Meet Jennifer Olize: The Young Entrepreneur Behind Top Events Company "Le Reve Events" Organisers Of Hit Entertainment & Fashion Show "MUSIC MEETS RUNWAY"
Miss Jennifer Olize is a young business minded lady in her mid twenties. She attended the prestigious Queens College Lagos where is completed her secondary education. She then moved on to study Business Economics at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and graduated from in 2007 with a Honorary Bachelors Degree. Later that year she moved back home to Nigeria for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), for the service year she worked at BGL Asset Management in Lagos.
During her study time in London, United Kingdom, Jennifer worked part-time in various capacities and also hosted several events. At an early age while in school she bagged her first job first Job as a Saturday Sales Assistant for British fashion high street retailer French Connection UK, She also worked at top leading recruitment company in UK Hays as a Recruitment Consultant.
On completion of her NYSC service year, Jennifer moved to New York in the United States to study at Conference and Event Management at New York University (NYU). After the program, she then moved back home for a second time and formed her top-notch events company known as Le Reve Events; the company now has offices in the Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos State.
Jennifer is not only an Events Guru, she also runs a fashion retail store known as "Le Reve Pieces", the store stocks the finest and best fashion statement jewelry one can find.
When asked the meaning of Le Reve Events she explains her choice of name for her company, "Le Reve" simply means "The Dream" in French, I decided to name it so because all our events can happen only in dreams, you are guaranteed to experience your dream event. When you choose Le Reve Events to create, produce, plan and organize your events, you gain a creative support team to make your vision a reality. It is the company's policy to not only plan events, but also make them successful and extremely entertaining".
Le Reve Events are the organizers of the successful MUSIC MEETS RUNWAY (MMR), now in its second year following a successful inaugural edition in 2011 at the Expo Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. MMR aims to promote talents in the Music and Fashion industries by fusing performances by some of the most outstanding artists in the Nigerian Music industry and with a runway showcase featuring some of the most creative designs by up-and-coming designers Nigeria has to offer, from Pret-a-Porter to Couture Fashion.
This event goes beyond the efforts to support Fashion and Music, it also provides opportunities for philanthropic growth through the Music Meets Runway Foundation, as a percentage of proceeds raised from tables sold at the event will be donated to a chosen charity organizations to encourage young students to follow their dreams as most of their schools are plagued with infrastructural deficit common to the Nigerian educational system.
Jennifer Olize takes time out her very hectic schedule planning the second edition of MMR taking place this 2012 to speak to us and give insights into her plans for the upcoming show, running Le Reve Events and what it takes to be a young and successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.
Tell us about your vision behind Music Meets Runway? What is the aim of bringing fashion and music together on one platform?
Music and fashion go hand in hand, without music there's no fashion and without fashion, there's no music. The idea behind Music Meets Runway is really not rocket science, there have been several shows where the models are strutting the runway and music artists are performing. However, what makes Music Meets Runway different and really exciting is the concept of having 10designers and 10 Music Artists at one event. We just thought it'll be a really good concept to have here in Nigeria, considering the Music Industry has take a huge step forward, it is basically Music moving fashion forward.
MMR 2011 was one of the biggest shows in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, last year, which drew 10 Nigerian Performers, 10 Fashion designers and 50 models, how was it organizing a show of that magnitude?
It was really difficult considering the event budget was enormous and it is very difficult getting sponsors. The Venue alone (Eko Hotel Expo Center), took a large portion of the budget, and there are really no other event centers in Nigeria that can take up to 3000 -5000 people. That one was of our major setbacks. However, we had a fantastic team and a lot of supporters so everything worked out at the end. I really commend companies like Arise and flytime that have shows on the regular, because it is really not easy at all.
How do you hope to tackle the setbacks this 2012?
First things first, we hope to get a better deal with Eko Hotel this year. Because the amount they charge for the Expo Center is out of this world, even the 02 Center in London does not charge that amount. We also hope that more companies come in to support us this year, and hopefully even Lagos state. So we'll reduce the costs of our production.
Do you have sponsors right now?
We have a few companies were speaking to at the moment. But we are very much open for companies out there who want to tie in any of their advertising campaigns with MMR 2012. Events are always a good way to get your brand out there. Events have indeed been noted to be one of the most effective ways of advertising to get a company's message across to their target audience. Simple advertising campaigns such as Billboards, Newspapers and Television are no longer simple equations. This is because individuals now prefer to do their own research rather than just believe advertisers' word for it. They love to be educated about products and get a live experience before signing any contract.
Why do you think Music Meets Runway 2011 was a huge success? Describe the event.
I think the whole concept was new in Nigeria, we were the ones that officially broke the ice on the idea of music artists performing and the models are on the stage. People did not really know what to expect, so I guess they were curious about seeing what will really happen. Once they got to the event, most of our guests were amazed. The red carpet or rather the blue carpet was beyond amazing, we had pictures of models and the phone Samsung was promoting all through the entrance to the hall. The hall setup was divine, the banquet chairs and tables were covered in black spandex and the hall had a warm blue ambience. The stage was white and breathtaking with bright runway lights. We had only Nigerian Models, but they were FANSTATIC. The ladies were all beautifully made up by MUD cosmetics and they rocked the runway. To be honest I really liked all the performances. I loved Viv La Resistances collection; she was my best designer at the show. Her pieces were made to perfection and the styling was very vintage. I have to give my best performance to Duncan Mighty. Duncan Mighty's performance was really fun. Everyone in hall got up to dance.
Did Banky W do a good job as a host for MMR 2011?
All I can say is Banky W should really consider hosting as another job. He is SO talented! He was so brilliant on the day, so professional and very funny, when I watched the videos I couldn't stop laughing. I'm so glad he was the host, he really brought the show to live and he gave a wonderful performance too with his lovely voice. He also surprised us with Sound Sultan, which was just great. We had no clue he was going to do that.
What about Banky's Co-host of Toolz (Tolu Oniru) of Beat FM?
Toolz was absolutely brilliant. She came through for us at the last minute. I can't thank her enough. We definitely needed her spice to add to the show to make it very yummy. I think she's one of the best on air personalities out there, her voice is very unique and her show on The Beat 99.9 is very interesting.
What do you think were the shortcomings about MMR 2011?
The event wasn't bad for the first one, the only problem I had was the fact that we started late. The show was advertised to start at 6pm. considering 'Nigerian Time' we decided to start the show at 7pm. At 7pm, there was NO ONE in the hall; I think it was only my mum and dad that were seated. I was so scared but I trust my GOD, and he never fails. By 8.00pm, the hall started filing up, and at 8.30 we made the decision to start the show even if it wasn't filled up yet. The show officially started at 8.30pm and by 9.00pm the hall was packed FULL.
I know most of us are all guilty of late attendance to events. BUT please Nigerians really have to quit that bad habit. We have to consider the fact that some people actually live very far away and want to come for an event that actually starts at 6/7pm and ends at 10pm or 11pm to start heading home. We also have to consider young children that actually come out to these events? I went for one event I won't mention any names, but we didn't leave the event still 2.30am. That's really out of order.
Why Lagos and not Abuja or anywhere else in Nigeria?
Lagos is always a good start, as the brand grows we intend to move to other cities, and by God's Grace other African countries but for now, at least for MMR 2012 we are having it in Lagos.
Tell us about the selection process for performers, designers and models for MMR 2012?
This year we intend to use artists we didn't use last year, there are so many talented artists out there right now, it's actually confusing. Although there's one person we cant resist DAVIDO (O.B.O). He performed for the very first time at MMR, and he's really huge right now. This is just to show that MMR is really a platform for designers and new artists out there.
We are giving the opportunity for new designers out there to be part of the event. We are calling new designers out there to send in their designs to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to review them to have an opportunity to do a showcase. There are so many undiscovered talents out there and it'll only be fair if we give other people a chance to shine. Besides the whole idea behind MMR is to put emerging designers on the map. It is of utmost importance that the show gives value to all participants such as the designers, music artists, guests and sponsors.
What are you bringing to MMR 2012 that we didn't see last year, tell us about your plans for MMR 2012?
Hmmm Plans, I can't really say much, but all I can say is we hope to make MMR this year bigger and better. The first one was really good if I must say, so we have to meet up with the standards this year. And by God's grace we will.