Fondly called Fatia, she is the wife of popular Fuji maestro, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Marshal aka KWAM 1 De Ultimate. In this interview with Owambevibes Magazine, she bares it all
The way she came about her name sounds very interesting though. The only female among her siblings, she recalled how the name came about:
“My name is Faithia Titilola Marshall. The name was given to me by my grandfather, who was the Sheik of Lagos. Before I was born, he gave my parents the name, Al-Fatia. Fatia means, the opener. Its actually the first chapter in the Quoran.
It was fun but I had no freedom because my parents were too strict. Then, whenever I wanted to go clubbing with my friends, I would be scared because of my mother’s warnings. I schooled abroad and even when she wasn’t with me in England, I couldn’t do many things my mates did. Though I thought my parents were too harsh, I’ve realized that it was the best for me because I now treat my kids like that. My mum doesn’t suffer fools and I was restricted in many ways.
I attended the International School, Lagos and was in London for my higher school. I was in Belabis College for a year for my foundation course. Later, I was at Coventry where I studied Business Law. I spent three years at Coventry University and returned to Nigeria for the National Youth Service scheme.
Foray Into Fabric Business
When I returned to Nigeria I thought I could start a white collar job but my mum, who is a legend in the fabric business, insisted that I take up the mantle of succession in her vast business empire because she didn’t want the business to go into extinction whenever she is no more. To God’s glory, my mum, Alhaja Mosun Masha, is still alive and her name still reverberates in the fabric industry.
We are both doing well in the business and despite my age, my mum still monitors who I mingle with. She cautions me about friends and how to handle business associates. It’s a trans-generational business now. It’s a business I enjoy doing
I started selling fabrics from when I was in secondary school. Whenever I was on holiday I was in my mother’s shop. I started going to shop from age eight. She would tell shop staff to allow me do some chores—measuring, folding and more.
My Mum, My Role Model
My mother is my role model. There is nowhere you get within the Lagos fabric business circle where her name would not be mentioned. Alhaja Mosun Masha is a living legend. She still sells on Broad street, Lagos. My mum loves luxury collections and she was the one who put me through the business— nobody taught me.
The fabric business is wide. We source for fabrics from many countries of the world but we deal mainly with Swiss fabrics. However, due to the economic downturn, we now get other beautiful fabrics from other parts of the world.
Alfatia Exclusive Fabrics started over 17 years ago and I am one of those who brought HoH and Swiss Gele to the limelight on Instagram.
Though HoH fabric had always been in existence before I was born, I started the ‘noise-making’ on Instagram. Then, so many women didn’t know there was anything like it. Whenever I started posting on Instagram and they asked for the price, they would shout when I tell then it was N350,000 or more! Many women thought it was too expensive then. Of course, the price is much more than that now, women now know that its an occasional fabric and quite elitist.
I will attest to the fact that Instagram shed more light on HoH fabrics. On the Swiss Gele, I was the first fabric merchant to start marketing it on Instagram. I love luxury and that is what the HoH fabric and Swiss Gele stand for. You can’t wear HoH and not stand out. Fortunately, it has retained its uniqueness over the years. The extra money you spent on it, is the durability. Though not affordable to all, we decided bringing in equally beautiful fabrics. Amazingly there are other fabric manufacturers who produce more beautiful fabrics than HoH. There is the HKG, which is as expensive as HoH. Also, there is Filtex and many more.
Delving Into Jewellery Business
I love good jewellery and most of my jewellery are custom-made. I have my manufacturers who design priceless and timeless pieces.
Advice For Young Women In Business
First, if you love to do anything, have a passion for it. Also, stay focused, be humble and uphold honesty. Even if its 500 dollars you have and you want to start, go ahead. Start from your level. That 500 dollars can turn to 5,000 dollars why you are diligent.
Humility starts from not despising anyone who comes to your shop. Some customers aren’t well dressed and would walk into the store and buy goods worth millions of naira/dollars. That means you have to train staff to honour every customer as a king. I recall when I needed to buy a pair of shoe because I was attending a party and was in need of a particular colour. I walked into a shoe store in a highbrow area in Lagos. I was modestly dressed and just wanted to make a quick buy and go get ready for my outing. I found the colour I wanted and asked the shop assistant to bring the shoes so I can try it on. She was nasty and said I couldn’t try it because the price was N350K. I said I knew the price and that’s why I wanted to try it if it was my size. She was quite nasty and as she talked, two celebrities entered the store. Immediately the women saw me, we exchanged pleasantries and they asked after my parents and then, my husband. One of the women now said, ‘Tell Alhaji K1 that I’ve been calling and he hasn’t picked my call.’ I had to explain that Alhaji was busy at that period and rarely picked calls. So, when the shop assistants heard our conversation, one of the shop girls now told the nasty shop assistant that, ‘I told you that she is KWAM1’s wife.’ Then, as I wanted to leave, the women asked why I didn’t buy and I told them what happened. All the shop girls started begging me but I had lost interest. That I didn’t wear damask to that shop shouldn’t make any shop girl behave abnormally. Always, I warn my staff to treat all customers as special—well dressed or not. We have had some not-so-well-dressed customers walk in the shop and buy like four or five HoH worth millions of naira! Even some that are so well dressed might not buy so much. Some customers would come and we would bring out so many fabrics and end up not buying but we don’t get angry. Its what the business entails.
Marrying K1 D’Ultimate
Marrying Alhaji didn’t change anything about me because I’ve always been a home girl. He has always said I am who he had always prayed for—a home girl. Alhaji knows my pedigree, he knows how my parents brought me up and would always vouch for me that I can never misbehave. I am not a socialite and I don’t hop from one party to the other.
Life As Iyawo Alhaji
The first quality my husband saw in me is the fact that I am a home girl. There is nothing you would tell me about my husband or other women that I would believe or refer to it with him at home. I have been able to balance that aspect of my life well. My husband respects me, doesn’t bring a woman home and has never entertained any woman in our home. Moreso, he respects me in public. If he’s performing at any event that I am present, he respects me and showers accolades on me.
Married To A Musician
He is not a husband you find at home always. He is a musician and travels a lot. But Alhaji is a caring husband and takes care of his children without fail. The first lesson in my marriage to him is obedience—I obey his instructions to the letter. He would tell me there are some places he doesn’t want to see me or that I should not attend certain events, I obey him because that’s the price to pay for marrying someone that is famous. That’s why we have stayed scandal-free all these years. Fortunately for me, my life is a boring one—I wake up early, have my prayers, take care of my kids, do school runs and I come to the shop. I don’t have a very viable social life. If you see me at parties, that person must be very close to me. I do this because of the man I am married to. He has always wanted a woman like me— peaceful and one who would not upset or embarrass him in public. He has always wanted a hardworking woman, that wouldn’t tarnish his image. He said he prayed for this and that was what God gave him in Ope (he calls me Ope). If anything happens, I hardly get angry and he is comfortable with the way I handle things. He is a musician and always on the move. He knew he needed someone like me to keep his home and that I’ve done over the years. We have been married for over eight years. He would always proudly tell people, ‘Ope doesn’t get angry or fight.’ Really, I can’t afford to tarnish his image because he has never embarrassed me in any way too.
Alhaji’s Other Women
Truth be told, I don’t know anything about other women who had kids for him. I never met any woman in his life when we met. Alhaji never talks to me about any woman. We have been married for over eight years and he doesn’t discuss other women with me.
Alhaji’s Kids & I Are Great Friends
I am very cool with his kids. On my birthday, many of the children called me to wish me well. I don’t have any problem with any of his kids and we are one cool family.
I am so close to one of them that I even call her up to help stay with my kids whenever I am not around. During Ileya, we are all in Ijebu to celebrate. I do all the cooking and hosts guests. The kids call me whenever they need anything from their dad and I help them secure such requests. I am a mother and I believe all his kids are mine too.
Why KWAM1 Celebrates ‘Ope’
There is a difference between being married to someone and having kids for him. People didn’t know we were married for a long while. We did Nikkah. Before the news broke out that K1 had a new wife, we had done Nikkah. The registry wedding in Ijebu three years ago was a move from him. He must have felt that what else would he do to such a respectful and submissive wife like Ope? I am very submissive to him and would not question his authority. Alhaji would call me and tell me to prepare his favourite meal and any of his Assistants would come and pick it up from home. I might not even know where he would be calling from but I would prepare the food and call him whenever its ready.
I Don’t Monitor My Husband
Don’t forget that Alhaji is 63 years old. For his age, he is good-looking, a popular musician who is always on the move. I know he has a lot of crushes! A popular musician with many women as clients should not have a wife that gets jealous or want to fight other women. Why would I fight him over any issue especially women? Why should I be monitoring him, or any woman? A lot of women have lost marriages due to jealousy and lack of tolerance. Mind you, not that I don’t get angry but I am reasonable in my actions. I don’t discuss my husband with my friends no matter how close we are.
Running His Businesses
You cannot be married to a man like Alhaji KWAM1 and not be smart. He expects you to do things as if he was there with you. He is a very good husband who has made me smart and industrious That’s another aspect of my life most people don’t know. He has is a restaurant( Tea & Coffee Shop) and a bakery (Anjola Bread) and I help with the supervision of these outfits.
Prayers have sustained me. Alhaji would tell you that, ‘Ope, my wife is very prayerful.’ I pray a lot. I wake 5am to pray. I pray five times daily. My lifestyle is unique, forget the celebrity profile, I pray five times daily. If anything wants to overwhelm me, I turn to God in prayers.
I don’t have many friends. I have just five best friends and other people I talk to and relate with but my circle is small. I believe that for longer life span, peace of mind and a lasting marriage, stay away from many friends.