Otunba Bisi Oyedele is the stylish brain behind the upscale fashion outfit, Citiside. A quiet achiever in many parts, Oyedele speaks in this chat with Gateway Times Nigeria’s Dayo Rufai how he has been able to take his fashion business from the scratch years back to the zenith, among other interesting issues
Our readers would like to know you?
I’m Bisi Oyedele, popularly called Citiside, because my most prominent business is named Citiside Fashion outlet. I am a graduate and Masters Degree holder from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye. I am a member of the chartered institute of local government and public administration of Nigeria. I am a serial entrepreneur with interest in diverse sector. Just that I’m more popular with my fashion business. To the glory of God, I am the Otunba Tayese of Iselu Kingdom in Yewa land. Happily married with wonderful kids
Are you a fashion designer?
No in the context of our clime here, but I am a clothier and wardrobe manager/stylist. Mine is to help people get the right to wear for the right occasion.
Considering your location and stock, it seems that high class people are your target. Is this true?
Yes, but we are very affordable for the middle class too. One thing should be understood, looking good is not cheap, it can only be affordable. At Citiside, you don’t need to break the bank to patronise us, but you will always enjoy our products any day, any time.
What makes Citiside different from other fashion stores in Ogun state?
One is that our client base are loyal people who can’t trade us for anything. As the lead clothier myself, being a socialite has really helped me to expose my business to the movers and shakers of the town. Another thing going well for us is that, I personally go outside the shores of the country to source products and our pricing is friendly.
You were House of Assembly candidate under the ADC in 2019 election. What is your general observation about Nigeria politics?
The politics of Nigeria is evolving, our people are now so interested in who govern them. The lessons I learnt in 2019 as a contestant are enormous, moving forward I will apply them. One thing is sure, we can’t continue to fold our hands, it is a responsibility to ensure good representation for our people, particularly the people of Ipokia local government area. One thing, I just wish the younger people coming in politics to know is that grassroot politicking is the deal.
What further improvement do you have for Citiside?
If you noticed, we just rebranded, in 2019 and we are doing elaborate marketing at the moment. One thing is sure, we are introducing another line of products. Immediately the world conquers the raging Covid-19, we will be out of the country to bring in our new line of product. Let’s keep that under wrap for now.
Aside clothing, what else do you do?
Well I was born and brought up in the border community and my father is a known clearing agent. This informed my interest in the car dealership business which we do from Benin republic to Nigeria until the government’s policy navigated all cars importation off the land borders and now we import car from America strictly based on order. We are also into real estate which is being taking to another level.
How are you able to sustain your affluence as a youth?
My affluence is that of my business, and the most popular of my businesses is Citiside Fashion Outlet. The name Citiside is historical in my own opinion and those that know how we started in 2009 are testament to the fact that we started small and consistent supply of what people needed par time gave us the edge above other, hence making us influential in the comity of fashion stores. We buy what’s good, sell at a very reasonable price and yet give all back to the business. These helped use to geometrically rise to become what we are today to the glory of God.
Can you recall a memorable day as a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University?
That should be the day I met my wife; the memory lingers on a daily basis. That’s February 16th 2004. The story behind that day would be better told some other time. But, thank God for our sweet marriage and the loving kids we have as fruits of the union.
As a town planner, how would you advice Ogun state governor on erosion control, road projects and urban settlement?
We can’t overemphasize the need for drainage systems, and the government of Prince Dapo Abiodun is toeing that path. I think rural roads should be given priority too, so as to reduce the rate of rural-urban migration. And the government should find a lasting scope to partner with the federal government so that many deplorable federal roads can be addressed.
What’s are the challenges you’ve encountered running the business?
So many challenges particularly of government policy, the demotion of PZ building where our first store was located was our major below the belt punch but God has been faithful. We might not have been this independent if it did not happen. Another is the ranging pandemic Covid-19 but to the glory of God things are getting back to normal gradually in terms of sales.
What are the corporate social responsibilities you have executed as a way of giving back to the society?
To the glory of God, we have numerous students under our scholarship program. I have always been a supporter of genuine initiatives in the entertainment industry particularly in Ogun state. Just 2 years ago we gave out over 200 shoes to students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta through the MC Hardvantage initiative program.
Is there any time you were overwhelmed with your performance in the fashion industry?
I have always been an Oliver Twist in my business. No reason to be overwhelmed when I always want more and never believed I was/am there yet. So to be overwhelmed, may be when I make the Forbe list.
As a busy entrepreneur, how do you unwind?
Spending time with the family, attending to social functions like weddings, naming and stuffs like that. And once a while I honour invitation to friend’s birthday. More so as a member of Abeokuta Sports Club, I find time to meet my co-members at the club, to gist and relax after the day’s work.