Las Gidi: A Traditional Taste of Nigeria

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By Niyah Martin, Intern 

Imagine a fruity, flavorful drink that is not only delicious but represents years of colorful culture and tradition. Refreshing, right? Las Gidi offers consumers a selection of all natural non-alcoholic drinks that can turn any occasion into a spectacular party. The Birmingham, Alabama based brand invites everyone to indulge in the invigorating taste of Chapman beverages.

Las Gidi co-founder, Olu Ogunbi was born in Mobile, Alabama and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. He ventured to Birmingham, Alabama and received his marketing degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2012. He went on to pursue his master’s degree in strategic design at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. After finishing his education, Ogunbi began his career in advertising and has even worked with the popular brand Adidas. Not long after starting his career, Ogunbi began prioritizing pursuing a dream of his own.

During a year long trip to Nigeria, Ogunbi learned a substantial amount about the country’s history and how it connects to himself. Ogunbi admits to being inspired by Nigerian culture and more specifically the popular Nigerian Chapman beverage. He has since made it his mission to create a product that connects both Nigerian and American cultures for all to enjoy. Ogunbi says, “For me, it was about what I could take from my Nigerian heritage and bridging that with my American experience. What is something that can be an extension of myself? I picked a category of a drink that is very popular in Nigeria, and I wanted to bring it to the United States market. I thought this was a great opportunity to seize, and I wanted to be the first mover to capture the market.”

Las Gidi offers consumers two all-natural selections of drinks, Original Chapman, and Mango Flavored Chapman. Both drinks have refreshing, citrusy bases that can brighten anyone’s day. The drinks can be used as mixers in alcoholic beverages or casually enjoyed on their own. Local buyers can find Las Gidi featured in The Statesman Cocktail Bar located in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Birmingham buyers can purchase Las Gidi in LeNell’s Beverage Boutique in Birmingham, Alabama. Customers also have the option to purchase beverages online through Las Gidi’s website.

Ogunbi believes the brilliant history behind Las Gadi is one of the brands most unique aspects. He hopes that Las Gidi’s story will make an impression on buyers and draw them in for more. He says, “We have a story behind our product, that’s what sets it apart from others. We’re passionate about telling stories and bridging cultures. We want Las Gidi to be at the center of every gathering.”

As many entrepreneurs say, the road to success is not an easy one. Brand owners often experience periods of low energy and enthusiasm. However, Ogunbi believes that as long as business owners focus on their personal purpose and remain hopeful, anything is possible. Ogunbi says, “I am a firm believer in having an optimistic outlook on life. I think that’s part of the job description of an entrepreneur as well. My faith in God keeps things in perspective. For me, it is about remaining optimistic while also having a sense of fun. Having an element of play gives me the motivation to achieve my ultimate dream, to spread Las Gidi to the world.”

Ogunbi is excited to expand the Las Gidi empire and is looking forward to reaching as many people as he can. In the near future, buyers can anticipate delightful, new drink releases. He says, “Our current mission is to line up distribution in restaurants, bars, hospitality, and retail. We are doubling down on getting as much distribution as possible. We are also looking to introduce new flavors that are low calorie and low sugar.”

As for young entrepreneurs looking to launch businesses of their own, Ogunbi recommends putting a stop to procrastination and putting a plan in motion. Ogunbi says, “Don’t wait because there is never a perfect time to start a business. You want to gain as much knowledge as possible but ultimately, the time to start a business is when you feel a strong conviction of your product or service. You can always take incremental steps in pursuing your passion or building a dream. Eventually, it will be a snowball effect.”

Interested in learning more about Las Gidi? Visit their website at Products & Flavors | Chapman | Las Gidi™ (drinklasgidi.com)

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