Jennifer Obayuwana,daughter to business mogul and founder of luxury brand, Polo Limited, John Obayuwana is the cover star of the May issue of Forbes Afrique. The stunning beauty answers questions on her role in the company, leadership and women in business.
On the story of Polo Luxury: Polo Luxury is a labor of love and hard work founded 30 years ago by my father, John Obayuwana. Born from the desire to spread beauty and nobility. Our company was created to enrich people’s lives with products of the finest quality and craftsmanship.
Over the years, Polo has evolved into an enterprise that consists of Polo Limited and Polo Avenue that offers a diverse portfolio of the world’s prestigious luxury brands, such as Rolex, Cartier, Chopard, Hublot, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. My father played a momentous role as a pioneer in this field, defining and shaping the luxury industry in West Africa at a time where it was non-existent.
On her position with Polo: As the daughter of a pioneer in the luxury industry, I grew up with a passion and interest in luxury and beauty that ultimately lead me into the path of the family business. I grew up in the business. Every summer holiday, I worked in sales on the shop floor. I also believe I was equipped for the role early on by studying International Business Administration at the American University of Paris and International Relations in Franklin. Those experiences helped mold me into the woman that I am today. I’ve also pursued Executive courses in INSEAD, Lagos Business School and Colombia which has positioned me effectively to be able to add value to the organization.
On her special approach to management and women leading differently than men: Firstly I would say being a good listener. While a majority of decision-making rests with the leader, there is so much to learn from one’s teammates when you patiently listen to their views and opinions. Secondly, I would say service. All great leaders (women alike) should serve others. This is at the heart of Polo Luxury’s success as a whole. In response to the latter part of the question, I strongly believe that women lead intuitively. In my opinion, Women in high-level positions exhibit the same leadership behaviors as their male counterparts.
On the business model of the luxury industry in Nigeria: Nigeria is the largest market in Africa and with the purchasing power of Nigerians
steadily on the rise, I would say quality partnerships and impeccable one-on-one service are the working models for our business within the region. We ensure that we get the best from our international partners, keeping the focus on the best of After Sales Service. For example, we have a Rolex installed service centre with highly qualified horologists, trained to the highest standards by our technical partners Chopard, Rolex, Longines etc. This and many more unique quality service help retain our leading position in the industry.
Photo Credit: Forbes