CEO of Sapphire Group, Wale Jana has been a figure of distinction and one of a kind luxury as his company which specializes in the production of perfumes, wrist watches, eyeglasses, jewelries and accessories have helped define a true Made in Nigeria brand that has revolutionized the face of fashion and luxury buying in Nigeria. His more recent extension is the introduction of Sapphire Hills, which he birthed in 2022.
As the beauty of his success rose so birthed in controversies which he has been able to handle and manage. This and many more he decided to put together in his book titled, Scars. Shedding light on the book he shared that, “Scars is a book on my mistakes and lessons in business. I observed that successful African entrepreneurs don’t share their real stories. They share about the success but never about the difficult moments so I wanted to change that and share my bare it all experience in business without any sugar coating. This will help African entrepreneurs and businessmen understand what they are really getting into.”
As regards the messages and lessons imbedded in the book he added, “The messages are numerous; from selecting a name for a business to little things that we don’t pay attention to like overhead costs which could be disastrous in the long run to debt management.
One of the notable things I will never do as a business person is borrow short term money with high interest rate or use crowdfunded money.”
Speaking about payment made to investors he said, “We had a challenge with our investors which are made up of people who invested in our business. The funds were used to produce perfumes, watches, eyewear and jewelry and also to cover overhead and capital projects. The funds were short term and unfortunately we couldn’t meet up with payments because of the pandemic. It’s been very daunting and challenging but we have been making progress. So far we have paid over 200 million and we will continue to make payments.”
Moving on from Scars as he bared it all he opens up on his venturing into Real Estate and why, “We noticed that there were not many known faces in the real estate business. There are few well known brands and we wanted to change that with our strategy of merging homes with nature. Any piece of real estate Sapphire is selling will always be picturesque with either mountains or an ocean view. The strategy is to blend home with nature. The real estate industry is a cash cow, it helps that most people have the orientation that real estate is the only real investment although attention has to be paid to affordable housing and we are working on that too.”