Why Quilox Is Unique – Shina Peller
Shina Peller, son of late Professor Abiola Peller, insists he is not too far off from the magical art that brought his father immense fame and fortune in the ‘70s. The proprietor of Lagos-based wave-making nightclub, Quilox tells why running a nightclub is akin to pulling a few tricks from the hat and the reason his club had to take a break.
Apart from running Quilox, what are the other things you do?
I have other businesses that I do also. I am into oil and gas, building and construction too. I have a company called Aquila Building Projects. We build and do outright sales and I am still working on other things by the side. The club business is just a way to expand what I do because I have passion for it. I think the kind of advice I will give to anyone is for them to venture into a business they have passion for because it makes things easier. I really love entertainment and it is the drive that made me establish Quilox.
You have a keen interest in the entertainment industry. Did you study anything related to arts at school?
No, I actually have a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration with specialization in human resources.
What inspired you to open a night club?
Quilox is a dream project of mine that I conceived out of an obvious need for a place with style, luxury and class for high end customers who value and desire such a social gathering for relaxing and networking. I travel a lot and I have seen how night clubs are run in other countries.
I noticed that we are behind in Nigeria and the standard is poor here. So, I decided to replicate what I had seen in other places, hoping to make a big impact and here we are today. Also, the night club business in Nigeria is profitable, though it entails a lot of operational cost.
To run a night club, you should be ready to spend money to put things in place. If you put what a business requires, it would definitely yield a bountiful result.
What are the selling points of Quilox?
Before I started Quilox, I visited other clubs in developed countries. I searched for the 10 best night clubs in the world and I decided to see with my eyes how some of them were being operated. It was one of the reasons it took me so long to put Quilox together.
The whole project started in 2011 and it took over two years before we came on board. Quilox is a purpose built night club; it is not a house or an office that was renovated to accommodate a club by breaking some walls and installing sound and light. We knew what we wanted from the beginning. And the location (Victoria Island, Lagos) is one of the factors that make Quilox unique. It was a deliberate strategy as we wanted to be in the heart of the city. Also, Quilox is more than a night club, it is actually an experience of a lifestyle.
Apart from the club, we just opened a restaurant too. We were meant to commence the restaurant after the club reopening, but I had decided to test run it and be sure that we are ready.
As you can see, we serve continental and African dishes at the restaurant. We also have a karaoke section too that will also start operation soon.
What keeps you motivated?
I would say the control of making my ideas and visions come to pass and seeing the success is a constant source of motivation for me. From experience, it is not easy to be successful in any business. You have to be resilient and understand your customers’ needs. I have travelled quite a bit and visited some of the best clubs in the world. My exposure to these world class clubs is a motivation for me to be successful in the night life business.
Quilox is just six months in operation; why did you decide to shut down for a month and during Ramadan?
From the beginning, Quilox was designed to take a month break every year.
We take the break to look back at the past months, correct our mistakes and try to update the night club system. I feel more comfortable to take that break during Ramadan period as I want people to be focused this period. Also, I grew up knowing the importance of Ramadan.
It is a month that is meant to draw you closer to God. Although everyone is a sinner, I try as much as possible to stay away from sin, especially during the holy month. You will also notice that people are normally on their best behaviour during the holy period. People stay away from sins as much as possible. It is good that these people taste the sweetness of faith even if just for a month.
It means they will refer back to Ramadan if their lives become better in the future. We should not undermine the importance of the holy month, as it is a unique month that has the ability to change people. This is not observed in Quilox alone, clubs in some Muslim countries also do not operate during Ramadan period. I thank God for giving me the wisdom and courage to take that decision because I know how much we have lost to the break, but we are not disturbed.
What are the challenges running a night club?
We have many challenges. I believe there should be some sort of encouragement from the government, but it is not forthcoming. This is not about Quilox or the night club industry alone; I am speaking from the entrepreneurial view. If you have an entrepreneur that is introducing a business that will create jobs and generate revenue for the government, I expect thegovernment to give such person all the necessary support. Building Quilox came with many obstacles.
To get approval for some minor things proved to be a lengthy and tedious task. Most of these things could frustrate a businessman. Electricity too is a big problem as running cost for generators are very high. If there is stable electricity it would have a large impact in the success of a business. Also, sometimes the customers do not make it any easier.
How do you deal with customers, particularly with the alleged strict policy of the club’s VIP section?
Many problems that reduce the lifespan of night clubs in Nigeria stem from the customers too. Imagine a customer coming to the club to dictate to the club management how it should be run, forgetting that the club has a standard? The VIP area has criteria and also a capacity of people the building can contain, but Nigerian customers do not care.
Everyone wants to be there withoutmeeting the criteria. I see it like wanting to drive a Rolls Royce at the price of a Toyota. Also, I expect customers to be financially prepared when going out to have fun. Imagine when a customer tells us that he would send someone the next day to pay for his drinks. Most of them don’t even know it is wrong simply because they are well known in the society, but it is not right. It kills the business.
There is also the issue of customers dressing inappropriately, such as customers wearing slippers to the club. There is no night club in a developed society that allows such, but some people here just want to do things their own way. When we insist on some things, people should not blame us because we have invested so much in this business.
What is responsible for the short life span of most night clubs in Nigeria?
This is only applicable to night clubs in Nigeria as far as I know. In different parts of the world, there are always rules and regulations. In Nigeria, it is a different story.
If a brand is not well managed, the defects will show.
Look at Quilox for example, we are only six months old and we decided to do some maintenance. Things don’t have to get ruined before you react. We could have decided not to do anything, but we see reasons to put some things in place to serve people better. In every business you do, there should be a maintenance plan.
The same thing applies to all other businesses too, not just nightclubs. But a lot of people who are in the night club business do not understand this and get carried away.
What memories do you have of your late father?
While growing up, I learnt from my late father that I should take life simple. I miss my dad almost every day because he was my closest friend. Though we had some issues then – you don’t expect him to stomach things we did wrong. He was playful and funny. When you have a father with such qualities, you will definitely miss him when he is no more.
Your father was known for his magic art; do you have any future plans to follow his footsteps?
Well, what I am doing now is some kind of magic too. I am creating magic in the night life industry. Magic is an art of entertainment and the two are directly linked. Every child of my dad knows how to do magic as an art of entertainment. We used to assist him on stage when he was on tour during our holidays. At present, I have a brother that is into magic as a profession. His name is Zee to Peller and I am sure in a short while he would be able to replicate daddy’s greatness.
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