We’re about to embark on a mind-boggling journey that defies the very fabric of time. While most Gen Zers are known for their tech-savvy ways and obsessions, there’s an enigmatic outlier among us who will leave you slack-jawed in awe. Imagine a mythical creature who effortlessly straddles the realms of past, present, and future, all while rocking their favourite pair of PITH jeans. Brace yourselves for an encounter with the oldest Gen Z you’ve ever met. A living, breathing testament to the power of youthful spirit and the timeless allure of all things cool.
In a world where trends come and go faster than you can say “selfie,” this extraordinary individual stands tall as a monument to longevity and hipness. Their mere presence is a testament to the Gen Z generation’s unstoppable force, defying the conventional boundaries of what it means to be young. They are the embodiment of the ever-evolving Gen Z spirit. Get ready to have your notions of age and coolness shattered as we uncover the secrets behind their timeless charm and unparalleled ability to capture the hearts and minds of generations, young and old.
Imagine this: you stroll into a bustling bank, expecting the usual suited-up crowd, when suddenly your eyes lock onto a sight that defies all expectations. Standing confidently amidst the sea of conservative attire is a man in his late thirties, adorned with a vibrant array of facial piercings that gleam like rebellious stars do. His lips, nose, and eyebrows serve as canvases for self-expression, each piercing a testament to his fearless individuality. But that’s not all—his attire is a mesmerising collage of emerging African streetwear brands, splashed with colours that rival the liveliness of a child’s birthday party.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the one and only Big Bosco of “Quacktails”, Dare Aderinokun, the enigmatic mastermind behind the “Adult Capri-sun” phenomenon that has sent Lagos into a frenzy. Such a frenzy that if I step out for an event that doesn’t have “Quacktails” as a vendor, I just know they’re not down with pop culture.
Once a banker in the most profitable department at a prestigious Nigerian institution, he made the daring decision to break free from the shackles of conformity, leaving behind a life that suffocated his true self. And boy, did he find his calling!
How long did you work in the bank? I can’t imagine you being a teller, so what was your role at the bank?
I worked in the bank for nine years. I used to do oil and gas marketing for GT Bank. Booking loans, getting deposits, opening accounts, etc. At the time, we were the most profitable marketing team at the most profitable bank in Nigeria.
Why did you make the switch from banking to becoming an entrepreneur?
Honestly, see finish. I was doing well in the bank—very well, actually. I was one of those guys who started young and fresh out of college, but I felt underappreciated. In addition, because of my family’s economic background, the management thought, “Oh, this guy is okay; we can keep him and promote other people.” I wasn’t going to take that—I’m here, putting in the work; you have to recognise my value. When that wasn’t happening, I just said, “F**k this s**t.” One thing about me is that if I feel like I’m being bullied or undervalued, I’m out.
For a long time, I wanted to leave banking because this wasn’t me.
This was what birthed Quacktails, correct? Tell us a bit about how it all started.
The whole thing started as a joke! The even funnier joke, “Quacktails,” is where it is today. Let me give you the backstory: So I like drinking, and like Stephen Tayo rightly pointed out (who happens to be with us as we have this conversation), I’m an introvert in my social life. I’m really not an outgoing person, and the problem with this is that you have to go out to a bar to get a nice cocktail in Lagos. This meant going out and socialising. This was all the motivation I needed to start learning how to make drinks from the convenience of my home. I then went on YouTube to start the learning process, and for every video, it was a white guy using mixers and items that I couldn’t find in a Nigerian supermarket. After a little more research into what they were saying, I found out that a lot of what they used could be made at home with just a mixture of different fruits, water, and sugar. This was how I started making the bases for the cocktails at home.
As time went on, I kept making drinks for just myself, my friends, and my family—including the in-laws—whenever they came over. One of my wife’s sisters, who runs a successful catering business—The AJs—told me, “You know, if you sell this, people will buy.” I didn’t take it seriously because, honestly, I didn’t know if what I was making was correct. I just knew I liked how it tasted and felt—essentially, making drinks that were good enough for me.
After a bit, it was The AJs kid’s first birthday party, and they wanted me to make the drinks—for a fee, too. I said, “Please o, don’t pay me. Just in case I mess things up, I don’t want anything to ruin our relationship. Just cover my production costs.” Bear in mind that I was still working in the bank at this time. I then spoke to a cleaner who worked on my floor in the bank and brought him on board to help with that event. It’s funny how, till today, that cleaner still works with me at “Quacktails.” I did that event, and people were coming up to the bar to say they were really feeling the drinks. One lady, in particular, stood out because she wanted me to come make the drinks at her oil company’s end-of-year party. At this point, I thought, “All these people are just whining me abeg. From my first event?” And if you know anything about end-of-year parties in Lagos, oil companies always pull out all the stops—the best venues, the biggest stars, the long budgets, etc. So I said yes to her.
We then went in for a meeting with this company, and they said the company had to be registered for us to be a vendor at the event. This is where the name “Quacktails” came to life. The word ʼquackʼ means a fake, an imposter, or a fraud, and we were quacks making cocktails. Why? Because I had never worked in a bar, a restaurant, or even gone to an institution to learn how to make cocktails. It’s funny how we ended up not doing the job because the event planner was undercharging us. This was around late 2019.
Fast forward to early 2020, when the lockdown happened and we were all confined to our homes. This made most of the populace sober and want anything to kill boredom. My wife’s friends and family then started to reach out to me: “Guy, send me shacks; I’m dying of boredom here.” Luckily for me, I had drinks for dayssss at home because we thought we were doing the oil company event. I then told them that if they paid me, I’d send the cocktails to them. And that’s how it started. Now, I make way more than they paid me in the bank.
“Quacktails” is known for its unique blends and tastes that are guaranteed to get you lit! How do you come up with innovative new recipes?
As I said earlier, in the beginning, it was us going backwards. Backwards in the sense that we had to make these ingredients ourselves. So, things like passion fruit syrup and blackberry syrup had to be made by us. We first find out if these fruits can even be sourced in Nigeria. Luckily for us, during the pandemic, we found this online grocery lady who lived in Jos (@TheGroceryLadyy on Instagram), and she understood what we wanted and were trying to achieve. She’d go to different farms looking for exotic fruits and supply them to people nationwide. She even made a calendar of fruits that grow in Nigeria based on the seasons. This extraordinarily helped us plan our menu. So she’d supply the fruits, we’d use them to make syrups, and then mix the homemade syrups with alcohol to make the cocktails. This is the main reason we call ourselves a kitchen: we make our syrups in-house.
Okay, now let’s talk about Big Bosco! Do you mind me asking how old you are?
Sure, I’m 36! And I’m not even ashamed of it.
You’re 100 percent not the typical 36-year-old, especially in our country. I’m positive people have called you “agbaya”. How do people react to you when they see an older guy with the stylish confidence of a Gen Zer? Do Nigerians tend to treat you differently?
It’s normal—the stares, I mean—and I expect it. I’ve worked ten years in corporate, I have two kids, and I have been married for eight-plus years, so the stereotypical view of what an adult is, I’ve lived it. I lived it through my 20s, and being a ʼmature adultʼ is overrated.
Let’s take me for example: I have a successful business, I have staff that I pay on time, I’m married, I have beautiful kids, I pay school fees, I’m paying my rent, and I’m paying my taxes, so what then is responsible adulting that I’m not doing? So why do I have to behave and dress a certain way? I always tell people that today I’m in my second childhood. The one I wanted but couldn’t have. I remember when I was in college, I wanted to pierce my lip so badly because I was into rock and roll at the time. I didn’t at the time because I just kept thinking about what my parents would think and say. I wasn’t doing unsatisfactorily in school in any way, but I just kept thinking about the opinions of others. If you’re respectable enough to approach me and ask me why I have so many piercings, I’ll explain to you. You can either take it or leave it. I tell my parents, “You don’t have to like it, but you have to respect it.”
I wasted my teens and 20s because I was living for others, living to please everyone but myself. I was being what I thought an adult should be, but I was miserable! I’d wake up early, go to work in a suit that I hated and that wasn’t me in any way, go to an office, and give them the best years of my life because I thought that’s what being an adult was. At the end of the day, there was no happiness; I was so sad I was living a fake life. Even at this time, I noticed I quarrelled with my wife a lot more often than ever before.
What does your partner think about your Gen Z ways? I ask because this is not the version of you she married. She married Dare, and now you’re Big Bosco.
She followed me to get my first piercing; how about that? LOL. She told me I could do whatever I yearned for. Since I left the bank, I’m only answerable to her and my kids, so it felt good that they wanted me to be who I was to the max! I remember going to my kid’s school with my piercings for the first time, and other kids started pointing at me. I wanted to leave, but my wife was like, “Omo, if there’s anything I love about you and our relationship, it’s that we are always expressive. If they don’t know, they will learn. ʼ
Do your style and peculiarities have a connection with the “Quacktails” brand?
Not really. If I’m being honest, my style is influenced by my youth and present-day creators. I’m a millennial, and millennials would bite their tongues to please their superiors or anyone, really, but Gen Zers are rebelliously creative. In the beginning, the brand was really embraced by your generation. Regarding my style, I’m more comfortable wearing people I know personally, people who stand for something, and brands that feel like a community. Because this is what “Quacktails” is about: community. Where the people are is where we want to be.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
People think I’m unserious about things because I’m pierced or selling cocktails. This is crazy because ten years in formal employment and nine years in the most profitable marketing team in the most profitable bank in Nigeria are not flukes. Even when people come to me about investing in “Quacktails”, at the back of their minds, they expect me not to know what I’m talking about. I know my value and finances, so if you’re coming at me, you have to come, correct. Either it’s collaborative, or you’re offering better than I can do for myself.
What do you think of Gen Zers? What’s your opinion on the stereotype that Gen Zers aren’t focused or lack patience and the many things they say about us? Everyone always has something to say.
I don’t believe that! I don’t buy into that school of thought for a bit. I believe they’re for themselves and work with morals. Values come before money. They work with an inherent feeling that they don’t teach in schools. I’m with that 100 percent! Of course, they can be a bit more respectful, but sometimes, who does respect help? Sometimes, respect puts you down. I mean, we wouldn’t have END SARS if not for Gen Z; we wouldn’t have Peter Obi being a viable third candidate if not for them, and whether they agree or not, Gen Z gives the older generation confidence. I mean, the generation before was taught to respect your elders, even if they’re yarning dust. Gen Zers don’t play that game; they’re not afraid to call your bluff.