Friday, 12 June 2015

Quincy’s daughter on fame, success & succession …The untold story of Dr. Keeney + How she re-branded the Quincy brand in 7 years


By on 14:29
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This



Dr. Tobi Ayodele Keeny with Mum & Dad, Dr. Mrs. Quincy & Engineer Ayodele

It was sometimes in year 2002 that famous Nigerian Herbal expert, Dr. Mrs. Quincy Olasumbo Ayodele told a Lagos based soft sell journal, Global Excellence that her kids were to take over from her in few years’ time. Thirteen years after that prophecy, her first child Dr. Mrs. Tobi Ayodele Keeney has taken over her multi-million Naira herbal medicine empire Quincy Herbals as Chief Operating Officer.

Dr. (Mrs.) Quincy Olasumbo Ayodele who is the pioneer Secretary General of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association of Nigeria and a Special Adviser to World Health Organization (WHO) on Development of African Traditional Medicine can be described as a very lucky mother as her kids are fast reliving her by ensuring a great succession plan for her brand
  Dr. Tobi Ayodele Keeney, a  University of Maryland USA trained Biologist took over the running of the affairs of her mother’s herbal empire couple of years bringing in lots of innovation that has suddenly shot the pedigree of the Quincy brand to international standard and acceptance with majority of their slimming and therapy products now wearing a branded new look.
 Dr. Keeney is also responsible for the mass attention of the Quincy brand on various social media platforms in Nigeria and abroad. Penultimate Monday afternoon, Africa’s number 1 Celebrity encounter blog, Asabeafrika caught up with this young and dynamic CEO in her late twenties for the first time ever and  spent an interesting 60 minutes with her as she opened up to this blog on her humble background, mum’s influence on her career and how she wrote a letter to success at a tender age. Find your favorite drink and enjoy the excerpts.
Dr. Keeney to Asabeafrika....'My mum raised us with a very strict hand and it payed off eventually'
Since you took over Quincy Herbal Slimmers, you have brought a whole lot of innovation to the business, how have you been able to do it?
It is not just about me, it is about the discipline that has been instilled in us to run systems. It is a family business and we are all in it. I have myself and I have my siblings and my husband, Trevor Michael Keeney.  I assist my mum in running the organization; health practitioners don’t retire because it is a knowledge based field; the longer time you spend in the practice the more you know and the more you know, the better you are. So, for my mum, she is the foundation while I and my siblings are right now serving as pillars.
“I made sure we had much of social media influence which we didn’t really have much of it before I came on board and since everybody is moving into the social media, it doesn’t make any sense for us to say we are not going there, we are balancing both the traditional media and social media because it is good to always scout your audience from all platforms”.
Dr. Keeney with Dad, Mum & the GDA

What exactly did you study in school?
I have a biochemistry discipline as first degree and I have a master of science in the health field, I moved back to Nigeria some seven years back and joined the team and since then we have been putting up a lot of strategies that will aide innovation and development. You know something you have been doing for 15 years; at that time, mum has been running the business for 15 years and it has been working at least to her own knowledge and to her own capacity and you now come in and you say everything has to be reformed and re-modeled. We took all products and put them into a new package; same content, but with a new face because obviously mum has build the name. She has indeed build the brand, she has build the effectiveness and efficacy and the everything but to take the business to the next level was a desirable venture and mum was just only one person. So, what many people can do is what somebody is doing. To get her to adapt to our own new way of doing things was not quite easy and it took us almost five years, to get ourselves to this level. My husband is an American and a consultant; he is an engineer and a business consultant. He looked at the entire process and we agreed to throw everything out and put in a more international standard process in place. With that international standard process in place, it is easier to market the brand on a global international scale. I will say he is the one that is really behind the re-branding and re-packaging. I, my mum and my sister had the intuition but the branding came from him. I know what to put inside, I know what to put in the brand; he is the one that gave it a re-touch and a feel of uniqueness.
Dr. Keeney to Asabeafrika....'Growing under mum gave us the experience to learn how to start little

Growing up under her tutelage, what did you learn from your mum as a mother and CEO?
I learnt strictness from my mum. My mum is a very strict woman and she always tell us that working for somebody will only pay your bills only your business is going to make you not just rich but fulfilled. And what is the point of making somebody else rich when you can do it by yourself? Mum is very hardworking, very, very, very hardworking. And she is not proud. So, she was not someone that started on a big level because a lot of people have this misconception that she started very, very big. No. we started very, very, very small and she put all of us in it; all of us know about the business, me, my sister, my brother, my father and my husband. My mum told us that you don’t need one million dollars to start something, if you have five thousand Naira, just start. Even this product that we put on ground, we didn’t wait till one contract came from God knows where, we just make use of the available funds we have and with that, we can run the trade and earn more. My mum is a humble starter, she is not into ‘oh, I am looking for Fifty million to start it or whatever, if you have five thousand naira or whatever seed you have, just start. Mum is someone that loves to start from humble beginning to big heights and she also believes that whatever is worth doing at all is what doing well. That is her business philosophy and that has really worked for the group. You have to keep re-inventing yourself or you become stagnant. 
“The moment we peep through the window and we see her at the gate, ‘aah, this woman has return’, we will be running around, trying to throw things under the pillow or under the bed; trying to straighten things in the living room and all that and we will quickly sit down and behave as if we are reading our books and even upon that one, she can still beat us”
An array of Quincy's newly re-invented and re-branded products

When you came into Nigeria, what were those things you were able to put in place that turn around the running of the organization?
We had to integrate my mum into the system we put in place. It is a transition and like with any great process in the world, there is always a time for re-invention. For instance, inventory, tracking of invoice, I made sure we had much of social media influence which we didn’t really have much of it before I came on board and since everybody is moving into the social media, it doesn’t make any sense for us to say we are not going there, we are balancing both the traditional media and social media because it is good to always scout your audience from all platforms. So, I came up with the social media plan from instagram to twitter to other platforms. I don’t even go on twitter; she is the one that goes on twitter. I make sure she is always updating her facebook, twitter and other accounts. Right now, we are on Konga, we are going to be on Jumia and lucky enough we have been able to get on amazon.com in the United States of America. Even the way our processes work, our administration, we have to change it a little bit because once you graduate from a small business to a big business; you must have a big business sense and process to drive your administration. My husband has an MBA in finance and his ideas come handy.
Dr. Keeney with mum & her two lovely American kids

You are a mother of two boys, so how do you manage as a mother and CEO?
Yes, I have two boys but I think it is good I am working for myself if I was working for someone else it would have been tasking. I don’t know how my mother did it when she was working in the bank and still had children and all that; for me, it is not bad because I run the show here. I am flexible with my time and I can bring my kids to work, I can schedule my work to fit my motherly attention for pre-school time and post-school time schedule with my kids. And when you run a family business, there is no closing time. Everybody closes at 6pm but we are still working till 12 and even 1am brainstorming and looking at strategic ways to move the business ahead.

Dr. Keeney to Asabeafrika....'Success in business is a merge of focus and ability to manage let downs'

From what you have learnt from your mum as the founder of a renowned brand like Quincy, what do you think is the secret of success?
If you have passion for what you are doing, you will succeed. You have to have passion for what you are doing, you can’t think of it for money first. If you think of money first, you will only make money for few years and it will go away because you are going to have ups and downs in the business. That is how all businesses started in the history of successful businesses in the world. Businesses are full of up and downs, looking for how to catch up with the best strategy. So, you have to get passion for what you are doing first of fall and within that passion, you have to work hard at it to making sure you know about what you are doing. And number two, whatever you are doing, you must never relent on the quality and the efficacy. You must not say ‘oh, because I have managed to make a fortune let me reduce the quality or dilute it, you will end up losing your margin eventually. Even if it means you are going to make enough profit margins in the course of quantity, you will discover that you are loosing out because you won’t earn customers’ loyalty in the long run. It is better to make profit margin with quality and you will see that your profit margin will eventually rise at the end of the day because your quality is constant. 
“My parent work hard to give us the best education within their means, we grew up on budget and I can tell you that we were always on budget because our parent were democratic enough to tell us, ‘look, this is how much we have o and most of it has to go for your school fees because if we don’t educate you well, you wont be useful to us”.

The Cover of the magazine where Quincy Predicted the taking over of her empire by her kids in 2002

Do you have the intention to run Quincy for life or you will like to do other things later in life?
What a question! I plan to run it for life. I mean, it doesn’t take an extra-ordinary act to run one’s own vision. Yes, within Quincy group as an herbal medical producing company, we might diversify. There is always a room for diversification; we will diversify but within the field of our expertise. There are so many things that we will love to do in the long run but it will be within the whims of medical care giving either in foods, drugs or any related practice. So, yes, we will diversify within Quincy herbal group, we will diversify. You can look at Coca-cola; they don’t sell Coke alone; that is their premium brand. They sell other stuffs that you wouldn’t even know they are the one behind it not until you look down at the bottom line, then you will know Coke is the producer. So, for Quincy, we will have a lot of sub-products and services. For me, this is my life; this is my business, where do you expect me to go next?
Dr. Keeney with her Mum, Dr. (Mrs.) Quincy Olasumbo Ayodele, Founder, Quincy Herbals

Growing up with your mother, did she ever spank you or was she just a pampering mum?
Aaah! My mum? My dad was the one we were always wishing that he will just come and save us from this woman. My mum didn’t joke with cane; today my mum has become our best friend and I see that as an irony because when we were younger, she was the one we fear most. The moment we peep through the window and we see her at the gate, ‘aah, this woman has return’, we will be running around, trying to throw things under the pillow or under the bed; trying to straighten things in the living room and all that and we will quickly sit down and behave as if we are reading our books and even upon that one, she can still beat us. She was very strict and never joked with our early years conduct and that really helped us because today, all of us are okay; there is none of us that is doing drugs or misbehaving in any form or the other; she closed her eyes and trained us well. With benefit of hindsight, I can say she is the best mother in the world.
How many of you?
Three of us, two girls, and a boy (One Scientist, one lawyer and an engineer) her training really paid off because today, our strength of character emerged from that background she gave us. And today, anytime she is not around, I try to do that to my own children, you know grand mothers will always pamper their grand kids. There are some things she didn’t take from us and I see her let it go with them; so, anytime she is looking elsewhere I will quickly apply her style on them and I think it is working. They can take all the pampering from their grand mother and take all the spankings from me.

Dr Keeney to Asabeafrika....'Getting mum to adapt to our new business sense was a bit tasking'

Where do you see Quincy in the next 50 years?
I will need to ask my own kids that question when they grow up that where do they see Quincy in the next 50 years? Where do they see their family business in the next 50 years? I see us at the conglomerate level, with hard work, high standards and faith in God; we will be at the global level. Quincy will be a household name in natural health care. That is our own specialty and we don’t plan to diversify from natural health care because natural health care is quite diverse.
Give us a formal resume of Dr. Tobi Keeney?
I am Tobi Ayodele Keeney. I attended the University of Maryland, United States of America for both my undergraduate and my graduate schooling. I worked a little bit in the US, gained experience before I returned to Nigeria to join the family business.
Dr. Keeney to Asabeafrika....'I was never born with a silver spoon'

There is this perception that children of the rich are never do wells, do you share this opinion?
Well, I don’t know how to answer this question because I wasn’t born into a rich family
You don’t look like someone born without a silver spoon?
We were born lower middle-class; we sold Puff-Puff and struggled like any average child of our time. By the time we started making any money, I was almost getting married. So, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I don’t know how to define the psychological state of children of the rich because honestly speaking I didn’t come from that background. My parent work hard to give us the best education within their means, we grew up on budget and I can tell you that we were always on budget because our parent were democratic enough to tell us, ‘look, this is how much we have o and most of it has to go for your school fees because if we don’t educate you well, you wont be useful to us. Even though we attended rich schools but we were one of the most humble kids in our school and I was not the type that when I graduate, my father will now give me a hundred million naira to open a boutique. So, you can’t define me as a silver spoon kid, I can tell you that I grew up in a working class family and we worked hard to earn our experience.
GDA display a package of Quincy Slimming Garri
What advice do you have for young people going into entrepreneurship?
They should always maintain their focus, don’t get distracted as many things will get you distracted but you owe yourself the obligation to be focused. Don’t say ‘this one is not working, let me try that one’. If you have a passion for what you do, whatever it is, even if it is selling water or shinning shoes, build a focus around it; work hard at it, don’t sleep and don’t think things will come so easy. Try and spread the awareness out there; try and preach your good news and eventually things will work out with God on your side. You will be successful some day.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

0 comments:

Post a Comment