Shina Peller, the happy go lucky guy has been tagged the numero uno of night life in Nigeria today with his luxury brand-Quilox.The chairman of Aquila Groups didn’t just get to where he is today, he had once teamed up with Nu Grotto to change the fortunes of the then dwindling club. But that romance fell like a pack of badly arranged cards that made Shina to float his own brand.
In less than two years, Quilox has become the favourite of the high and mighty who see the fun centre as a rendezvous where the very rich and famous converge.
Last week, the urbane club owner had a four days celebration to mark his birthday and it has become the talk of the town.
Shina Peller who does not settle for less when it comes to quality, had a chat with City Rovers’ Kunle Rasheed and he spoke on what has been the strong point of Quilox since inception and many other related issues. Read on
Shina Peller has evolved no doubt; from being the son of a famous magician, to being a businessman, a socialite and now a club owner, how did you get to marry all these together to become one
Yes I was born into the family of late professor and lady Peller the famous magician. From the very beginning, my dad was known to be an entrepreneur and I can say that, that really inspired me from the time I was young. With such things around me, I desired to do things myself; it really helped me a lot by making me to set goals for myself early in life. Setting goals and striving hard to achieve them has been like a guiding principle of my life. I know I am a very restless person and whenever many may think I’ve completed a set goal, I’m on my way to achieve the next one. I can say boldly that, that has really helped a lot in what I have become today, I started business when I was young and that has been for a while now, I think about two decades now. I started from doing some supplies within the family and around our area then. I always looked out for people’s needs and looking for way in helping them to achieve the need. For example, if I notice the style of an older person that loves to dress well. I’ll use my money to get cloths and later sell to them. From that point I started doing a lot of supplies and I was making money. That later metamorphosed into general supplies which I did with my first firm Circular Global Resources, I did a lot of supplies and then I moved into the oil and gas industry with Aquila oil and gas; I started from the downstream doing some bulk purchases and selling of petroleum products and during that time i was able to set up Haulage business for the company as well, I had a lot of Trucks then. I also set up gas stations. So from there, I decided again to move from the downstream sector to the mid stream and upstream sector, trying to create some sort of solutions to big companies; I look at the challenges of the companies and I’ll try with the help of my technical partners aboard to bring in solutions to the companies. On being a club owner, Shina Peller is an outgoing person and anytime I am outside the country, I always look for the best spot to go to, and when I get to all these places, I always think about why we Nigerian don’t have these things, so that made me to go into the night club business. I noticed Nigeria as a country has a lot of opportunity in it; we are talking about a country populated with about 170 million people and looking at Nigeria on its own, Nigerian has the fastest growing economy in the world in Africa and one of the best economies in the world, so I know there was a gap for luxury lifestyle place that can actually service the high net worth individuals. I see the way clubs are in places like Maimi, Vegas, Macao, London and all that. I know different places like that and when I get back to Nigeria and I go out and I see most of all these clubs that have just been worked on maybe a house that was knocked down left and right to accommodate something. It just made me feel that, why can’t I do this. Definitely, you know looking at the economy of Nigeria and what is going on in the entertainment industry, I just feel like setting up a night club thing would make a whole lot of difference; and I believe what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Even, up to this moment, I still have plans to expand the brand.
WHERE PRICISELY DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF Bringing IN SUCH LUXURY INTO THE COUNTRY?
Actually there is no particular place or specific place; I took ideas from different places. First of all, for the kind of person I am, in whatever I do, I always like to go for the best. If I’m setting up something, I want it to be the best. Before I started Quilux, I google the best ten night clubs in the world and i decided to go on holiday to enable me visit the clubs. The journey took me Maimi, to Vegas from Vegas to London and from London to Paris. Every time I go to all these clubs, sometimes, it’s not even the structure that I look at, I look for the operational system, the activities and the standard of how things are been done. Night club is not just for selling drinks, so I came back to my drawing board and I try to see what I can come up with and that brought about what we have here in Quilox. So there is no specific place that gave me the idea of bringing in Quilux night club.
YOU ONCE HAD PARTNERSHIP WITH NU GROTTO BACK THEN BUT IT FAILED TO WORK OUT, WAS IS BECAUSE OF THE SPLIT THAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO SET UP A PLACE LIKE THIS?.
When I was a partner at Grotto, you will agree with me that my impact was able to make a lot of changes; and when I left, you know definitely in life as someone that is self driven and someone that is ambitious in life, if you leave something and you move on to the next one, you would expect the next thing you are about doing to be bigger and better than the previous one. It’s just a normal thing.
WHAT STANDS QUILUX OUT AMONG OTHER CLUBS?
There are lots of things that stand Quilux out. If you want to look at the club itself, you can look at the location, I can say Quilox sits on the best location among the rest of the clubs in Nigeria and it was done purposely. It was something that was specifically done because when you are setting up a business, location is the key; it has to be the first thing someone has to consider. Another thing is that if you walk into Quilux, you can see it has the standard features a proper night club should have; in here, we have the vision walls, vision floor, you can see the suspended Dj; while the Dj is playing any song, you can also see the visuals on the walls. It’s just basically everything. Also, the customer service here in Quilux, you can’t compare it to any other club. A proper night club should have the VIP stands and the VVIP stands and all these we have here in Quilux. Quilux is a place you can walk into and meet the likes of a governor of a state, MDs of multinational companies and all other top people. Quilux is a night club that others will want to beat in terms of patronage, structure and the services. I believe there is so much features that makes Quilux stand out from other night clubs…
HOW DO YOU FEEL BEING REFERED TO AS THE NO1 NIGHT CLUB? WHAT KIND OF FEELING DOES IT GIVE YOU?
At first, it feels very good being referred to as number one in the field you are operating in. It’s normal for anyone to be happy with such feeling; but it is something that actually drives me because becoming number one, I want to continue to be that number one and I also want to better my best; it’s like putting me up on my toes, like putting me under some sort of pressure for being number one. The truth is, I don’t want to wake up one morning and see that a new club has just opened and it has taken our spot of being number one, and that is why you would see that in Quilux calendar, we operate for 11 months in a year, it’s a standard calendar and it’s part of our strategy for running the night club and we go on break for a month and anytime we go on a break for that one month all we do is to come back and look at our lapses and try to make our corrections and see how we can step up the game.
NO DOUBT THIS PROJECT IS WORHT OVER A BILLION NAIRA, I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BREAK EVEN SO FAR?
I would not say I have been able to break even because I believe in putting back into the business. If I was not putting back into the business then I can look at it that way. For a business like this, I put in back 50% of what I get from the business back into it; In terms of structures, in terms of maintenance, in terms of upgrade, in terms of even creating activities, fun for the club. As for the life span of the club, we still have few years ahead of us to look back into the books.
YOU HAVE BEEN INTO SEVERAL Businesses, LIKE THE OIL AND GAS, Haulage, Buying and Selling and the Nite Club BUSINESS , WHICH ONE TO YOU IS MORE PROFITABLE?
Every business has its own time; if you look at a night club business, it has its own prime period. There are peak periods which are the festive period. This include the December and Easter time. Other business like the oil and gas business right now is affected because of the price crash. I can’t say precisely that a particular business is more profitable than the other because my other businesses generated the funds to set up Quilux and at the same time I can say Quilux is generating some reasonable percentage revenue for the Aquila group. But I can say there are other businesses doing well even better than Quilux.
HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT THE NAME AQUILA?
The word Aquila means eagle, it’s a Latin word for an eagle bird; eagle is my favourite bird, eagle is a bird that is very swift and strong; it is a bird that inspires me.
CLUB BUSINESS IS ABOUT Alcohol, WOMEN and Smoking HOW Has It Affected Your Lifestyle?
Before you go into any business, you should have your dos and don’ts. If you are a disciplined person, you don’t have to do a club business to have women around you, owning a night club doesn’t mean you would start drinking; it all comes to self discipline. If you are very discipline, I think it goes a long way. Like I said earlier, I have my dos and don’ts and it is something that i have been able to keep. I don’t smoke, I don’t have to smoke; I drink once in a while, I am not a frequent drinker.
THERE IS A GENERAL BELIEF THAT ITS ONLY AN UNSUCCESFUL MAN THAT RUNs AFTER WOMEN,WOMEN RUN AFTER SUCCESSFUL MEN, HOW HAVE YOU BEEn COPING WITH WOMEN WHO May WANT TO BE WITH YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR FAME and MONEY
Yes, like I said earlier, it’s all about the person involved. Discipline plays a big role here; you know I am married and I have kids, I don’t think I am looking out for any lady. I don’t have reason to look for women or allow them to hook up with me but I maintain friendship with all the guys and ladies that come around. But there is no string thing attached to it.
MANY PEOPLE IN THE NIGHT CLUB BUSINESSCOMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR PATRONs OWNING THEM Huge SuM OF MONEY, HOW HAS IT BEEN with YOU?
In fact that is one major factor that is affecting the night club business especially in Nigeria and it affects us too here in Quilux. It’s something that is giving us a whole lot of headache here in Quilux because all those who come here to owe us money, when they go abroad, they can never try such thing over there because over there, you pay up front. But in Nigeria, you’ll a big man who would walk into the club and ask if you don’t know him. He’ll then order for ten bottles of drinks and at the end of the day, there is nothing you can do about it. We have been trying as much as possible to find a way we can control this. I just hope people will understand that business should be business, and then you would see no reason to own anybody. I have never owed in any club before now; when I go out to clubs even aboard or here in Nigeria, I always have my ATM card in my pocket or I take my cash or i have my cheque book with me so it is so simple. But that’s why sometimes when it happens to me it puts me in a very difficult situation, but we have been trying our best to go around it. I just think it is just a Nigerian mentality and that is why you see all the night clubs in Nigeria not surviving more that a certain period of time because owing a night club kills the business and the moment people knows it kills the business probably they would be able to start doing the right thing.
THERe WAS A TIME A Certain CLUB OWNER PUBLIsHED THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO ARE OWNING THEM, are you planning to toe same line?
Most of the people that owe Quilux are people that I have personal relationship with and I believe that I attach value to everybody. You can only own me once, you can’t own me twice; so even if you own me you know your integrity is at stake and because of my personal relationship with someone, I wouldn’t go that far to bring out their names to the public.
LIFE IS ABOUT UPS AND DOWN, HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED THE DOWN SIDE OF LIFE
Yes, like you said life is about ups and down. The only thing is that whenever I find myself in the down side of life, I give thanks to God because when things get too rosy, it scares me. Experiencing downside is something that is inevitable; when it comes to you, you just have to deal with it. Though, we pray to god for us not to experience things that are not going to be unbearable for us, but life has made it that way that we must at a time experience such.
YOU TALKED ABOUT QUILOX OPERATING FOR 11MONTHS , I THINK MOST PEOPLE OUT THERE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW when and WHY.
I talked about something earlier that while we were deciding the business, we designed the business to actually run for 11months. The reason for that is to do renovation and to go back to our drawing board and see how we can correct our mistakes and to see how we can even upgrade our system; that’s one thing. On the other side as a Muslim that I am, everybody has their various understanding and ways of worshiping God; for me during the month of Ramadan, I don’t drink alcohol during and during Ramadan, it doesn’t even permit me to eat during the day, so it is not basically because of the alcohol that is making me to leave the business, it actually because I want to concentrate, I have a restaurant, I can decide to open the restaurant and suspend the night club, but it just a way for the business because the restaurant is part of the business, when the business goes on a break, part of the things we would look out for is the restaurant and how we can step up the game at the restaurant as well. I use one stone to kill two birds during the Ramadan; as I’m fasting, I also look for better ways in which to step up the clubs standard.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR QUILOX EXPANSION IF YES WHERE SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR?
You know Quilux is pan African, it’s something I have been looking at. From Lagos, we are planning Abuja, Port Harcourt city; and in Africa we are planning on expanding to Accra in Ghana, Nairobi in Kenya and South Africa. You know Quilux is not up to two years, so it’s a gradual process..
WAS IT BECAUSE OF THE NIGHT CLUB BUSINESS THAT MADE YOU OWN YOUR OWN A RECORD LEBEL?
Well, like I have said earlier, the entertainment industry itself now has a lot of opportunity because if you look at the contribution of the entertainment industry to the Nigerian economy, it represents a higher percentage of the GDP growth rate, and it is just something that I just feel like doing. Outside the record label, I would still make some other investments in the entertainment industry because I see that there is a lot of opportunity in that industry. While making investment in Record Label, don’t forget I am also creating jobs. Before I set up the record label, I have had opportunity to meet talented individuals and I believe in helping my community and people in it to grow. So, when I see someone that has got talent and I help him or her, I have achieved my aim of setting up record label. It is also to create a platform to help the talented individuals to make them bigger and better.
WHO ARE THOSE SIGNed TO THE RECORD LABEL FOR NOW?
For now, we have three artistes signed to the record label, TILLA, my younger brother Q,( BISOYE PELLer) and our new signing is BASE ONE.
BEING RICH AND FAMOUS IS A WONDERFUL THING, WHAT HAS IT NOT DONE FOR YOU?
Firstly, I don’t consider myself rich; I can only say I’m comfortable and i give thanks to God because I still have things that drives me. I have things I want to do but I don’t have money to do it, so if im rich, there won’t be any thing I want to do that I wont do. More so, I am someone that has a lot of expenses and responsibility to take care of. So first of all I am not rich(laughs).
I HAVE HEARD SEVERAL TIMES THAT YOU ARE ONE PERSON THAT YOUR FATHER LOVES VERY MUCH WHILE HE WAS ALIVE, PEOPLE SAID THEY HAD EXPECTED YOU TO HAVE PICKED SOMETHING FROM HIM, YOU KNOW WHAT HE WAS KNOWN FOR THE MAGIC ASPECT.
There are lots of things I took from my father, it’s just that most of the things I pick from him are not physical; magic itself is an act of making the impossible things possible and I can say what I am doing in the night club business is magic. I might not be performing on stage, I really learnt a lot from my late father, I learnt to be God fearing from my father, I also learnt to be focused and motivated from my father, i have learnt a lot from him, trust me they are not just the physical aspect that people can see.
YOU HAVE TRIED YOUR HANDS ON SEVERAL BUSINESS, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE THAT HAS NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL?
Hmmm, should I say the oil and gas? I am still in the oil and gas business though, but at least I backed out from the downstream sector because I lost a lot of money. Also, in the night club business, I opted out of the partnership with NU GROTTLO and that was also a bad business for me. So, in life if something is not working, one has to just make a change, I believe in change.
BUSINESS MEN SOMETIMES MAKE MONEY AND LOOSE MONEY, WHAT DO YOU THINK is the cause(s) THAT?
It is a normal thing about life, you win some and you lose some. In life, if you don’t want to fail you might not be successful. Failure is a factor that is attributed to success, so I am not scared to fail and when i fail, I don’t cry over it, I move on to the next thing.