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Halilu Makintami’s dream of harnessing the untapped African talent and building Mckintami – An interview

Empowering generations to strive and make a positive contribution to our world – one story at a time.

Halilu Makintami

Khalil Halilu M. is a 27 years old entrepreneur based in Brisbane, Australia. He is the founder of Mckintami, a brand whose mission is to create expectational products drawn from inspirations and stories with the aim of empowering and transforming culture through cutting edge products. Halilu graduated from Queensland University of technology with a master in information technology Majoring in Cybersecurity.

How did the idea for business come about? 

That is a very good question, I never thought of myself becoming an entrepreneur, but one thing for sure is that I’m always curious about things. Growing up in Nigeria, my parents have a balance in terms of parenting – my mother, she is a discipline type where everything has to be account for, because she is a teacher and principal of a military secondary school in Nigeria, discipline is everything in her nature. My dad is the opposite, he is chill and relax, and only observe and he’s always available if you need his advice but he never tells you how you should go about your life and I have watched him reinventing himself so many times, moving from one business to the next and he is a kind of person who loves crafting and innovating stuff using his talent and creative mind. The concept of business, till now I never thought of myself as a businessman – traveling really opened-up mind to connect with people sort of digest all the cultures and ask so many questions – Australia was an escape for me and for exploring my passion and I enjoyed what I was doing.

Mckintami is connected to my root where I come from, which means a caretaker. How I ironic, I don’t even know that my family is really connected to the community until I went back to Nigeria for soul searching, asking questions helped me found out where I came from and that really humbled me more. I made a decision that I want to challenge the status quo with this brand. To inspire and empower our generation using storytelling and design. That our product will be deliberately designed to tell a specific story and inspiration to connect with the people who share our worldview. To bring the sense of empowerment, and hope in our community.

What was the driving force for you to decide and become an entrepreneur?

I have been yawning for a feeling, that feeling of going inside peoples headand showing them other ways of cultivating believe and hope; that aspect of life purpose really resonates with me. If there is anything I want people to take away from Mckintami the brand is that we acknowledge these issues; we may be broken, however, is that aspect of getting back and reinventing ourselves that makes us stronger and also better humans as a community.

The driving force and the mission is to empower our self. I’ve dreamed of a world where are all inspired to help one another to become better individuals. Building tribes and cultures where we share what we have together as a community, Mckintami is all about taking you on a journey and providing you with experience. So each time you wear our brand, you wear our product with the story in your head and the idea running through you, we don’t know what story and idea will resonate with you but there is a high chance a story will resonate with you depending on how you see the world. It’s why we exist.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

Seeing a good writer writes for the sake of connecting people, that givesme joy and that is an inspiration to me – a passionate public speaker who speaks his mind just for the sake of adding value, is an inspiration to me.

I’m so grateful that I’m in the stage of my life where every day I seek out inspiration and that mindset gives me an opportunity to connect with as many people as possible. It enables me to live the Mckintami values, embody the caretaker mindset in Mckintami. As someone who always put the community first – How can I add value and when the time comes to make decisions, whether to drive the brand to make more money or a decision that will cultivate more believe and value add to the people we seek to serve, A  Mckintami will always choose the community first.

Last week was my father’s birthday. I spent a few days thinking about hisfather parenting style, it’s really amazing to do that. I thought of my mother’s as well – my parents gave me a balance. This is inspirational to me.

Roger Federer is my other inspiration, I love his style of play. I wouldspend hours watching him problem solve on a tennis court – I watched him playing in 2017, in the Australian Open finals against his greatest rival.Seeing how he overcame adversity in the challenges presented to him in that match gave me chills. That to me is life, and an inspiration for sure.

What key activities would you recommend emerging entrepreneurs to invest their time in?


Few tips that I will give to an emerging entrepreneur are as follow:-

Why are you doing it?

Before I even answer the question you should put in your mind that there is no manual or guide to how you can launch your brand – and anybody who told you there is that person doesn’t know what he’s talking about, which is why you need to found out that why – that why will be your guiding map and torch when all the light are off, you’ll be able to see the path your goal. Cultivate that why and be really clear of why are you doing it? 

Who is it for?

No brand/ideas start just for the seeking of launching, it launches for the seek of connecting and adding value I believe also to create change, so find out why you want it, who is it for.

What change do you want to bring to? 

You don’t always have to take big steps to achieve greatness. Sometimes all it takes is small steps, but meaningful changes that can help you become bigger in life.

Put yourself out and find who out who will be interested in your idea? 

Now that you are clear about your why, you are clear about who you will seek to serve, who is it for, and you also know the change you want to create – the last thing you need to worry about is to put yourself out there and find out who and talk to everybody about your idea, everyone who gives you the listening just to talk to that person about your idea. Because this is the stage where you will begin to see and not everyone will be interested in your idea – Just pay attention and seek for advice and not feedback because what other people say or think will have less of an impact on what you think or do because you know what you are striving for, which to create and make an impact.

To view his work, visit https://mckintami.com/ 

Originally published at bakarimustafa.com

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