EDITED BY VICTORIA OKON
There’s a thrill I feel whenever I create something new. Sketching was one of them but it had always been a hobby not until Nkechi, my colleague, stumbled on some of my fashion sketches and thought otherwise.
“Zee, this is actually impressive!” She said enthusiastically. “I had no idea you could draw. Do you know how much money you could make with this talent? Tomi would be even more ecstatic with these designs,” And true to her word she introduced me to Tomi who was an even greater artist. On perusing Tomi’s profile, I discovered she had many awards to her name, she studied in a renowned fashion school and later established her business while nurturing her two girls.
“I love your designs. If I were not married with kids right now, I would absolutely marry these sketches,” We both laughed. Did I also mention she was a total sweetheart? “For each illustration that I want, I’ll pay you for it. The price will vary of course, depending on the possible improvements we have to make, and how much we can charge a client for the completed work”. I swallowed, trying so hard to control myself. Deep down, I felt like hugging her and telling her how much this meant to me.
I had consistently worked on sketches for more than two years, and I knew there was a lot more that I could share with her. “Hope you understand me?” she asked looking unsure . But I totally understood. I was about to start making a lot more money. That meant: More clothes, better shoes, and I also needed to change the frame for my reading glasses. I was ready to join the Chop-life gang!
“But I need you to look around here”, she said, waving her finger around her office and interrupting my thoughts. “If you go downstairs, you’ll see about fifty people working. Almost two hundred people are directly employed by this five-year company, so what you see is a measure of patience, resilience, and strategic investment. You are never too young to learn how to use your money wisely, so whatever you make here as a designer, use the money appropriately.”
Uh. Okay. So, Tomi was either a soothsayer or a mindreader! How could she read my exact thoughts?!
“I don’t know what you plan to do, but I have met many young people who act like this is easy money”, she continued. “Maybe it is, but my experience so far has shown me otherwise. I agreed with her, explaining that I appreciated the advice.
I spent the better part of the day with Tomi and her team. That evening, her kids joined her, and she spent a good considerable amount of time taking them through their assignments. Bidding her goodbye, I left her office and called a cab. Taking the long ride home, I thought about my fear of being broke; how my father had taught me about looking for opportunities to invest. Everything single thing Tomi said, rang true.
The next Monday, I opened a Zenith Save4me account… that apartment wasn’t going to buy itself plus Cynthia’s wedding was coming up soon, I needed to get her a gift. Tomi gave me the much needed push to make pitches to other designers and that sparked a fire within.
As I walked in to see my account manager to discuss investment opportunities, I smiled. Zora, you’re actually doing big things, aren’t you? I felt so proud.