Her beaming smile, endearing mien and courteous disposition all combine to introduce this consummate entrepreneur. Imbued with a rare sense of determination and devotion, she pushes her talent beyond the limit. Homtopua Zaida Dokpesi – a daughter of the famed media mogul, Dr Raymond Dokpesi. Rather than live in the shadow of her father, Homtopua has charted her own course, made her own name and is living a life not a few dream to have.Funke Olaode, captures her essence and excellence
It will be easy to wave off her achievements and industriousness. Yet, it will be difficult not to pay attention to her story. Her beaming smile, endearing mien and courteous disposition all combine to introduce this consummate entrepreneur. Imbued with a rare sense of determination and devotion, she pushes her talent beyond the limit.
Homtopua Zaida Dokpesi – a daughter of the famed media mogul, Dr Raymond Dokpesi. Rather than live in the shadow of her father, Homtopua has charted her own course, made her own name and is living a life not a few dream to have.
Her father, Dokpesi, is credited with redefining Nigeria’s broadcast ecosystem as the first private individual to operate a television station in Africa, AIT. Of course, having a very successful father often put children under pressure to excel as much as their parents or even do better. Homtopua is not letting down the gauntlet – she has proved to be a multitalented and multitasking young lady that always puts a warm smile on the approving face of father. Homtopua wears many caps: entrepreneur, accountant, economist, public speaker, author and consultant.
Describing her childhood, Homtopua said: “It was a happy childhood. With a patriarch like my dad, Ezomo of the universe at the helm of affairs, though he was always busy at the time but he was very strict with us as his kids, you knew there were certain things you couldn’t do as there were grave consequences. Even though I pushed the buttons sometimes but I was properly guided.”
Continuing, Homtopua stated, “He made sre wegot the very best to the best of his abilities and I am truly always grateful to him for the sacrifices’ he had to make to ensure we had all that we got. From my father I have learnt persistence, determination, the zeal to push forward, innovation, to be focused on the prize and not be swayed by the distractions life may throw in your way. He taught me it’s okay to fall time and time again but when you do, you dust yourself and get back on your feet.
“No matter what pressure life may throw at me I have learnt to stay calm. From my mom, I have learnt how to be sacrificial and patience. We still enjoy our childhood. Holidays are always a blast as there is sure no dull moment as it’s expected in a large family but obviously there are downsides as well but I believe the up moments outweighs the downsides.”
A well-grounded lady with knack for excellence, Homtopua’s early journey began at St. Leo’s Catholic Private School, Ikeja Lagos and divided her secondary education between Igbinedion Education Centre, Benin City, Edo State and Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja in Lagos. She proceeded to Oxbridge College, Ikeja Lagos for her A-Levels and later headed back to Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo state where she bagged a first degree in Accounting and master’s in International Business Economics from University of Westminster, Marylebone Campus, and London, United Kingdom.
As a child, Homtopua wanted to become a cardiologist because her dad had heart-related issues at the time so she wanted to be the knight in shining armour that would make everything okay. But as she grew older, she switched to becoming a Petrol Chemical Engineer but unfortunately Igbinedion University at the time wasn’t offering the course (and her dad insisted she did her first degree here in Nigeria). Then accounting was her next option.
As her horizon broadened, Homtopua dreamt of an amazing future as an investment banker with JP Morgan, who worked until she was 30; then retired, got married, started a family and lived happily ever after.
“I am that individual who gets bored very easily so I noticed today I would feel like working on TV, tomorrow I feel it’s radio; next tomorrow I would want to be in space but with my creativity, I knew no limits. I never get bored when I am either in my creative space writing or creating pieces with my hands or thinking about other new ideas I had. I am comfortable in my skin and I did a thorough analysis of my person: my weakness, my strengths, my opportunities and my environment. At that point I decided to jump head long into the entrepreneurial world,” she admitted.
Her foray into the entrepreneurial world started as far back as when she was a teenager travelling on holidays, buying things and selling out of the boot of her car. As a youth corps member, she travelled, “bought work clothes as I had a lot of friends who were serving and always wanted to keep up with fashion trends”.
“I would willingly supply their needs. I also had a network in Banex Plaza once there is a new model of blackberry out I get it first and distribute it through my network. I also gambled in producing ice block which is needed greatly by the artisan women who sell kunu and soft drinks,” Homtopua added.
Having discovered where her passion lies, Homtopua pushed herself further and explore her hidden talent in fashion. She throws more light on this.
“My journey into the world of fashion came as a result of an opportunity meeting a need, and I was fortunate at the time to recognize the opportunity and I took advantage of it with both hands and turned it into a business that gave me and still gives me accolades, awards, opportunity to grace runways both locally and internationally and recognition in cash and kind way beyond my imagination. I started off with the clothes made with ankara, I diversified to heels, flats, slippers, sandals, clutches, bags, suitcases, umbrellas and that was in 2012 when the market was not as saturated as it is today.
“In 2013, I launched my cupcake and Zaida’s cougar milk which I would deliver to a lot of offices at lunchtime. In 2014, I launched a kid’s line, ‘kids by k’, for my son, which is being carried in stores in the UK, USA and Dubai. And I also started managing his modelling career. He is signed to top kids in the UK and WildChild Magazine in USA. In 2015, I launched my fragrance line which includes eau de toilette, body oil, scented candles and portable roll on buttons. In 2016, I wrote my very first motivational memoir and my first work of fiction, ‘Caramel Rush’. It’s on sale as eBook on Amazon stores worldwide and it’s doing well. Hard copies are sold in selected stores here in Nigeria.
“In 2017, I launched my Ankara Sneakers line at the Nigeria Culture Week, Finland and it was well received as it was an opportunity for the Finnish community to embrace our art, culture and fashion. In 2018, I launched my kids care line which includes the raspy van body wash, raspy van body polish and the chamomile body lotion leaves your kids’ skin baby fresh and baby bottom smooth. In 2019, I have just recently launched my handmade bags range, ‘Orimimasun’. And I have also just partnered a United States based Exchange to create a Cryptocurrency exchange that converts TBC (the billion coin) into bitcoin,” the serial entrepreneur explained.
Coming from a household name like Dokpesi tends to create burden of expectations. Are there times Homtopua is under pressure?
“Oh yes! The burden of expectations from being a daughter of Raymond Dokpesi usually comes in different forms,” she readily agreed. “I remember when I was featured on ‘Young Boss’, a programme on NTA Network, I had a lot of feedback from people saying when they saw the interview coming up they believed the only reason I merited the interview was because I was a Dokpesi not because I had any substance inside of me but as they continued watching, they realised there was much more to me than just being a Dokpesi.
“There are those who believe you have a money tree planted at the backyard of your house once you scream out money it pours out. I have learnt over time to manage people’s expectations so I don’t let it get to me to put me under any sort of pressure.”
A kind-hearted young lady, couple of years back, Homtopua, a single mom started a non-governmental organization that caters for widows and single moms. What prompted the move? Does it have to do with her circumstance?
“Not really,” she said. “I started running the NGO way before I even dreamt of being an active member of single motherhood. I had always mentored young girls between the ages of 18 to 25 years old and tried in my own capacity to empower widows who had been left to their own recourse on the death of their husbands. I run Zaida’s series on my blog that celebrates ‘mompreneurs’. I use that as a medium to motivate young women and also to teach those interested in going into various industries the first hand information they may never have gotten. I volunteer in-workshops to teach teenagers how to be financially independent by using skills. I pass on to create jobs for themselves no matter how little they are.
“The spark to cater to single moms was lit on a certain day I had gone for my grocery shopping and I met a woman in tears with a baby on her back begging not for money but for baby food to be bought for her baby and the one she wanted was N1,000 at the time. That caused a lot of ripples in my heart so I decided at that point to help as many women as I could with my little funds at my disposal. I have a firm belief that indeed there are blessings from God when you raise and take care of a child and Almighty God who sees you doing in secret would reward you in the open.”
While she wouldn’t want to dive into her private life, Homtopua said her heart is not totally closed to loving again.
“Does a throat go thirsty because it has to deal with hiccups? Does a heart stop longing for love because it was betrayed by the one whom it trusted? My heart is always open to love again and again but just maybe this time my love won’t be blind it would wear glasses. I have learnt not to have regrets on what should have been. Instead I focus my time on recreating my future to what I would want it to be,” she philosophised.
As she forges ahead in creating more opportunities and becoming more successful, Homtopua has a desire: “As a successful businesswoman, my staying power is my desire and determination to achieve success by hard work, passion and persistence not just for myself but for every woman born into this male-dominated part of the world.”