, great, resilient women such as Jumoke Adenowo of AD Consulting and Ibukun Awosika, First Bank of Nigeria Chairman and CEO of the Chair Centre as her sources of inspiration.
She implores women to not fear exploring their talents as they can be who and what they want to be.