Grace Okon is the CEO of Gracie’s Choice Global Ltd, a company dealing on locally sourced, processed, and packaged sea foods, fresh fish, smoked fish, and many others.
In this interview with Austin Edoho, this enigmatic, eloquent, pretty and stylish young lady spoke on how she came into the business of selling smoked fish, and the journey so far.
Her story is mind-blowing, fascinating, motivating, and thought-provoking. Hold onto your seat as you go through the interview.
BrandiQ: Let’s meet you.
G.C: Thank you. My name is Grace Okon, the CEO of Gracie’s Choice Global Ltd, a duly registered Limited Liability Company. I am from Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, and a graduate of Mass Communications from Heritage Polytechnic, Eket.
G.C: My story is like that of every other person who created an opportunity where others saw obstacles. After my NYSC, as an average Nigerian, I found it difficult getting a job. I tried so hard to secure a job, but that was not to be. I also realized that many other graduates like myself were equally finding it hard to secure a job. It was then I decided to be an entrepreneur and create something that will enable me employ and pay people. One day, God gave me an idea. I needed to trade on something that people consume on a daily basis. You know we can’t do without food. It was then I came up with the idea of seafood. And since I come from an area where we have these things in abundance, it was quite logical and smart for me to launch into the business. Thus this business was born.
We deal on sea foods, fresh fish, smoked fish, and many others. We operate locally for now, and we supply our products to our customers in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, etc.
And to the glory of God, I can say that I have about ten people working with me, although most of them are members of my family.
G.C: Yes, you are right. We have so many people selling fish and crayfish in the market. But here at Gracie’s Choice, we process and sell our products in a unique way. When I decided to set up this business, I had to make mine far more hygienic than the regular ones in the market. Nigerians have bought into this saying that germs cannot kills Africa, and they have unconsciously prepared their minds to expect the worst in the market. So I had to let them know that there are still people who believe in food hygiene. And as such, I take my time to process my products.
BrandiQ: How has the business fared so far?
G.C: Well, I thank God for the business because I didn’t believe I could get to where I am today. It was difficult at first, but with persistence and determination, I have really come a long way. I didn’t believe that people I have never met and never known could call me up and make payment for my products. To me, it means I have been able to establish a certain level of credibility. And that’s a big plus to me and the company.
BrandiQ: That’s quite impressive. Can you briefly share with us the challenges you have encountered in the course of doing this business?
G.C: I have two main challenges .One is storage. I do not have storage facilities. That is why I work based on order. If you want your fish or crayfish, you place your order, and I will process it for you.
BrandiQ: What are your future projections for the business?
G.C: My vision is very broad. I see myself being a leading seafood dealer in Nigeria and outside the country. I look forward to having a base in every state of the country.
BrandiQ: what is your advice to young ladies out there?
G.C: People call me to ask how I started. Some people used to ask if it was my mom’s business. But I tell them no. It is my own business, and I am proud of what I do. Many people sell fish, but I sell my own fish with a touch of class. I do mine with a difference, and that has made a world of difference.
I started this business with zero capital. I got a very little quantity of crayfish, selected and cleaned it, then packaged it. I then went ahead to advertise it on social media, specifically on Facebook. When my first client placed an order for fish, I used the advance payment he made to purchase the fish, then collected crayfish on credit. I then proceeded doing the selection, cleaning, and video recording. People saw the video I did, placed orders, and I got the product, sold it, paid back the debt, and kept my profit.
Every member of my family supports me. They help me do practically everything from roasting to cleaning to advertising.
I am a Fish seller, and I am proud of it. I am humble enough to say that I am the best in my field. I am a star. You do not have to act a movie to become a star. I am also a celebrity because my satisfied customers celebrate my creativity, excellence, and ingenuity in carrying out my business concerns.
You can sell periwinkle and still make it. It depends on how you package it.
Push ahead. Believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you. You can make it, and make it big.
BrandiQ: Tell us about your relationship
G.C: I don’t really have much to say. I am a single lady, hoping to meet Mr. Right someday and very soon..
BrandiQ: How can one book for the products? How can they reach you?
G.C: You can call or whatsapp me on my mobile 08035463434
Facebook: Gracie’s Choice
BrandiQ: It was nice talking to you madam:
G.C: The pleasure was all mine.