HOW I WENT FROM MY 9-to-5 TO PERFORMING ON A WORLD TOUR WITH MR.EAZI – SINGER-SONGWRITER, TOME

Building a successful brand is challenging whether you are a small business or individual. Historically, breaking out has especially been a tough job for women in music and entertainment.

One talent who seems to have cracked the code in navigating the music business is a 9-to-5’er turned singer-songwriter Tome. In just 2 years of becoming a full-time singer-songwriter, she has performed with Burna Boy, Wizkid and Mr. Eazi on world stages, and she is just getting started.

In March 2019, she debuted her single L’amour and released her debut EP, The Money, in February 2020. With her mantra, “I am enough. I am TÖME”, she’s determined to become a household name and empowering voice to African women across the world.


Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Michelle Oluwatomi Akanbi. I’m a Nigerian-French Canadian Singer-Songwriter born in Montreal, Canada. I was raised in the diverse city of Toronto where I grew up listening to Fela, Erykah Badu, and Alicia Keys.

Music is a very important part of my life. I am my art! I put 100% of me into my music – sound, vocals, lyrics – all of it.

How will you describe yourself as an artist?

My music is what I like to call Afro-fusion. With a fun mix of genres, my songs have messages of love, fun, and empowerment. As an artist, I would say I am a lyricist with a message.

What influenced your passion for the arts?

I honestly can’t say there was any specific influence on my love of the arts. But I remember watching Superstar (1999) with Molly Shannon as a child and thinking to myself, I’m going to be a superstar one day. #Day1Dreams

What motivates you to get up every day to make music?

My motivation to keep going in my career is to make my family proud. I hope to provide them the ability to live the lives they want to.

Other people also motivate me. I am so lucky to be around people I can learn from. They add to my experience and view of the world which makes it easier to write music. There’s always a story to tell apart from my own.

Tell us about your career journey.

I’ve always been making music. I released my first project on SoundCloud in 2015 – an EP titled One with Self. It was a really personal project of 5 songs I recorded on my phone while I played guitar. 

In 2018, while I was still working as a Marketing Executive at my full-time job, I recorded Tomesroom Chapter 1 and many other songs. I didn’t release any of the songs at the time because I had no team and didn’t want it to go “nowhere”. I planned to do another year working at my 9-to-5 job and “learn more about the industry”.

In 2019 my dad (who is now my manager) heard my song L’amour and asked me if I was ready to work. I said yes and officially started my career as a full-time artist.

So far, I have been really blessed. In my first year as a professional recording artist, I have shared the stage with incredible talents like Wizkid, Burnaboy, and done a tour with Mr. Eazi in Europe.

I have learned so much and improved my craft in such a short time. It’s amazing to know that it’s only the beginning.

What influence do you want your music to have on the African woman in today’s world?

I hope my music helps women accept their own strength. Every time I get on stage, I remind myself – “I am enough. I am TÖME”.

I want to show that the African woman can be and do anything. You don’t have to limit yourself to what anyone wants to tell you to be. All the obstacles in your way are only temporary. 

You attract what you think and if you are focused and know what you want, you can never fail.

What are your top 3 tips for young African women looking to make their mark in their career or business?

  1. Stay on-trend. You have to continuously push yourself to experiment to stay as relevant as possible and grow. 
  2. Stay open-minded and knowledgeable. It’s the same whether you have a 9-to-5 or business.
  3. Stay true to yourself. People can tell when you’re not being genuine. You will never make your mark if you don’t know yourself and get lost in other people’s vision of you.

Follow Tome’s journey and vibe to her music.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/Tomeofficial_/
Fanlink: https://fanlink.to/tome

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Molped Feature on Chidinma Ekile: Award-Winning Musician

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Chidinma Ekile

Chidinma Ekile is a Nigerian singer and songwriter, popularly known by her stage name Chidinma. She worked as a business promoter in Lagos, prior to auditioning for the third season of Project Fame West Africa, in which she emerged as the winner in 2010.  

Following the release of the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart.  In 2011, she released her first solo single “Jankoliko” featuring Sound Sultan.   Chidinma, her self-titled debut studio album, was released through the music platform Spinlet.  It was supported by the singles “Jankoliko”, “Carry You Go”, “Kedike” and “Run Dia Mouth”. Chidinma won the “Best Female West African Act” category at the 2012 Kora Awards 

Considered one of the most loved and respected African female artistes, Chidinma is verified across ALL social media platforms. 

A responsible, classy and elegant woman, devoid of scandals, Chidinma has over the years comported herself in a ladylike manner, evolving from the girl next door to becoming a role model and mentor for several young girls across Africa.  Chidinma recently signed an endorsement deal with the premium sanitary towel line, Molped, where she features in all Molped’sTV and radio commercials as the Face of the brand in Nigeria. She released a critically acclaimed joint EP with Africa’s foremost musician, Flavor.  

Chidinma is the founder of Nma Care Foundation, a non-governmental organization set up to cater to visually impaired children.  

You can connect with Chidinma on  Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship to me, means identifying the traits and characteristics you favour in people. It means that you accept them for who they are, recognize their flaws and help them improve on themselves.

It also means being there for them as practically as you can.

What advice or tips do you have for women trying to build a professional relationship with mentors?

While learning from your mentor, it’s important that you make sure you never take their time, access and opportunities for granted.  You should recognize and respect their boundaries.

Also, always offer value, because a person’s gifts will make way for them.

What skills or character traits have been most helpful to you in building your career?

I definitely think it is treating the music business as just what it is; which is a business, something akin to a 9 to 5.  I am deliberate about my actions, my team and I plan ahead. We also don’t compromise on our standards or the quality of relationships we cultivate.

What advice do you have for women trying to build a career in the music industry?

As much as I am still learning, I will humbly state that any woman willing to build a career in the entertainment industry, must be ready to work twice as hard as the guys.  Make sure you pay more attention to details and cultivate quality relationships.

Do you think it is important to have a mentor as a young woman trying to grow her career?

Yes.  However, I think that it is important that any woman takes very careful time to evaluate the person she is submitting herself to as a mentee. This is important, in order not to have a misrepresented view of the industry they are working in, and also not be taken undue advantage of.

Since you are the Brand Ambassador of MOLPED, in what ways does the brand remind you about friends/friendship?

Ok I need to actually share this with the world☺. Let’s start with how the features of the product remind me of friendship. It’s not just soft, but cottony soft with no nylon and wide wings and because of these features, it causes no irritation or leakage. 

Those are definitely qualities that I expect of a friend. For them to be soft and comforting, with us having minimal to no friction or fights. I know we might fight at times though, but not all the time you know, and of course she always keeps my business my business.

In addition, the brand promotes friendship and girls being there for each other, and drawing inspiration from each other at all times.

Do you have any words of advice for our Motherland Moguls, trying to be successful like you?

Please ensure you are bringing value to the table. Develop your craft, hone it and guard it like a mother protects her baby.


#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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Molped Feature on Odunayo Eweniyi: Co-Founder, PiggyVest

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Odunayo Eweniyi

Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of PiggyVest. She previously co-founded pushcv.com, one of the largest job sites in Africa with the largest database of pre-screened candidates. She has 5 years’ experience in Business Analysis and Operations and is a First-Class graduate of Computer Engineering, Covenant University, Nigeria.

She was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Technology in 2019 and one of 30 QuartzAfrica Innovators 2019. She sits on the advisory board of TrainFuture, an education technology company based in Switzerland, as well as the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative, a collaborative effort of Village Capital, US and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi). 

In 2019, she was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society and she is the youngest Nigerian on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019.

Odunayo was also one of the featured speakers at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting in 2019. She is one of Business Day’s Spark 2019 Women to Watch and made the World Women in Fintech Power List for 2017; the YNaija Most Influential People in Technology 2017 and 2018. She is a 2018 Westerwelle Young Entrepreneurs fellow; and she is a recipient of The Future Africa Awards Prize in Technology 2018.

In honour of her work, she was named one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2019 by Leading Ladies Africa, one of 50 most visible women in Tech by Tech Cabal in 2019. She is also included on the #YTech100 2019 list of the brightest Nigerian technocrats. She is the Her Network Technology Woman of The Year 2019. She was also voted The Most Influential Young Nigerian in Science and Technology 2019.

She works to support the inclusion of women in technology by working with hubs and female-focused networks like For Creative Girls, GreenHouse Labs, She Leads Africa, Itanna etc. She is also the cofounder of the women’s community, Wine and Whine Nigeria.

You can connect with Odunayo on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Well to me, friendship means mutual understanding and reciprocity. I like to think of all my friendships as safe spaces that are characterized by genuineness, shared values and free of ignorance and discrimination.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

Yes actually, in a previous life I was a part-time tech journalist and my friend, Dami, connected me with a well-paying, writing gig at an international magazine. I even ended up working there for well over a year.

Is there a time when your friend(s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

I have a  young career, so no difficult situations have stood out there, but my friends are constantly helping me out of sticky situations, and outside of work, they always come through for me.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have five women in my power circle and the thing is, I wouldn’t say I chose them, as much as they accepted me for who I am. As a person with Asperger’s syndrome, I am definitely an acquired taste.

So these five women, who are actually angels really, have moved through life with me with an understanding of who I am and I, them. But in addition to that, we share values, and despite having varied and many different goals, we work towards it together by supporting each other.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

To be honest, I think that would be much the same as they network with anyone else. There’s really no special way to relate with women. I think if you just treat people in general with empathy and respect, then you’re well on your way.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

I actually started having girlfriends, or friends at all, after I started my career. So the memories we built, were built after we all started working and were at many different points in our lives.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think this is really general advice to maintain valuable relationships with everyone. It’s this simple, have empathy, have respect and always pay it forward. 

To add a caveat though, I 100% believe that female friendships save lives, so I definitely encourage young women to have specifically female support systems. But just overall, move through the world treating people fairly, whether you want from them or you’re giving to them.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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Molped Feature on Yasmin Belo-Osagie: Co-Founder, She Leads Africa

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad range, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.


Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.


Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections.

About Yasmin Belo-Osagie

Yasmin Belo-Osagie is a co-founder of She Leads Africa and is one of the board of directors at FSDH Asset Management.

She graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University with a bachelors degree in History and with a minor in Finance. Thereafter, she completed a culinary course at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris, before getting her Masters in Business Administration from Stanford and JD from Harvard Law.

Her career started as a business analyst at the prestigious Mckinsey & company, where she worked for two years on finance and consumer goods, in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Switzerland and Kenya. She then founded She Leads Africa in 2015 with Afua Osei and serves as the chief operating officer (coo). In 2018, she joined FSDH Asset Management as a director.

You can connect with Yasmin on LinkedIn and Instagram.

What does friendship mean to you?

To me, friendship is really about support and what I would call co-upliftment. It’s having a group of people who are there for each other and think about ways to make themselves better. I also love to laugh, so I especially like being around people who are funny and make me laugh.

When I talk about co-upliftment, I am not saying we have to text each other every single day. However, I find myself inspired and uplifted by my friends, just by observing the way they live their lives, and handle their careers, it drives me to want to succeed as well. 

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

So this happens to me all the time. I find that my friends are constantly helping me out when I find myself in tight situations. I have an example from when I was doing some work for a client and I had made a mistake and was now running out of time. One of my friends came through and connected me with her husband who worked with us and helped me save the situation.

Last year, I was trying to contact the singer Kandi Burruss for an event I was planning and a friend of mine connected me with her manager.

Even beyond work, it’s the other million little things my friends do for me. With all that’s going on with me at work, I also needed to shop for my wedding dress. A friend of mine, knowing that I won’t be able to make the appointments, went and made them for me. Not only that, she took the time out of her workday and went with me to all my dress appointments.

Is there a time when your friend(s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

My time at graduate school was particularly difficult, because between lectures all day, working with my team at She Leads Africa and the time zone differences, I just had so much to do. There were definitely days when I was overwhelmed and just stayed in my room crying and questioning myself. 

During this time, my friends were a big source of encouragement to me regardless of the time I called them. They were particularly helpful, always checking in with me, reassuring me and allowing me just to complain whenever I wanted to.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I would say I have a small circle of like 3 or 4 women including my sister and my cousin, and a slightly larger one of like 5 or 7 other people I have connected with, due to my relationship with my core circle. 

In choosing my friends, I really look for people with whom I share similar values. So one such instance is that I take my career very seriously, and so I look for people who take their careers very seriously as well. The women in my circle, have gone to some of the best schools, are at the top of their careers and work in the best companies. So when we are together, there are always conversations about our careers and what our next professional and financial moves are.

Another thing I look out for is people who make me laugh. I love to laugh and I don’t take myself too seriously, so that’s something I really look for in my friends as well. I like to spend time with people who also love to laugh and don’t take themselves too seriously.

I also like people who have some amazing character traits. So in choosing my friends, I like people who are kind, honest, have integrity and are thoughtful as well.

Lastly, look I love having fun so most of my friends are people who love having fun as well. I believe that life is to be enjoyed, and when we go out, it should be lit. So I definitely like people who also like to enjoy life and have a good time. Basically, we work hard and play hard too.

There’s a saying about how you’re the average of 5 people you interact with, and it’s so true in my case because if you look at my friends, you’ll better understand the kind of person I am.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

For networking, I believe in networking based on shared interests. So a book lover for example, might join a book club because when you have similar interests with a person, then it’s easier to build a relationship.

Another thing that works well is using recommendations or referrals to build a network. You can ask people who already know you, to introduce you to people whom they think you will be able to connect with.

As an example, when  I am travelling or going somewhere, I will ask my friends to connect me with someone cool in the city I’m visiting. The great thing about this is that since your friends know you very well, they will know the kind of people to connect you with. You can also talk about what you’re interested in learning, or what questions you want to ask and request to be connected to people who could help you out. 

Also, I keep an eye out for people whom those I respect talk about. One instance of this was with my then boyfriend, now fiance. He used to speak about this particular woman and how intelligent she is, so I asked him to connect us and introduce me to her. We were able to build a relationship and now she’s on the board at She Leads Africa.

Is it okay to just DM or email people and ask them to mentor you?

In the case of just randomly texting people and asking them to mentor you, I think it’s okay provided you do it in a thoughtful manner. So I recently addressed this in our Motherland Mogul Insider program, when I spoke about how to build relationships with mentors. 

One tip I would give is, instead of overwhelming people by asking them to mentor you, you can just send a message to say that you love what they do and then ask them if they have time to chat with you about 2 or 3 questions, which you can list out.

Then over time, you can just keep in touch and build an organic relationship by updating them about what you’ve done and finding ways to even be helpful to them.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

My major tip is to understand that relationships are give and take, and so even if this is a senior person you’re connecting with, just find ways to help them. It could be sending them an article to help them with what they’re working on or recommending someone for a job with them. Definitely find ways to offer them something, as they give you advice.

Another tip is respecting people’s boundaries. For example, if someone says I don’t have time right now to mentor you, then you shouldn’t get offended. Instead, you can back off and check back with them in a couple of months and see if they have the time then.

It’s important to understand that people have a lot going on and may be unable to give what you’re asking, so recognising that boundary is very important.

Lastly, just be authentic. Don’t always try to be friends with the rich and famous people. Find people you respect and vibe with.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram.


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This woman-led startup bets it can help African businesses grow faster

As Sub-saharan Africa lags behind in the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business report, one woman-led startup thinks it can help entrepreneurs grow their companies in this tough environment.

After years of mentoring startups and running businesses in Ghana and Nigeria, Munachim Chukwuma started IB Consulting in February 2019 to help founders overcome operating challenges she also had to face as a young entrepreneur.

Munachim and her team believe they’ve found the recipe to help African business grow quickly with their innovative and affordable service model.


"Never have a business with NO business structure" #RedFlag – @consultingibobo Click To Tweet

Why Nigerian startups are struggling to grow.

According to experts from Harvard University, startups that want to stand the test of time must learn new ways of operating and behaving. This is difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs because these new ways tend to be completely different from their start-up roots.

Most startups struggle to grow and scale either because they do not know how or lack the proper structure and strategy. This is where we come in.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

IB Consulting believes that African entrepreneurs struggling to grow their businesses must realize they are in a different phase of their business life cycle, and therefore must change.

IB Consulting’s growth recipe for startups.

To help entrepreneurs struggling to scale, Munachim and her partners created a service model that combines strategy consultation, negotiation, and content creation.

IB Consulting bets its 3 service tentpoles are what entrepreneurs need to grow faster despite the difficulty of doing business in Africa.

We decided to focus on strategy consultation, negotiations and content creation as a company because we realized most of the challenges most businesses face in today’s society are tied to those three areas in one way or another.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

In addition to its unique service model, IB Consulting promises clients efficiency, personalization, and great service.

Why you should watch out for IB Consulting.

In less than a year, IB Consulting is proving it is not just all talk. The company reports that since February, it has helped over 10 business owners rebuild their structures and execute action growth plans.

It’s also not just about the money for this company this woman-led company. They have done some pro bono work for new entrepreneurs who could not afford to pay for some of our services.

In 2020, the company plans to expand aggressively to reach, help and educate help businesses across Africa.

We intend to grow over the next year of business and reach more people across the continent, as we also reinvent our business and launch more products that can meet the needs of our prospective clients.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

Visit https://iboboconsulting.com/ for more information on how IB Consulting can help your business.


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SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON THE FASHIONPRENEUR: SEKINAT AMOO – CEO OMBRE WOMAN

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Sekinat Amoo

Sekinat Amoo is the CEO and founder of Ombré Woman.

Despite having an academic background in science and research, Sekinat made a switch and started Ombré Woman to provide classy ready-to-wear pieces for women.

Ombré Woman is a female-led and for women fashion brand that empowers women by helping them look and feel their best without compromising on style and comfort.

After spotting a gap in the fashion industry for ready-to-wear pieces, Sekinat decided to start Ombré Woman to provide stylish and comfortable ready to wear clothes infused with African prints.

Her goal is to make very fashionable pieces to help women become more confident and look their best, without losing their comfort.

You can connect with Sekinat and her business on Instagram


What motivated you to start Ombré Woman?

I started my brand because I had a passion to empower and build confidence in women through their everyday looks.

I also spotted a gap in the fashion market for work and casual wear infused subtly with rich African prints, which really inspired my fashion journey.

My desire to help women look and feel their best also led me to add an extra touch to the clothes I make. I made a decision to infuse the fabrics with rich African prints in order to create unique, trendy pieces that can be worn over and over again.

The clothes are specifically made to flatter the feminine silhouette and be multifunctional so that they can be worn in the workplace or elsewhere.

SheaMoisture

What makes your brand stand out?

There are quite a few things that have helped Ombré Woman stand out, from our unique business type to how easy and accessible we’ve made our clothes for our clients. We are also very committed to giving back to the community and helping other women with our business.

Some of the ways we’ve ensured our brand stands out in the saturated fashion industry are:

  • My brand is built as a “for women and run by women only” business.
  • Our business has a prime, central and accessible location for our clients.
  • We offer customization services for our Ready-To-Wear (RTW) items, which gives our clients control over how they look and feel in our pieces.
  • Also, we ensure that our clients receive their clothes when and how it was promised. Absolutely no disappointments!
  • We empower other women through direct employment and artisans by giving them scrap materials to make their designs with.

What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

One major issue we had was getting the right people to build the business. After a few fails, we took a step back and started to recruit our staff through trusted government agencies. On our own part, we provide them with incentives that add value to their lives.

Another thing was getting high-quality materials for making clothes. This was a big issue because not having the materials we needed meant that the clothes won’t get made. So what we do now is use a few local vendors whom we found. We also supplement with international alternatives when we can’t find what we need locally.

When it came to business finance as well, I wasn’t the most knowledgeable person and I didn’t want my business to suffer. To combat this, I did a lot of reading, took courses and sought external input as well where necessary.

SheaMoisture

How have you been able to stay or rise above the noise in this industry?

For me, I have remained very focused on our “why,” which is to ensure that we are helping our clients look and feel beautiful every day.

We also ensure that we are delivering the best quality they can have at an affordable price. Lastly, we are constantly evaluating our business processes and training our staff to ensure that our service is top-notch.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

When I just began my business, I had a big issue with budgeting and it almost affected my cashflow.

Since I all of a sudden experienced a rise in my personal expenses, it was a bit too much to handle at first and almost became an issue. When I got the situation under control, it taught me how to plan better. I now plan my yearly budgets and funds allocation for the business ahead so that there are no surprises.

SheaMoisture

How have you impacted your community since starting this business?

As I mentioned earlier, my brand is very invested in giving back to the community in general and women in particular.

Some of the ways we have done this is through providing employment via direct and indirect forms of labour. We also offer paid internships for our newly trained staff.

To reduce any form of waste and help with sustainable recycling, we also send our scrap pieces back to local artisans. The artisans are able to use them to make a living by making items like pillows, rugs and carpets.

What is your goal for 2019? And what have you done so far to achieve it?

I had two major goals for 2019 and they were to first launch and promote a ready to wear line and the second is to launch a school uniform line.

For the first goal, we currently have an ongoing campaign to promote our debut collection. For the second goal, we are currently visiting schools with samples for uniform production.

Can you share 3 interesting facts about yourself?

Well to start with, I have a purely science and research background (from secondary school to my Masters Degree). Another is that I love to cook and organize spaces.

Lastly, I love to travel and try new types of food (I’m quite adventurous with food).

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite skin, hair or self-care routine?

I’m a low maintenance kind of lady, so anything that gets me out the door quickly is my favorite routine.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Ecstatic! It’s a great opportunity to showcase our brand to so many Motherland Moguls and we are very grateful to SLA and SheaMoisture.

Mention one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/service

Classy

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTHY LIVING QUEEN: LYNDA ODOH – CEO HEALTHIFY AFRICA

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skincare innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

Meet Lynda Odoh

Lynda Odoh-Anikwe is the CEO and founder of Healthify Africa.

She is a Medical Doctor from the University of Nigeria and started Healthify Africa. Healthify Africa is an enterprise that strives to tackle the dietary risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

In the course of her daily interactions with patients, she realized that people were most driven by convenience and availability when making healthy lifestyle choices.

Lynda decided to start a fruit delivery service. She hopes this will create an enabling system for busy urban dwellers, to conveniently meet the World Health Organization’s daily fruit recommendation for a healthy life.

Her vision is to see an African continent where adopting a healthy lifestyle is easy, practical and sustainable.

You can connect with Lynda and her business on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Tell us how you started Healthify Africa.

When I began to practice as a medical doctor, I saw that there were so many instances of non-communicable diseases that could have been avoided by a simple dietary change.

I started Healthify Africa because I wanted to create a solution to the problem of non-communicable diseases. My goal with Healthify Africa is to address dietary risk factors.

I do this by providing a service that helps busy people adopt healthy eating habits. This is done through a simplified system and healthy lifestyle advocacy.

At Healthify Africa our focus is on increasing the consumption of fruits for busy urban dwellers through a delivery platform. By providing affordable fruit boxes, fruit cups, fruit and dip platter to school children, homes and offices, we’re building a healthier Africa one person at a time.

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What was your motivation for finally starting your business?

For me, it was because I had been in similar situations and I understood the challenges people face in trying to adopt and sustain healthy dietary habits.

I grew up in a health-conscious family and I grew accustomed to having a very healthy diet. However, when I became a young adult and my schedule became tighter especially during my internship, it became extremely difficult to eat the right things.

It was a situation of knowing the right thing to do, but being unable to do it. I knew then that there must be other busy young people like me, men, women and even mothers who wanted their children eating fruits but were pressed for time as I was.

"I realized that just like myself, people were most empowered by convenience and availability rather than just knowledge." – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

That for me was a huge community need that I passionately wanted to see addressed. So I made the decision to become the change I desired by creating an enabling platform. A platform that supports healthy food choices so as to help myself and others with the same challenge.

What makes your brand stand out?

Healthify Africa is not just another food company, that caters to only satisfying hunger. Instead, my brand is particularly focused on ensuring that everyone has access to the daily consumption of 400g of fruits, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The vision is to create a world where healthy eating is most practical and the dietary risks of non-communicable diseases reduced to the barest minimum.

That, as well as our commitment to healthy lifestyle advocacy, has been a huge attraction for our clients because they can see it.

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What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

When I first started my business, a lot of people did not understand what we were trying to do and that equated to zero orders. We had to create a lot of awareness about the health benefits of patronizing our convenience-based service.

Also, through our follow-up and feedback system, we tried to encourage our clients to make referrals and this has continued to help our brand.

Secondly, being a fruit delivery service, food hygiene, presentation and safety during transit were some of my topmost priorities. It was a challenge finding the ideal packaging that met all the criteria and would still fit into our production cost.

I did my online research and eventually was able to find a reliable supplier that we now work with.

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Finally, it was important that our fruit packs get delivered in a cold temperature range for a great client experience. This was a challenge when we had to deliver long-distance orders. This was an issue because there is currently no thermostat equipped delivery services operating in Abuja where we operate from.

To overcome this, we currently partner with a reliable express delivery service and improvise with ice packs in the chillers for long-distance deliveries. Hopefully, in the near future, we can have our very own thermostat equipped delivery bikes.

How do you stay above the noise in your industry?

We made sure to implement a system of receiving and acting on feedback, from early on in the business so that we know what exactly our clients want and tweak our approach to offer them that.

This has been really helpful in building a business that our clients love and customer retention as well.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

Before I started my business, I had a few unpleasant experiences with logistics. On one occasion, I was to make a trip and I had made an earlier arrangement with a cab driver. However, on the morning of the trip, he was a no show, which made me have to find another one. To cut the long story short, I ended missing the bus I was to get on.

When I began my business, I took that experience with me and created a better delivery structure. I ensure that all delivery arrangements are made on time to avoid communication-related challenges. As a second step, I also make backup plans to ensure that I don’t disappoint my clients.

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Can you tell us of any impact have you made in your community since you started your business?

As a medical doctor, I am really passionate about helping people live healthier lives and I made sure to infuse this into my business.

Through my brand, I have been able to raise awareness about the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Also, we have encouraged people to sustain a healthy lifestyle by organizing health and fitness challenges.

Most recently, we actively participated in the 2019 global week for action against Non-Communicable diseases. We engaged in a social media awareness campaign (#enoughNCDs #healthifyafrica) and an educational video series with a team of Doctors.

It is of great value to me that my clients are enlightened and empowered to make the right decisions for their health. – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

Can you share your 2019 goals with us and what you’ve done so far to achieve them?

Since we had already introduced our business, our 2019 goal was to broaden our client base. Our method was to strictly implement feedback from clients. Also, we started building partnerships that will ensure quality product delivery and unforgettable customer experience.

After doing this for some time this year, we have recorded an increase in the number of clients that have requested for our service. This is something we are going to keep doing since it’s bringing positive results.

We believe it has laid a great foundation for more successes with so many growth possibilities ahead and we are optimistic about that.

What are three interesting things about you?

The first is that I love DIY’s. I have actually painted my room from start to finish on two different occasions just for the fun of it. The last is that I love the power bikes but I’m too scared to get one yet.

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite self-care routine?

I like to get soaked in a warm bath after a stressful day. I simply light my candles and toss in some petals. After that, I take a mental trip to wherever the CALM Meditation App takes me to, preferably the waterside.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

I feel absolutely ecstatic! When I first saw the email from SLA and SheaMoisture, I was so excited. I had to read it over and over again to make sure it was really for me. Thank you so much She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for this opportunity.

What is one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?

Authentic!

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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SheaMoisture Spotlight on Hospitality Queen: Frances Omanukwue – CEO Pro Event Hostess Hub

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Frances Omanukwue

Frances N. Omanukwue has over seven years’ experience as an Event Hostess and Event Coordinator.

She is also the author of “Becoming A Profitable Event Hostess” which is the first event hostess book in Nigeria.

After seeing the potentials in the event hostess industry and how young ladies can maximize this opportunity to be financially independent while bridging the unemployment gap, she started empowering young ladies through event hostess jobs.

To increase the number of young ladies who will benefit from this opportunity, Frances founded “The Pro Event Hostess Hub,” a social media platform to groom young ladies who will not only attain a level of financial independence but most importantly, will be hostesses that abide by the ethics of the industry.

Recently, The Pro Event Hostess Hub was nominated amongst the top 15 Most Creative Businesses in Nigeria by Global Entrepreneurship Network-Nigeria.

Frances interests range from entrepreneurship to volunteering. In her spare time, she loves to volunteer for many causes that cut across health and young women empowerment.

Frances tells us more about how she started providing jobs and supporting young women in her community.

Connect with Frances on her Website, Instagram, & Twitter…


How I started thePro Event Hostess hub…

After graduating from the university and not being able to find a job, coupled with encountering some financial challenges on the home front, I decided to look for ways to survive as well as support my family.

At the time, I started working as an event hostess which is what most people refer to as an usher.

As I grew in the industry irrespective of the setbacks, I observed how the money I earned over the years had helped my family especially my siblings in paying for tuition and fees, as well as sorting out their personal needs. 

With this realization, I started linking more young women within my community to event hostess jobs.

Over time, they’d come to tell me how the opportunity had helped them to pay for school fees or sort their other financial challenges in school, learn a trade and are about to start a business. Seeing the difference it made in their lives, I decided to take it more seriously so that by doing so, I can help other young women irrespective of their location.

How I’ve impacted my community since starting this business…

So far, I’ve been able to link more than 100 young women to event hostess jobs which they have used to raise money to support themselves in school, learn skills and start businesses of their own.

Some have also used this opportunity to learn skills that helped them get into corporate employment as well.

3 things I struggled with at the start of my business…

  1. Understanding how to structure the business: I struggled with this in the beginning but I started going for training and I have definitely gotten better since then.
  2. Training existing and new event hostesses: It wasn’t easy to convince them to go through the training process at first, but from the feedback and results of other ladies who have attended our training, others can now see the benefit of it.
  3. Business Acceptance: Initially, I struggled with convincing people to accept my brand. However, through constantly promoting our work, more people are starting to understand and value the importance and benefits of event hostessing.

3 interesting facts about myself…

  • I am naturally an introvert but people think otherwise.
  • I love driving and playing video games.
  • Learning about new things excites me a lot.

My fave skin, hair care product…

Shea butter

A message to SheaMoisture & She Leads Africa…

I am really excited and grateful to She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for providing a platform where women can showcase their businesses and how they impact their communities.

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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The Tech and STEM pioneer of Botswana

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. 

Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at – or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space.

Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded the Dare to Dream Foundation (of which she is the President) in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business.

Connect with Kgomotso Phatsima and her business on social media.


Why I founded Dare to Dream…

When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one.

After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation – especially those who grew up in a village, like me – an opportunity to do that?’.

I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

On the ‘barrier’ to girls’ entry into STEM & traditionally ‘female/male-dominated’ subjects…

I will talk about myself and my own experience here.

When I told my parents that I want to fly and be a pilot, my mother said ‘In our time, a girl could never fly a plane. You cannot be a soldier!’

Sometimes it goes back to our upbringing and the culture. A girl must be domestic, and boys also have prescribed activities.

So we separate ourselves from engaging in these things. The same mindset goes on to say that ‘Some things are hard, and are only for men’, like piloting or engineering.

With some of our families, their backgrounds are what can hinder the involvement of girls in certain subjects and limit girls to certain careers.

But as the times and technologies change, and with other women and organizations such as ours showing that it’s possible, there is more of an acceptance that you can be and do anything you want.

Is Africa / Botswana in a good position to keep up with the world’s “breakneck’ speed?

I think so because the demographic dividend of the youth in Africa indicates that young people make up most of Africa at 60 percent.

I think that the whole of Africa is at a good advantage to participate in the technological changes that are taking place right now.

There are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. I also think that Batswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening.

We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be different from the businesses of today.

How Botswana (and Africa) can prepare for ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)’…

In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are taught in schools and they are part of the curriculum.

Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated that coding will be taught in schools. We in Botswana are a little slower in catching on to these developments.

At Dare to Dream, we partnered with Airbus to sponsor 1,500 students across the country in rural places and trained them in robotics in order to prepare them for 4IR.

We need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

It was also important that they know that there are careers in the aerospace industry that are STEM-related that they can take advantage of.

We are looking forward to partnering with the Ministry of Education, but there have been some delays, which I hope will be overcome in the future.

Dare to Dream’s most engaged stakeholders…so far…

We have engaged Airbus and also partnered with Botswana Innovation Hub, the University of Botswana and Botswana International University for Science and Technology – BIUST.

BIUST created an initiative to encourage young girls to get into STEM subjects because they realized that the number of girls applying for these subjects was low. They had called 100 girls from Central District schools to participate. 

We form partnerships with organizations with the same mandate as us. For example, Debswana is interested in the 4IR and getting young people engaged in it, so we have partnered with them and they have assisted us to roll out our programs.

We have also done work with Major Blue Air, who own planes. The girls get a chance to get onto the planes, and I fly the children.

It’s not just about STEM, it’s about exposing the girls to new experiences and igniting the passion within them. There are other organizations doing work in the same area, and we are looking forward to also having them on board.

There is something very powerful about collaboration.

We have also recently partnered with EcoNet, who have chosen me to lead the Youth Development Programme in coding and entrepreneurship.

What we are doing differently is that we are teaching the kids how to code and build websites, but also entrepreneurship and leadership skills. We have enrolled the first 500 participants and we are starting in July this year. 

The role Dare to Dream is playing in the conversation (and action!) towards Africa’s readiness for 4IR…

Even though we have trained 1 500 students, we realized that there is a gap with the teachers, and so we are preparing to train teachers in order to fill that gap.

After going around the country and doing work in 40 schools, I realized that the teachers themselves don’t know about 4IR, coding or robotics. Coding isn’t part of our curriculum at the moment; only a few schools have robotics kits, but they don’t know how to use them.

So, then we pulled in Debswana and other sponsors to train the teachers for a week at the University of Botswana. From there, the teachers will go back to their respective schools and train the students.

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

How young African women can be a part of The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)…

We want young people to solve African problems using technology – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

Also, we want to teach them that they can look around for themselves, and identify where the problems are, and create devices and apps to overcome them, and make money out of them.

The fact that we are training teachers and students is a good step because we are pushing them towards appreciating the importance of 4IR and the power of technology in building businesses.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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SheaMoisture Spotlight On Award-Winning Midwife: Tolu Adeleke-Aire – CEO ToluTheMidwife

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Tolu Adeleke-Aire

Tolu Adeleke-Aire is the CEO and founder of ToluTheMidwife.

She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified healthcare professional. Tolu is an accomplished senior midwife and nurse. Tolu has over ten years of clinical and management experience.

She completed an MSc in Healthcare Management, after which she worked with the reputable UCL (Department of Nutrition).

Tolu founded ToluTheMidwife to create a holistic experience for families. One that included preparing, supporting and empowering expectant parents as they transition to parenthood. She does this through evidence-based health education.

One parent at a time, Tolu is living her business mantra, “save a mother, save a child, save a community.”

To learn more about Tolu’s business and connect with her, visit her Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?

I started ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions (officially) in 2018. The aim is to prepare, support and empower expectant parents as they transition to parenthood through evidence-based health education.



Birthing a baby is a life-changing experience,and services rendered must offer a holistic approach. – @ToluTheMidwife Click To Tweet

At ToluTheMidwife, we offer Antenatal Classes, Postnatal Classes, exclusive “With Woman” services and Dads Antenatal Classes #DadsAntenatalNg.

Through effective health education, we can influence a positive change in health behaviors. This will drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.

We truly believe that informed and empowered parents will Save a mother, Save a baby and Save a Community.

What was your motivation?

While still working in England, I visited Nigeria often because I always wanted to move back.

So during one of these visits, I read an article about the atrocious maternal and neonatal mortality rates. I instantly became obsessed.

That article made me struggle to understand why so many women die just because they are having a baby. On further research, I noted many women lack basic evidence-based health education.

As a result, I created Tolu the Midwife to fill this gap, with the hopes of saving mothers, babies, and communities.

What makes your brand stand out?

I would say our dads antenatal classes, #DadsAntenatalNg. We are the first to incorporate antenatal classes for dads in Lagos and possibly Nigeria.

Society expects men to understand the beautiful yet challenging changes that happen to women during pregnancy. To support their partners in labor and in the postnatal period.

All that without being taught, educated, informed or even supported.
This is grossly unfair, drives men away and generational patterns are subconsciously repeated.

Our holistic approach covers the transition to parenthood right from conception for both men and women.

Another thing we do is offer our couples, round the clock online maternity support through our exclusive “With Woman” packages.

Couples feel very reassured knowing there is a midwife available to answer all their questions and alleviate any anxiety or refer them to the hospital (if required).

Can you tell us one 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?

1. Time management: I had a demanding full-time job and was starting a business in Nigeria.  It was very challenging and I found no matter how hard I tried, the “naija factor” would disrupt my plans.

I am currently working part-time, as this gives me enough time to focus on building ToluTheMidwife and The Maternity Hub (Nigeria). 

I am also able to attend various courses which have been extremely helpful in building my brand.

2. Funding: I was unable to secure a personal space as I had planned and this threw me out of sync. I froze the plans I had for the classes for a while.

However, I am currently leasing spaces as required for my classes (pay-as-you-go) and this is working out really well.

How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?

As a brand new start-up, we are trying new and exclusive services such as dads antenatal classes and baby massage classes and evaluating the response we get from our clients.  

We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.

Do you have a personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

I didn’t consider the third party factor and it left me devastated at the start of my business. 

As an example, I write the handbooks for the classes and have them updated throughout the year.

I gave the first book to a printer and I didn’t receive them on time for the very first class. It made me upset because when I did receive them, they were not fit for purpose.

So when I updated the books again and sent them to the printer, I monitored every single step to avoid a repeat of what happened before.

It was a really helpful learning experience for me because as a startup, I can’t afford to have a stain on my reputation, so I take all the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.

What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?

I would say being able to make pregnant couples feel informed and empowered about their pregnancy, birthing options, and postnatal care. Most of them report feeling less anxious and worried because they know we are one call away.

They also ask the midwives and doctors to complete all aspects of their antenatal check-up. The women have their personal antenatal handheld notes, so they keep track of the important numbers in pregnancy.

All in all, I have been able to support more parents and help them become more informed and prepared to welcome their children to the world.

What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My major goal is to add new services to ToluTheMidwife. This is partially completed but we would love to regularise the frequency of the classes.

We are also working hard to open The Maternity Hub. A one-stop hub for maternity, with services from conception to 6 weeks postpartum.

Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?

I am a real foodie and funny too, so you’ll usually catch me chilling and laughing.

Another interesting thing about me is that I prefer a good movie and company, over living it up in the clubs and bars on a Friday night.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Absolutely ecstatic. SLA is an awesome platform for amazing African women.

To have our services featured on your sites, sponsored by SheaMoisture is truly an honor.


You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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