If you are a social media lover, you will notice this popular hashtag #LEAP@ The Lekki Coliseum trending on the social media platforms. LEAP is a world class tradefair which is taking place at the spacious Lekki Coliseum Event Centre on Providence Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The brain behind the trade fair is Adeola Soetan, a young pretty Multimedia and IT graduate of London Metropolitan University.
The young CEO granted City People Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE and KONYISOLA MABIFA an interview on how the idea started and how she got top entertainers to perform at the tradefair.
Even though u didn't ask for it, your response & reactions called for it, #leap #lekkiafricanexpo pic.twitter.com/rznnHyMfZG
— Leap at TLC (@Leap_TLC) June 25, 2016
How did the whole Leap idea start?
It started up at The Lekki Coliseum, it was an idea that was generated between the “Think Tank” at The Lekki Coliseum. But basically, it is going to be a market, it is themed around Food, Fashion, Home Decor and Entertainment, it will hold every Thursday, its going to be a market in 5 star settings. Usually, you have a one-day trade fair but this is more like a marketplace, it will happen every Thursday. Every first Thursday, food, every second Thursday, Fashion, every third Thursday, Home Decor, every last Friday, Entertainment.
How is it different from another trade fair that we have in Lagos?
This is an ongoing fair. Normally, trade fairs are designed around one day but this is different because we are giving everybody the opportunity to showcase themselves, coming together, generate new customers, talking to new people and actually selling to a lot more people.
Are the commodities cheaper?
Its a great deal, everybody knows that their competitor is standing next to them, so they will be offering the best deal possible. It is a place you can come with your friends and family. It is like a shopping carnival because while shopping, you also get to see your favourite music stars performing, you are having fun while shopping, there is a lounge in the auditorium where you can have drinks. If you are not buying, you are meeting people or you are networking.
How easy has it been to get 20 top entertainers to support?
It’s been a bit challenging but by the time you talk to people about it, they get excited because they know that its something that has never been done in Lagos, everyone has been so supportive and they are up for it, they can’t wait for it to start, they are getting stalls as well. Many of this entertainers have also had their event at The Lekki Coliseum so we had a relationship. Some also made told their friends who also their intention to be part of the event known. We have people like Oge Okoye, Saheed Balogun, Chioma Akpotha, Kemi Bankole and many others who have already declared their intention to be there.
How do you get your vendors?
We are advertising, we are all over social media, we are in papers, we are on TV and radio. We get calls and sometimes we reach out to people, we have to talk to a few people especially the big names. So far, its been calls all day, people have been booking stalls.
Will the entertainers be performing while we shop or its only a day for entertainment?
Having Adekunle Gold at the food fare next month will bring in more crowd. Like I said, its like a carnival, we don’t want it to be people just buying and selling. We want to make it a place where you can actually come to every Thursday and hangout. You are going to a place where you will meet thousands of people, a place where you will listen to great music and eat great food, we are trying to create an entertainment hub.
Why did you choose Thursday?
Fridays, last day of the week, everybody is whining down, there is always traffic everywhere, everybody wants to get home. Saturdays are for weddings and events, Sundays are for Church and rest. The only possible day is Thursday and the weekend starts on Thursday in Lagos.
How affordable or expensive is it for people to get stores with you?
I will say its very affordable, compared to paying for a shop at the palms. We have the super frontline which space is almost like a shop for two hundred thousand, we have a business frontline depending on the space you want to showcase your wares for N50,000 naira and the standard one for N25,000 naira for a day. I think its affordable, what you are paying for is the media visibility, meeting new people, generating new clients. Its affordable compared to the advertisement you will have to do for your business.
How has the acceptance been like?
Initially, people were not too sure about the idea, they thought it was a bit expensive but when they saw the advert, they realised its serious. Ever since then, its been good, when I try to sell the cheaper ones, people go for the expensive ones because they want to be seen and they want everybody to know about their business. It would be more expensive to pay a blog or pay for publication.
Let’s have an idea of how it all started for you, how the concept came up?
It came up between the management of Lekki Coliseum, we came up with it and it took a life of its own, it started gradually.
What should your clients look forward to see on the first Thursday, July 7 and who are the big shots to look out for in terms of food vendors?
Candies Pastries, Goodies, Mandy’s Cocktail, Sweet Cravings and many others. There is going to be a lot of food tasting, a lot of cakes, pastries, local foods outside the hall, expect everything. You can also shop for your groceries, your market is there in a 5-star setting. We also partner with “Uber” and we gave our guests free ride.
How has it been since you started?
Its been great, I am smiling, I am very excited. I did not expect to have this much response from sponsors and vendors, a lot of celebrity support and likes on social media and I have been getting calls from outside Lagos from people saying they are coming for it, to me that is a job well done.
In terms of security, we all know Lagos has a lot of crowds, its a cosmopolitan city, how do you tend to put things in place and prevent traffic on the Coliseum road?
We have a parking space that parks over seven hundred cars and that is just one of the parking spaces, we don’t have a problem with parking at all. In terms of security, The uniform security men are also on the stand, there is the normal security that will check the cars before people drive in, we have male and female bouncers that will check people in.
In terms of security, I think we are good and we also have security walking around during the fare to avoid stealing and make sure everything is in order.
As the CEO of Leap, what experience did you have that made you come out with something as huge as this?
I have always been a business person, I have been into business, taking it from start-up to established, it is my core knowledge. I have been in different businesses, I have been in the hospitality sector, I have helped to promote lounges, I run restaurants as well, this has been my core knowledge especially the food part.
What I understand about businesses is that everyday you want to generate new clients because I have been involved in a few businesses bringing them together to build a brand is pretty much a no brainer, I have been doing it for so long. I have just been doing it with single businesses now I am doing it with multiple businesses.
Leap is trending on social media, how were you able to get across to all these celebrities?
It started up as an idea, we got across to one person, the one person got across to the second person, now they are all offering to support and getting stalls. Right now, we have managed to excite Lagos with this.
Can we meet you?
My name is Adeola Soetan, I am the CEO of Leap, I am from Ogun State, Abeokuta, I am a workaholic, my core knowledge is hospitality. I attended Corona Nursery and Primary School, Victoria Island, High School, Federal Government Girls College, Oyo. I had my first degree at London Metropolitan in Multimedia and IT, Second Degree, Psychology.
How did you coin the name LEAP?
Its the Lekki African Expo.
Do you intend to have this till eternity?
I hope so, for instance, if you look at the Liverpool market, London, it happens only on Sundays and its been there for over 40 years, this is what we are trying to achieve every Thursday. Its your marketplace in a five-star setting. Its going to happen 10am to 10pm every Thursday at the Lekki Coliseum, 14 providence street off admiralty. We are using the imperial, it sits over 1800 people. We are having Adekunle Gold, July 7th, we are having K1 for 14th of July.
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