12 Baskets CEO, Lara, Joins the Ruby Jubilee Club

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Omolara Afolaranmi

Rebecca Ejifoma

It was brain meet beauty at the 40th birthday bash of the Queen of Chops in Nigeria, Mrs. Omolara Afolaranmi, popularly called Lara, as she danced her way to the warm embrace of friends and well-wishers welcoming her to the ruby jubilee club.

The birthday bash, which held in Ikeja Lagos, was in appreciation of her effort not only as the Chief Operating Officer of the company but also as a supportive wife.

The Ogun State indigene and mother of five said passion and consistency kept the wheel of her business rolling.

“12 Baskets is a 17-year-old food catering company conceived from the scriptures when there was a left over from the five loaves of bread and two fish, there were 12 baskets left,” she expressed.

The quadragenerian reminisced about November 3, 2004, when the business came to life. “At that time, small chops and finger foods were new to the Nigerian market. It was something only the rich could afford”.

As seen then, she narrated that many people believed in staples and swallow. “But we had a mindset that it would work despite the initial challenges of finance and workers”.

Noting that the journey of 12 Basket Chops has not always been rosy, she highlighted some challenges.

“We often have challenges with power supply. We store a lot of perishable foods. When we don’t have power supply, the food gets spoilt easily. We spend so much on diesel and petrol, which reduces the profit margin,” she bemoaned.

Although she admitted there was a time she almost threw in the towel, but she made up her mind that it was either better or worse. “But there was no turning back”.

With such expressive smiles clouding her face, Lara said 12 Basket is a joint business with her husband, Mr. Michael Afolaranmi, whom she eulogised. “He trusts me with everything. Some husbands don’t trust their wives. Trust is essential”.

For Lara, passion over money wins the race. “When that is involved, you will work it out against all odds. Just focus on your focus. Have a positive mindset”.

Now, the Chairman and CEO of 12 Basket Small Chops, Mr. Afolaranmi Michael Owolabi, could not contain his joy as he told newsmen at the occasion that what he felt was unexplainable.

He enthused: “I feel good to celebrate my wife at 40. This is my first time.”

Continuing, Afolaranmi said: “If you are a Nigerian man and you do not believe in your wife, then you are not the husband perhaps just a boyfriend. Even the Bible has pronounced you both one when you cleave to her.”

“If I can run 12 Baskets, she can as well. We speak one language in whatever we do. Encourage your wives to do what she does. A joint business succeeds better than individually,” he encouraged.