Monday, 16 September 2013 19:28

A day in the life of Mr Mahogany

I get a lot of messages from people asking me what I do, how do I manage what I do and what is it really like to be Mr Mahogany, so me being someone that likes to respond to peoples request I thought I would give you an idea of what my day can be like – however in this case it would be over a couple of days.

Let's start with Africa Fashion Week London, it took place in London between the 1st and 4th August and as soon as it finished the very next day I was on a plane to Nigeria. I guess some of you are thinking why on earth did you not stay and enjoy a few days of the great British summer, I would have loved to but I had two shows I was working on in Nigeria and even whilst I was in London my clients were continuously calling, so I thought that it would be cheaper to go back immediately than to waste money on topping up my Lebara card to keeping calling Nigeria.

I arrived in Nigeria in the evening and the very next day I had 5 meetings set up to see different clients and to put the finishing touches to one of the events which was taking place 10 days later and this was the TWB Souk. The TWB Souk was a lifestyle exhibition – fashion, food and music.

For those of you that know me, you know that I tend to work very late and wake up late, when I was in London I tended to wake up at about 11am, however on getting to Nigeria my whole life has changed – seriously what is wrong with Nigerians, they would be calling me at 5am in the morning to arrange a meeting or in some cases just to say good morning. I don't need anyone to call me at 5am to say good morning. People there start work early, I am still finding it hard to get use to the early morning starts but I am making progress. I have moved from waking up at 11 am to waking up at about 8.30am. I know 8.30 sounds a bit too specific but that just seems to be the time I wake up.

So once I wake up I am straight onto the computer (yes, I do brush my teeth and have a shower first), I tend to spend a couple of hours answering the 100's of emails I get daily, I really do get literally 100's of emails. I really hate early morning or generally morning meetings so I avoid wherever possible having morning meetings.

It's amazing how culturally different the ways of working are, whilst in the UK 95% of my work was done on the computer and the odd meeting here and there but in Nigeria it is completely different, I spend 85% of my time out and about, attending meetings, socialising etc. a lot of business here is done at social events and at bars or restaurants – stop being jealous, it sure beats working in an office 9 to 5.

But there's a lot of hanging around as people can be late, which is ok if they call you and let you know that they would be late but most times they may not show and not even bother to call to let you know, so that can be quite frustrating. In fact it can be very annoying but I know how to handle it now, so I just fix three meetings at the same time and hope that at least one of them would not show up. Before you start bombarding me with questions about what happens if they all show up at the same time, well that's easy – I deal with one and say to the other (said in a Nigerian accent – try it, if you don't know how to do it go and watch a Nollywood movie for inspiration) "wait now, I am coming, I will be with you in a minute" and possibly an hour later you manage to meet with them. I know it is bad but sometimes you have no choice but to be like this, however you must be careful as there are some people that work to time.

Rounding up I may get home late in the evening, make some calls and work late into the night catching up on the emails that have piled up whilst I was out.
So on an event day – case study TWB Souk. The TWB souk was a lifestyle event of fashion, food and music, it had exhibitors, fashion shows and musical performances from Omolara, McFoy, Eben and also one of Nigeria's biggest stars "MI" (Mister Incredible). So as usual it was a full production.

Employing production companies in the UK can be quite expensive and as such for a lot of events setup is done on the day but in Nigeria for most events production companies have the luxury of setting up the day before. That being the case you would believe that my job should be easier, that is far from the case. I have done events where they have 36 hours to setup and they are still struggling to setup on time. How can this be so, simply put people take their time and it makes life so difficult. I have no choice but to stay with them and work through the night to ensure that not only is the work done but done right. I have stories of how things can be messed up and you can see it blatantly won't work but they will say to you "Oga you fit manage am" translated you better live with it cos there is no way I am doing it all again.

So one rarely gets very little sleep as they tend to work right up to just about when the doors will open for the event and of course once the event starts I then have to manage, run and produce the event. The rest I won't bore you as that is history.

This is a brief overview of what my day can be like.
Published in Blog