Our Mumpreneur of the week is a graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University, Mrs. Olusegun Adeyinka, the founder of Preggies Label a clothing line for Expectant and Nursing mums. We have redefined and made nursing in public fashionable. You don’t have to go half nude or run to a corner anymore to nurse your baby especially in public.
WHAT INSPIRE YOU TO START PREGGIES LABELS?
I was inspired to start Preggieslabel when I became a Mum and I sought everywhere for fashionable outfits that were nursing friendly but I couldn’t get any. I also remebered growing up to adulthood, when we will go for events and see mothers struggle to nurse their babies. While some wouldn’t do it all for the fear of being talked down upon, some will damn the consequences and bring out their breasts in public as they were not ready to starve their kid anyway. I then decided to step in and proffer a solution by first going to acquire Sewing skills and then help women to restore the dignity in nursing and also encourage women to do so since it can now be done fashionably.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US?
Hmm, the journey from the idea to starting the business has been a long one. I conceived the idea in 2014 and had to go acquire sewing skills as said earlier. After some time, I did not have money to start the business but I had a popcorn machine and I am a very good cook. I then decided to use what I have to get what I want. I started selling popcorn daily with zobo in a friend’s shop by the road side. I also started cooking moi moi by the road side and started saving the money. After some time, a friend of mine introduced me to start selling moi moi in her office and recommended to her other friends in other offices and banks. I started doing this daily but after some time, it was no longer daily. My aunty then introduced me to Nacho where I will hawk moi moi from office to office everyday. But I was discouraged when people will price my elemi meje moi moi ridiculously and I started having alot of waste. My Aunt and friend also had to start telling my customers that I’m a masters degree holder including professional certifications in order for me not to be looked down upon. I then decided to look into another direction to raise funds and trust me, it has been very challenging and still is since I have no inheritance from anywhere but God.(laughs).
BRILLIANT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR PRODUCTS?
I have always been into Marketing communications as a career person and I was always selling. I always had targets and I knew I had to sell. From there, I learnt different strategies of selling and marketing your products to your target audience. I also acquired a professional certification years ago in Public Relations which has also come handy in helping with my brand and product selling. Finally, because it is a new fashion solution for moms, they fall in love with it but you still need to develop your strategies regardless.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, MATERNITY CLOTHING BUSINESS?
I love what I do because it’s a new solution in the market coupled with ‘re fact that it involves been handy as well. I’ve always loved handy jobs. I also love to try out new things or ventures that people are not looking at yet. I’m a high risk taker. Lol
DID YOU DISCOVER NEW THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Some of the things I discovered about myself in the course of starting and running my business are not really new, they were just magnified more. And such thing include resilience, I don’t give up till I’ve tried all possible options, most times I only take a break and come back to it. Other things are proactive planning, saving, and I also put shame aside in pursing and achieving what I believe in. I am a die hard goal getter.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
I mentioned earlier how I sold popcorn, zobo and hawked moi moi. But when God saw all my efforts and resilience, He decided to give me a job I did not apply for. I was just called out of the blues to attend an interview and this is a story for another day. I was only able to do this job for six months but thank God I was saving as much as I could. Eventually after i was no longer with the company, I put all my saving together including my proceeds from my petty sales and I bought most of my machines, fabrics, etc and started production for sales. I also applied for as many grants as I could but most of them were just doing publicity stunts with us.
DO YOU ENJOY SUPPORT FROM OTHER FEMALES WHEN YOU STARTED THIS BUSINESS?
I don’t really know how to answer this question but I will say I enjoyed from just about one or two of my female friends. Most of them will rather envy you or look for how to sell your idea to someone else. So I became a one man battalion a long time ago but I don’t shy away from asking for help and support at all when I need it, I just know whom I’m getting it from.
HOW ARE YOU BEING ABLE TO TRANSLATE FROM PAID EMPLOYMENT TO STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I’ve always known I’ll end up in business, so I started planning towards it from the day go. I didn’t allow anything catch me unaware so it was not as bad translating from paid employment to starting my own business. One only needs to face one’s fears and do what you have to do by taking the bull by the horns. It’s not that easy though but if you can think it, you can achieve it. Just step out.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF HAVING A MENTOR IN BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES?
It is very important to have a role model in business success stories. They guide you and help you make wise business decisions. They also help calm you down when things seem to be going South and beyond your control, and most importantly, they make you accountable and stay focused.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED AS A YOUNG BUSINESS WOMAN AND MOTHER?
The major challenge I faced as a young business woman was raising funds for my business, joggling different hustles together and having to take my daughter with me sometimes while I hustle around. I remember the first day at Nacho, I had to put her on my back to sell my moi moi as she wouldn’t stay with anybody.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN TO START BUSINESS IN NIGERIA?
The most essential skills for women to start business in Nigeria is resilience, belief in oneself, hard and smart work, then Faith in God which is the most important.
DO YOU THINK BEING A MUM CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS IN BUSINESS?
Yes! Being a Mum has contributed to my success in business. Just as I won’t watch my child die under my watch is the same attitude I have towards my business. I stop at nothing to be there for my kid(s), pay attention to every detail about them is the same with business. The moment we realise our business is also our child, then we realise how much it has to grow and succeed. Besides, because I want to be my children’s role model, and also want to be the success that motivates them to succeed, then my business has to succeed for them to have a legacy.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE FAMILY WITH RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Though I don’t have Domestic staffs Yet, but I recommend it when you can’t cope anymore. But most importantly, manage your home and business well. Don’t let your home pay the price for you running a business.