How young CEO of Accolade Jewellers, Akolade Taiwo turned the go-to jeweller in Nigeria
As one of the foremost rising jewelers in Nigeria, Akolade Taiwo, the Chief Executive, Accolade Jewellers does not just find it effortless in delivering high-end jewelry to his teeming clients, he has become the go-to person for lovers of luxury ‘blings’ and also stand as the toast of those who want to make their life’s special occasions memorable.
Apart from providing premium custom jewelry to his clients, Akolade Taiwo is also there for his customers at life’s sensitive times. If the sparkle goes out of a marriage, he can help sell a no-longer-wanted engagement and wedding rings. He can also help modernize or liquidate estate jewelry.
The young CEO who is nicknamed ‘Accolade’ in line with his business brand, is a graduate of the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, University of Lagos. While studying in the tertiary institution, ‘Accolade’ combined his classes with taking cues from the street by learning from the best hands in the jewelry business in Lagos – he is a true blend of town and gown.
With over a decade of experience, Accolade is today chiming bells in Nigeria’s jewelry industry but his dogged pursuit of glory started from a very humble beginning.
Growing up, Akolade Taiwo said he used to visit the office of one of his uncles who was a jeweler and that was where he got the ‘calling’ to lead in the art and business of gold, diamonds. Being around it [jewelry] all day long — he decided early that he wanted to pave his own lane in the industry.
“it’s a kind of family business, my grandpa and my uncle were into it, so I also picked interest in it. Over time, I learnt the rudiments as a normal regular worker at my uncle’s jewelry store and with other personal training, I evolved in the business ” He noted.
Speaking of his hustle which is far from the adornment the jewelry business is known for, Mr. Taiwo said he worked his fingers to the bone to achieve his goal of leading life in the jewelry business.
“To become a professional jeweler is not easy, especially because it is a capital intensive business. You need to, first of all, go for the training then you can’t just start casually, you will need finances and you’ll need people to help you out on that because it’s not something you can do alone.” He added.
The young CEO said the emergence of social media contributed to the speed of the growth recorded in his firm, Accolade.
He is now finding himself increasingly working with international clients via email, Skype and WhatsApp through a bespoke process he describes as “organic and ever-evolving”. From initial sketches through shipping, “clients being actively involved in the process of creating their jewelry lend it an even more special aspect, deepening the sentimental attachment.”
“Social media – Instagram, in particular, has given me a lot of customers. On Instagram, most of my clients can easily refer customers to my page, @iamaccolade to check out the jewelry in stock and if they are interested they can easily get in touch with me to make an order for the jewelry, it is like a mobile showroom.”
Accolade, said Nigerians, especially the youth demography are coming to terms with the role jewelry play in fashion and lifestyle.
“Lot of Nigerians now know that their fashion sense is incomplete if they don’t wear pieces of jewelry – its either you put on a nice wristwatch or a nice chain or a nice bracelet or even rings on your fingers”
“Some critics think buying ‘blings’ is a waste of money but I can tell you that apart from fashion statements, putting your money on precious jewelry is a lifetime investment- Let’s not forget that in time past, a nation’s gold reserves were considered key financial asset and a major prize of war – gold is still very relevant to”
Citing other gains of luxury pieces of jewelry, Mr. Taiwo said famous artistes like Wizkid, Davido have carved a premium positioning for themselves in the music industry by flaunting expensive blings – he, however, said everyone doesn’t need to dress like celebs before getting the best use of jewelry.
His words, “ Davido, Wizkid are the biggest spenders on jewelry acquisitions in Nigeria today and this fashion culture resonate the distinction of their brand – they are always seen by their fans as the real shining stars.
“But, everyone doesn’t need to dress like a music star to be fashionable, there are lots of affordable jewelry that can give an average person the spark needed in their daily appearance,” he explained.