Mathew Oyin Jolayemi was born in 1940 in Iludun Oro, Kwara State, Nigeria, into the family of Pa Sangotoye Jolayemi, a traditionalist who was said to have the ability to call fire from the skies. Jolayemi was the last child of his family. Growing up, just like his siblings, he wasn’t allowed to attend school as their father believed it would introduce him to Christianity. With nothing to keep him engaged, he started mat-making, and by the time he was 13, he moved to Lagos. This was tough for his father who shared a close bond with his youngest son.
The teenager, without education but with a strong desire to make something of his life, lived and worked with a man who was also from his hometown, Iludun Oro. The man dealt in dusters and handkerchiefs, which were used then to wash cars. Jolayemi would hawk these in the neighbourhoods predominantly occupied by white people who owned cars. He later left his boss to set up his own business in the same trade. He rented a kiosk at No. 4, Reclamation Street, Lagos Island and went on to add boxes and raincoats to the dusters and handkerchiefs he was selling – the business became really successful! He enrolled in adult lessons and attended night classes after each day’s sales.
Grass to Grace
Oyin Jolayemi’s shop was close to that of a woman who dealt in patent medicines. He would offer to help her sell whenever he didn’t have much to do. Consequently, he learnt how to sell medicines from this woman. She eventually handed over her shop to Jolayemi when she was ready to acquire a new one. Thus, a business in patent medicines commenced for him, and he went ahead to obtain a licence for his new business line. After running the patent medicine business for a while, he opened a new shop known as Daily-Need Chemist on Nnamdi Azikiwe Street, Lagos Island in 1968.
In 1972, Jolayemi ventured into manufacturing a beauty cream called Paulina Beauty Cream. He had sold a particular cream that turned out to be loved by a lot of customers, and when it dawned on the entrepreneur that the product was profitable, he decided to get a loan from his bank, proceeded to learn cream formulation, and began producing his own beauty cream product.
Thereafter, he began producing Penicillin Ointment, the product that blew his business wide open and effectively transformed it into a full pharmaceutical production company.
The only way is up
Daily-Need Chemist steadily flourished and expanded to become Daily-Need Group, a Nigerian pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food conglomerate. The brand and its products, such as the Daily-Need Toothpaste that launched in 1974, became a household name and overshadowed the competition. Daily-Need Group currently includes Daily Need Industries Limited, DNI Personal Products Limited, Oyin Holdings Limited, De Honey International Ventures, and Jolayemi Nigeria Limited. The group has a turnover that runs into several billions!
Manufacturing and distributing essential daily pharmaceutical and household products that are required to sustain a healthy society is at the core of the Daily-Need brand. Today, Daily-Need Group is associated with quality pharmaceutical products like Biovit, De-Deon’s, Uniplex Cough Syrup, Matthew Worm Elixir, and Vilicin Balm. In the food industry, the company has an impressive portfolio as the manufacturer of Suppy Beef & Chicken Seasoning.
From hawking on the streets of Lagos Island to learning a new business and plunging into manufacturing, Oyin, without a doubt, is a source of inspiration to many young and aspiring entrepreneurs. Otunba Matthew Oyin Jolayemi is recognised as a successful businessman, philanthropist, and industrial icon.
A street in a high-brow area of Lagos state is named after Oyin Jolayemi and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by Kensington University (USA) in 1991.