Like many African youths, Farida Musa Kalla wanted to pursue a university education and get a white-collar job afterward. Although she succeeded in attending Bayero University Kano (BUK) in the Nigerian state of Kano, her career path changed.
At age 18, she got married to a businessman who introduced her to the selling of wrappers and textiles. She started her business with few wrappers and then got $1,600 support from her mom in 2010. In fact, the cash support from her mom was to be used to buy a car to make her move to campus and home quite convenient.
However, her husband told her not to buy the car because he could not afford the maintenance of two cars. Her husband encouraged her to channel the money from her mom into her business. According to Kalla, although she agreed with her husband to commit the funds to expand her business, she feared losing her investment.
“I was seeing the money as my life because I have never had that amount of money before,” she told Youtuber Wode Maya. She imported her first consignment from India and in no time, she sold one thousand pieces of wrappers.
Kalla started her business from her matrimonial home but she now owns three vast shops with different wrappers and textile materials. She told Maya how she took advantage of social media to market her products at the time that she didn’t own a shop. According to her, she capitalized on Facebook and WhatsApp. She is now on Instagram and other social media platforms, seeking to maximize sales.
Kalla said she owns “lot of cars,” now, while bursting out in laughter. The laughter more or less signifies how the risk she took some 11 years ago has paid off. She has also built a mansion for herself. According to her, she made over $26,000 profit in her first year.
Her future plans include setting up a small textile factory in Nigeria. Currently, she makes her own designs and sends them to her manufacturers.
Like any successful entrepreneur, Kalla has her own share of challenges she is confronting. Since she mostly imports her products, the exchange rate is a major headache for her. “You cannot buy goods abroad. The process of sending money is becoming hectic, most especially during this COVID-19 period.”
She currently has over 20 people working for her and has customers across the continent, including Ghana. Kalla believes there is a lot of potential in Nigeria and particularly in Kano. “Everything is possible in Nigeria,” she said. “There is no rush in life.”
Khalla obtained a Bsc in Economics from Bayero University Kano. She got married after he secondary education in 2006, the same year she got admission into the university.