It had been a long day ,Lagos traffic was at it's peak and my little red car was overheating again but I needed the money and worst still I couldnt afford to dissapoint a "first time customer". " Have you told her I'm here...its been twenty minuites....." I said politely to a "not so polite" receptionist "hmmm" she replied, barely looking at me over her magazine. I didnt mind ...it had been three months since I left my bank job to start "peddling" my designs from office to office...nobody said it would be easy but they didnt say it would be impossibly difficult either. I recalled the moment I dropped my resignation letter and my colleague saying to me " Tomi mark my word you are going to regret this...no one does something like this without regret" I brushed off his pessimism determined now to prove him,my family,my bosses and the rest of the free world wrong.Then I closed my account and printed my first catalogue....I modelled the designs proudly as my husband held the lights for the photographer.....funny times. Finally I drove from office to office in my " A.C less" toyota armed with fabric swatches,taperules,catalogues, truck loads of charm and lorry loads of patience.
"Tola, she will see you now" the receptionist said
Too relieved to correct her...i adjusted my top and walked into my clients office.
" Hello" I said flashing a big smile
" you have my clothes now?"
This wasnt looking good...she was not smilling back and didnt even offer me a seat.Her friend who had introduced us was not with her so I was on my own. Still smilling,I brought out two freshly ironed,neatly folded tunics from a bag and handed them to her....they looked lovely and i was sure she would be pleased.
"What is this?!!!" she said
" You ordered two tunics " I replied bringing out a copy of her invoice
" Yes but they are meant to be beautiful,these are ugly" she said opening up the purple one
I was lost for words and too embarrassed and shocked to respond
" These are what you ordered madam but if you dont like them I'll take them back" I managed to say,the almost one hour wait at the reception flashing through my mind
" I'll pay for them...but they are so ugly" she opened her check book and picked up her pen
" what name should I write"
fighting back the tears ,I wasnt sure what to say or do ...
" That would be XCLAMATIONS....BY TOMI ROTIMI"
My pride had been bruised no need hurting my pocket too.
I left that office that day angry and deeply hurt.I got into my car with tears rolling down my eyes all through my twenty minuites drive to my next office call. I knew I was just another a victim of bad behavior...but someone called my work ugly and I couldnt shake it off.....I promised myself it would be the first and last time that would happen....and it was.That was eight years ago....the rest is history.