Growing and marketing your brand via social media – The tale of 5 #MotherlandMoguls

When used right, digital media can be harnessed to make a direct impact in the society Click To Tweet

It is not often that one catches five aspiring women in the same spot. Well, maybe it’s often, but what are the chances of finding them engaged in a fashion project to raise awareness and funds for charity?

These five #MotherlandMoguls are part of the ongoing Romperade Campaign, an online fashion charity event to raise funds for Living for the Needy Foundation. SLA contributor Emma Kwenu Smith caught up with the five who have successfully grown their brands online, to ask them quick questions about the impact of social media marketing on their businesses.

What’s the role of social media in charity organizations and specifically for your brand? How has social media given you exposure as a brand/charity foundation?

Caritas Aryee, Founder, Tatas and Friends Foundation.


You would notice that, largely, Ghanaian charity foundations have always run on traditional media. It’s easier to hear a radio ad calling for donations for the Osu Children’s home etc. rather than a social media campaign for funds.

This is the exact reason why Tatas and Friends Foundation has been a game changer in the industry. We started with social media and still the story has not changed. It has been a huge boost for us, and we encourage others to do same. First off, our publicity is done via social media. It is easy to get Kenkey for the Needy, (which is our major fundraising project) trending on platforms such as twitter and IG.

Since we are a charity organization, we are unable to invest in traditional media for publicity. However, through social media, we receive access to grant interviews on TV and radio. In doing so, we have been profiled alongside other solid brands on platforms such as Starr Woman Project, TedX campus, Reach for Change and many others. And to think this publicity is free! We just had to capitalize.

The second bit of using social media is that we are able to reach out to people both locally and internationally to raise money. People we do not even know, reach out to us so that they can donate to the cause. It is amazing!

Social media is a powerful tool, it has shaped the Living for the Needy brand and has given us a lot of exposure.

How do influencers promote a brand and how rewarding is it to include them when building your brand online?

Jessica Naa Adjeley Konney, Fashion Blogger, Trends&Blendsgh.


Influencers have become the new voices of brands —they are already largely recognized on social media for carving a niche. At this point, they have grown an audience that is interested in every content they churn out which is great for people who would like to patronize their services.

If you'd like to speed up the process of advertising a new brand, influencers are the way to go Click To Tweet

Being an influencer myself and having featured influencers as well, I can say that the exposure they give to a brand is immense.

Featuring an influencer takes many forms —you can have them use and review your products and put up posts on social media. They can also be included in events and can feature in huge campaigns so that it gains traction.

How do you know which digital audience to engage with for your brand and how do you decide which social media platform to use?

Constance Efua Mensah, Creative Director, EfuaStanzz Fashion.


It starts with knowing the general audience target for my brand. We are more skewed towards women’s clothing but basically, all our marketing is geared towards the confident woman. In that light, it is important that we build an identity that resonates with our targeted audience.

Choosing one social media platform starts with knowing & understanding your audience Click To Tweet

Images are essential for my fashion brand —it helps clients (both potential and existing) know what my brand is capable of providing. After all, to be comfortable enough to purchase a dress, you need to see it and assess it from all angles. As such, I mostly use Instagram and Facebook as a means of communicating to my audience.

Facebook has a wider reach, meaning more people see our posts and it also allows for effective picture/video sharing. Instagram also has a beautiful and simple approach to marketing. Content, particularly on Instagram, is simply more shareable, easier to understand, and far more universal than other types of content. Also, it is full of people eager to connect with a brand on a more intimate and tangible level.

Does social media directly affect your client base?

Lamisi, MakeUp Artist, Lamisi Artistry.


Truth is, I do get over 80% of my clients via social media. The rest is through word of mouth.

MUAs need social media, people need to see your work before trusting you with their faces Click To Tweet

I leverage heavily on Instagram particularly so that people see the images —it is an excellent platform for sharing all my works. However, the industry is very competitive, as such, it is important to make sure that your images are of good quality. Else, how will you stand out and win potential clients over?

For brands like Coca Cola, Vodafone etc. there may not be a very direct correlation between the sales you make and your social media investment. However, for us in the beauty industry, it’s very plain.

Social media dictates our potential client base and ultimately, it is where we get our clients Click To Tweet

The more posts on your social media pages, the better? Why?

Maud Mensah, CEO, WigClub


That statement is indisputable. The more you post and engage your audience, the more visible you are. However, you do not want to share too much information that it suffocates them and drives them away, and you also don’t want to share so little that they become disinterested. It is important to find the right balance for your brand. As a rule of thumb, we at WigClub post often but at least twice in a day.

As they say, when it comes to social media, learn to flirt with the fine art of frequency Click To Tweet

But you see, even in every conversation, it’s not enough to just talk. It’s more important to listen. Likewise, it’s not enough to just post. It’s more important to also engage and listen to your audience. This way you will know if your posts are resonating well or if you need to change anything to make your brand well liked among your audience.

While this wraps it up, we will be glad to have additional input on using social media as a marketing tool. If you have some tips and insights, please share. What say you?

Kundai Chiyanika: Not every job will be for you, bloom where you are planted

Kundai Chiyanika
Entertainment in Zimbabwe is hard, you need to become visible to build your brand Click To Tweet

Kundai Chiyanika is a Zimbabwean television and radio host. She is fun loving and always keen for an adventure. An explorer at heart, she loves new places and new people.

A proud mommy of two, Kundai is building a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Her life motto is ‘Be happy and stay happy’ and she’s focusing on building her brand around that. SLA contributor Ruva Samkange recently caught up with Kundai to learn more about her brand.

You recently moved back to Zimbabwe, what did you want to do when you came back?

I had lived in Cape Town for a long time and had some personal issues so I felt that it was time to move back home to be with family and regroup. At first, I really didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to do. I had enjoyed baking so I started a small baking business in my hometown. The market was not sustainable and I felt like it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.

@KundaiChiyanika wanted to make sure she was not just working because she had to Click To Tweet

Even though I struggled with what I what wanted to do, I always knew I wanted to work actively with people and that an office job wasn’t for me. I wanted to make sure I did something that suited my personality and was not just working because I had to.


You ultimately went into radio at ZiFM. What made you go into radio?

Well, radio found me. A friend of mine sent me a flyer about an entertainment company that was looking for a female co-host for a radio slot. I shared it with another friend and she asked me why I wasn’t trying out. I was scared but she encouraged me.

The experience has been amazing, I never thought I would love it so much. My co-presenter Dannythatguy and I get along like a house on fire, we present The Switch and Fire Friday. Our show is the pre-party, helping people get ready for a Friday night.

You now work on Kwese Sports, what made you venture into television?

I’ve secretly always wanted to be an actress since I was a child. So television has always been something I would jump at the chance for. I think it is a natural progression. A lot of people I work with did radio.

I get to diversify my portfolio through television with exposure to different mediums, Kwese Sports is a Pan- African channel. Even though I’m a couple of months in I have traveled and will continue to travel between across Africa and I can’t wait to get more African stamps in my passport.

How hard has getting into media been?

I have been very fortunate that an opportunity became available when I was not looking. But the industry is so competitive. Once you are in, the pressure is on to produce a quality product because there are 10,000 people behind you hungry for your job.

I have learnt that passion is not enough. You have to keep chasing the dream. Fight for it and keep trying to improve. There is always room for more.

You have to keep chasing the dream. Fight for it & keep trying to improve - Kundai Chiyanika Click To Tweet


How different are radio and television?

With radio, my personality comes out a whole lot more because my show allows that. Television is a whole different beast. If you are nervous people can see it a mile away and there is more pressure to be perfect.

Like I said its a very natural progression. Television is the next step for a lot of radio personalities. Once you conquer one, you’re hungry for the next challenge. I am lucky I still get to do both.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in television and radio?

Don’t copy anyone. Be inspired but always be yourself. Also, keep making demos and keep sending them. Try to make those contacts. Entertainment in Zimbabwe is hard, you need to become visible to build your brand. Do promos, host events, be relevant.

Be inspired but always be yourself if you're looking to get in TV and radio @KundaiChiyanika Click To Tweet

I’m not a social media person but I had to open myself up and become active online. Having updated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts will let people know who you are. Make sure your name comes up when people are are looking for an entertainment personality to host events or when job opportunities arise.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt on your journey?

Try not to compare your journey to someone else. Unfortunately, this industry is about comparisons and people’s preferences so you have to sometimes put blinders on and focus on what you need to do. Not every job will be for you. Try not to dwell too much. The hustle never stops.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here

Twitter Chat with Tania Omotayo: You, Your 9-5, Your Side Hustle & Your Brand (Dec. 8)

side hustle your brand

Balancing your day job and your side side hustle is never easy. It’s even harder when your 9-5 is with a budding company in the entertainment industry and your side hustle is a modeling career, among other things. Top that all off with aspirations to start your own company and build your personal brand and you’ve got one busy schedule. How do you keep track of it all and how do you get the skills to do so many separate things?

Join us Thursday Dec. 8th for a twitter chat with the one and only Tania Omotayo. She is making a name for herself across the entertainment, marketing and modeling world and she is about to reveal some news about a fashion business she has been working on for a year. Don’t just wait and watch! Learn from this Motherland Mogul that is moving and shaking across the Nigerian sector and beyond.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Breaking into the entertainment or fashion industry
  • What does it mean to be a Creative Analyst
  • How to start your own business in entertainment, marketing, or fashion
  • Staying on top of everything

Twitter chat details

  • Date: Thursday Dec. 8, 2016
  • Time: 7am NYC // 1pm Lagos  // 3pm Nairobi
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Help us spread the word:

Join @SheLeadsAfrica & @TaniaOmotayo for #SLAChats on Thurs Dec. 8th at 12pm GMT. Click To Tweet

side hustle twitter chat

About Tania Omotayo

Tania Omotayo is a versatile young lady born in Lagos to Austrian and Nigerian parents. From age 14, she studied in the UK and America, and graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with honours in advertising, before returning to Nigeria to start a career in Brand Management.

She has over 4 years’ experience working in branding and media companies that have managed and worked with some of Nigeria’s biggest profile entertainers and corporate clients including MTN, Pepsi, and Nigerian Breweries.

She also runs her own company, a branding and digital marketing consultancy for small and medium size enterprises. She is passionate about midwifing the growth of brands.

Tania’s formal career as a model started in 2014 when she was the face of a leading Nigerian fashion house Jewel By Lisa’s ‘Print Party’ campaign for online retailer Fashpa.

In 2015, Tania became the face of fashion designer Maju’s ‘Rinnovo’ collection. In 2016 she became the face of Last Shot recovery drink as well as the face of Nigeria’s prestigious designer eyewear storehouse ‘House of Lunnettes’.

In the same year, she made her debut on the runway, closing for bespoke designer Mai Atafo at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

Vera Adu Amani: How I found creative ways to build my brand

Vera Adu Amani

Vera Adu Amani started her fashion company with no capital, no showroom and no PR services. All she had was a vision, talent and a voice which she used as a strong marketing tool on social media to build her brand.

As the face of Adu Amani Klodin, she used her hairstyle (popularly described as Adomi bridge) to promote her brand at the 2015 Chalewote Arts Festival. This hairstyle went viral and led many clients to her company.

After this great exposure, Vera’s brand story has been used as a case study in Professor Ato Quayson’s book “Globalization of Oxford Street”. She also won the 2015 urban designer of the year at the West African Fashion Awards; has gained recognition as influential designer in Africa and is currently a mentor/judge at the Ghana Coalition entrepreneurship leadership challenge.

How did you discover social media as a great marketing tool?

When I started the company, I had nothing! I had no money, no showroom, no team of marketers working for me. All I had was a vision, talent and a voice so I started sharing my work online just to showcase what I could do.

As I connected with many people who reacted positively to my work, I became more active on the social media platforms. That was when I realized that social media is easy and a cheaper way to reach more people.

After this realization, I equipped myself by reading and researching on digital marketing strategy and other social media materials to brand my company online.

I then created my own style, my own platform to inspire, educate my followers and promote other brands.

After your discovery, what steps did you take to use social media to build your brand?

The only way your work speaks for itself is if someone is listening. When it comes to business you need to make some noise to get your message across so I started making so much noise about my work to get the attention needed.

The steps I used to build my brand are as per below;

  • I chose a memorable brand name which is easy to remember, pronounce and spell. I used the name on all of my social media networks. This makes it easy for followers to search and find my company.
  • I repositioned myself, developed my voice and built my social media presence. I focused on one network (Facebook) which worked for my brand from the beginning since I didn’t have a team working for me.
  • I adapted a social media marketing strategy plan. Thus a monthly calendar list where I created features like Facebook trade.
  • I used visual marketing like videos and photos to promote my work. I engaged storytelling which has always been my number one key. It is one thing describing a product and another selling a product.
  • I shared and commented on interesting articles, works by other people and trending issues.
  • I asked questions; read and learnt from others especially brands/people I look up to. This was to help me distinguish myself from the others.
  • I also engaged my followers, answered their questions, expressed my gratitude to them and sorted their opinions on things. I used their opinions to create content which they shared with their friends.
  • I learnt to communicate with my followers effectively. For instance; I can’t use the same language and tone [contents] I use on Facebook /Instagram for Linkedin followers.
  • What you say on social media will go a long way to affect you so I learnt to let certain comments roll off my back. You should know when to shut up.

Which marketing tool skyrocketed your brand?

I will say my hairstyle to the 2015 Chalewote Arts festival popularly described as Adomi bridge skyrocketed my brand. The plan was to look different, unique, to stand out, and have fun.

As the face of my brand, I take every opportunity to promote my brand so the Chalewote Arts festival was a great place to showcase my work. I did not think the hairstyle will get such attention but it did and since then, my brand has been on the lips of many people.  


How has social media affected your company’s growth?

Everything that I am now and have now was gained through social media. Through social media, my brand has gained exposure, income, clients, jobs and followers.

Social media boosted my brand visibility, and boosted my self-esteem personally. My brand was unknown but now I don’t have to introduce myself anymore, there is this phrase I usually use; ‘Google my name’.

Social media has connected me to people that I wouldn’t have been able to meet in real in life.

Now that your brand has gained the exposure you wanted, what is next?

Well, my brand has gained digital exposure but not physical exposure so my team and I are working on traditional marketing and building relationships outside the internet.

I also want to develop, expand and own a successful fashion design business. Not just a onetime wonder but a sustainable, profitable fashion design company.

I am hoping to rewrite the African story. When a person thinks of Africa, it shouldn’t be a story of slaves, monkeys, ugliness or violence, it should be positive. Beautiful kente shoes/bags by Adu Amani should come in mind.

So I will say I am working on making the brand a vehicle to communicate the beauty of Africa to the world through fashion. I want to leave positive digital footprints.




What is the most outrageous marketing tool you had to use to get your followers attention?

I have used many funny strategies but the funniest was the one that skyrocketed my brand. This is the Adomi bridge hairstyle. I knew I would get some attention but did not expect the photos going viral.

The hairstyle attracted both positive and negative reactions. I was made fun of when the photos went viral. Some comments were very mean and hurtful but I joined in the fun and used it as an opportunity to promote my brand. This had many people sharing my brand all over social media.

I never thought the bridge on my head would gain such massive audience but it did and was worth it.

Your Adomi bridge hairstyle was imitated by many people at the 2016 Chalewote Arts, how do you feel about it?


I feel very inspired. It makes me know that I am an influencer and whatever I do affects other people so I am more responsible for others and not just myself.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.

Twitter Chat with Kuwala: Building an International Fashion Brand (Oct. 13)

building an international fashion brand

How do you go about starting a fashion company where you source from one place, you and your partner live in different cities and your clients are world wide? How do you ensure quality through the pipeline and celebrate the culture that you source from? These questions plague many budding entrepreneurs.

Join us Thursday Oct. 13th for a twitter chat with the founders of Kuwala, as we discuss the ins and outs of sourcing ethical fashion brands, selling around the world, and managing an international team.

Kuwala is an international African e-commerce site started by two Malwaian women living in Canada. Veronica Nnensa and Freeda Mulenga use Kuwala to promote high-quality fashion designed in Africa and are working to show that Africa is also a fashion hub for creativity and manufacturing. If you have ever considered going into fashion or starting a company across multiple countries, then you don’t want to miss this chat!

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • How to source African fashion designers
  • Leveraging technology to manage a global brand
  • Changing the story around African fashion
  • Differentiating your brand
  • Advice for people interested in all aspects of African fashion

Twitter chat details

  • Date: Thursday Oct. 13, 2016
  • Time: 1pm Toronta // 6pm Lagos // 7pm Lilongwe
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa and Kuwala  on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

twitter chat kuwala international fashion brand

About Freeda, Veronica & Kuwala

Born in Malawi and raised in South Africa, Freeda Mulenga is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, with a degree in Finance and Accounting. She has worked as an accounting professional including for well-respected firms such as Collins Barrow.

Born in Malawi and raised in Canada, Veronica Nnensa has a degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management with a minor in French. She has a wealth of skills and experience developed through a variety of socially conscious initiatives and organizations, including working as an Economic Development Officer in Brazil.

In January 2014, these two friends launched, an e-commerce platform which curates unique and exclusive pieces from socially responsible African fashion brands. Based in Toronto, these two fashionistas hope to promote the growth of a sustainable and ethical African fashion industry through Kuwala. To find out more about their story, click here.


4 lessons Tiwa Savage taught us on comebacks

tiwa savage

It now seems so long ago. Sometime in April, we woke up to a rather unexpected hot-button topic —the messy detail of troubles in Tiwa Savage’s marriage. There were mind-blowing accusations on social media by her estranged husband.

A tell-all video from Tiwa was to follow the next day. We already knew the 36-year-old Nigerian pop diva could make any song sound heavenly. But for someone who seemed well put together, we didn’t exactly see this coming.

In case you’re one of the handful who hasn’t realized yet, Tiwa has got her groove back and she’s clearly on her grind! I have gleaned from her setback and triumph, 4 hard-hitting truths. They are guaranteed to stick with you for a long time.

Challenges have a way cooler purpose than you ever thought.


This is probably relative but this attitude is the most important you can develop in life, business or marriage.

Seriously, challenges can sneak up on you and make you feel like the worst person alive. The idea is to realize that though it might take a lot of courage to look pain in the eye, it’s best to trust that it is a learning opportunity.

If you’ve never had to crack some tough nut, have you really lived? I don’t think so.

Know when you’ve had enough… and start talking like Tiwa.


Like the message in the ‘If I Start To Talk’ song, off her RED album, maybe it’s time you realized you’ve had enough and started talking.

You’ve probably been silent for too long. You don’t have to talk to anyone but an extra set of ears can be very useful. You probably think no one would appreciate, understand or help your plight (I find that pretty rare), but it can be a lifesaver to have someone know your story.

Dust yourself off

naomi campbell face

Tiwa’s got some interesting deals and endorsements going on, right now. The most recent and coolest, of course, is her being signed to Jay Z-owned Roc Nation!

That’s some great trick for moving on —deliberately re-enact your own story. It makes for good business and helps you avoid having to obsessively dwell on something you cannot help.

You can always decide the turning point in your own narrative. It is that moment when everything changes or catalyzes.

Play the stingy one if you must


Maybe you’ve been doling out cash to that lazy business partner, spouse, friend, family member or people whose link to you, you can’t fathom.

No sweat girl, the giver tag to your name is fine. But the broke, unappreciated and unhappy tag is not so fine.

If you find yourself in a position to offer help, by all means, do but it should really be worth it.

4 tips for selling yourself on the spot, effortlessly!

selling yourself wocintech chat

I once had a position that involved cold calling people —without a script or template— and selling a product. I had no previous sales experience, and as you can imagine it was a complete disaster. The experience helped me realize that selling was a powerful art-form that I had seriously underestimated. It also gave me some good insight for when it came to finding ways to ‘sell’ myself to people I want to connect with.

Whether you are an entrepreneur making connections, job hunting, or trying to win over co-workers, you need to know how to sell yourself. Many of us have no problem delivering a killer elevator pitch, or eloquently presenting our ideas. The problem comes when we have to convince everyone; why us?

While being prepared is crucial, you may not always have the luxury of preparing. When put on the spot it’s easy to revert to a one size fits all prepared speech. To help with this I’ve come up with an acronym to ensure you can adapt on the spot. You need to think FAST. It’s not a template for a monologue but rather a few things to bear in mind in your conversation.


Getting the right ‘fit’ is about reading your audience, and deciding what skills or achievements would be relevant in that context. Yes, you are a #MotherlandMogul and you have LOTS of accomplishments, but is it necessary to list them all? Think from their perspective, and only include things that will help your pitch.

Also mention things that you are working on doing, and not only past accomplishments. The Harvard Business Review points to a study which found that your potential could be as persuasive as your accomplishments. They note, “people are much more impressed, whether they realize it or not, by your potential than by your track record.”

The study asserts that “when people seek to impress others, they often do so by highlighting individual achievements. Despite the intuitive appeal of this strategy, we demonstrate that people often prefer potential rather than achievement when evaluating others.” Keep it truthful and do not sell dreams, but don’t be afraid to use your on-going/future projects as well.

Add value

Essentially, you want them to realize they need you or at the very least your relationship can be valuable.

Are there areas that you can collaborate with them in? Problems that you can solve? Demonstrate that you have grasped their needs, and paint a picture of just how you are positioned to solve them.

If on the spot you have no prior knowledge, just ask what the needs are. What you want to avoid is going on about things that may not be relevant to them.


Unless you have a totally original idea or skill set, you must give compelling reasons as to why yours is different. Separate yourself from competition by mentioning the unique qualities/experiences that enhance your value.

Salespeople would refer to this as a Unique Selling Proposition.’s Small Business Encyclopedia illustrates this with some examples, “Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service.”

Whatever your personal USP is, make sure it actually adds value. Real estate coach Kevin Ward reminds us, “The goal is not just to be different. The goal is to add value to people in a different way.”

(*For a humorous visual reminder of why different isn’t always useful, take a look at the Twitter account @WeWantPlates.)

Tie it up

do-not-waste-your-time-oprahSo now you have won them over and you have buy-in. Remember, the goal of ‘selling’ is to make a sale.Wrap up your conversation by setting clear ways to follow through.

Ending a conversation with:“We’ll chat more later” won’t cut it. Make sure you collect! Set dates, get signatures, do what you came to do. Don’t let a good sales pitch go to waste!

The 4 minute guide to SME marketing: Everything na packaging


This article in the on-going series was largely borne out of a personal experience. Did I mention that I am testing the entrepreneurship waters myself? To digress a little, I think there is a side-gigging bug making the rounds, especially in the city of Lagos. Let’s do a quick poll if you currently work a 9-5 job but still want to take charge of your working life, do what you love and not be dictated to by corporate rule, say Aye!

Well, my business partner and I had a mini-debate about how products should be packaged for potential customers. My stance was a very practical and cost minimizing one seeing as ‘affordable’ was at the core of our proposition to customers. But she, on the other hand, believed in making an impression because from her perspective and quite truly, packaging can make all the difference!

Let me quickly explain why this is so. Remember that saying about dressing how you want to be addressed? The same can be said of product packaging. Humans are largely visual beings and can form lasting impressions based solely on what they see.  Also, seeing as we live in a cluttered world, you want to be able to, with your packaging, get people’s attention and inspire them to take action.

Now I am not going to over-flog the “Packaging Matters” discourse because I am almost certain that as a (potential) business owner this is something you are definitely aware of. But while you do the needful, there are 2 things I think you should keep in mind:

What’s your business model?

As a new business, especially, one playing in an already saturated field, one way to win would be through your pricing model. You should actually aspire to deliver the lowest cost to your customers in the form of lower prices. This can guarantee you a spot on customers’ purchase considerations. I mean who doesn’t want to pay the lowest price for the best quality, right?

If your promise is the lowest cost, perhaps you shouldn’t spend so much on the packaging of your product seeing as every cost you incur would have to be taken care of in your selling price. Of course, you should consider this if you intend to make a profit and remain in business.

Going minimalist (please do not read this as tacky!) with your product packaging shouldn’t bother you at all if your proposition to customers clearly explains why that is necessary. So for example, ever noticed the difference in packaging when you shop via Jumia or Konga (proposition: lowest price guaranteed) as against shopping at a Montaigne Place (proposition: luxury at its best)?

Packaging versus Product Quality

I am sure we’ve all had this experience before. You go to a fancy restaurant with the most fantastic ambience and the food turns out absolute crap. Mind you, this is after much pomp and pageantry. Or you pick a pack of biscuit off the supermarket shelf because of a package design too catchy to ignore and discover that it tastes like sawdust.

In both aforementioned instances, you’d have to be a masochist to want to relive that experience.

The learning, therefore, is this: you can inspire an action (purchase) with package design but if the product/service experience does not meet expectations, there would likely be no repeat purchase. More important than the package design is the product/service quality because that’s what ultimately delivers value.

There is the need to fully understand how your desired customers define value and give them that, else any other thing you do would be counter intuitive. So you start a hair salon business, what would your ideal customer appreciate more; gold-plated mirrors from Dubai or gifted and experienced hair stylists on your payroll?

This is the ideal process:

  1. Know your intended customers.
  2. Understand their needs.
  3. Create a product/service that fully satisfies those needs.
  4. Then properly package that product or service.

Do not attempt to prioritize no. 4 over no. 3. There’s so much more we can say about packaging but this is still the most important thing:

“Packaging is a substantive aspect of your marketing strategy that you should pay keen attention to ”.



How to make money as an artist in Nigeria

artist in nigeria

You must be familiar with the image of the starving artist in Nigeria who doesn’t get recognition until she dies. Were you discouraged from studying the arts because it was believed to be an unlucrative industry? Or maybe because you were a girl? Well, what if I told you they were wrong? You don’t agree? Here’s my argument – if you’re artistically inclined, why settle for broke when this image below could just be you?


In many countries across the world, artists make their living from selling art. However in Nigeria, it is often difficult for artists to break into commercial success. If you are still not sure how this article can help, stay with me. I’ll show you how to start making that money while holding on to your creativity.

Create a unique brand


Your brand needs to have a selling factor that is personal to you as an artist, be it your style, your market, your subject. Check out Francis Sule for example, who uses a highly illustrative style in his work.

Have a day job

A lot of artists hole themselves up in their studios expecting their ‘dope’ work to speak for itself. You see girl, your work isn’t going to speak without you doing some talking.Captuyre

A day job that lets you meet people and maintain a flexible schedule is a good idea. I work as a graphics designer in a sports entertainment company and that helps me meet a lot of people. Another case in point is Stacey Okparevvo who works as a yoga instructor.

Hire a talent manager/art agent.

Most artists are not really business savvy, they’re just not very good at marketing their own work! Think about it, if they were to be left on their own, galleries would probably be making far less money.

We hear of veteran artists with agents and managers taking care of business, but most new artists don’t care for such ‘luxuries’. The truth is it is not so difficult getting people do to do these things for you. David Oamen is one of the few people who does something along those lines in Nigeria.

Sell affordable art


There is actually nothing wrong with selling affordable art. A number of artists are creating and selling affordable stuff. For example, Art of ajet, Mode, and lawyartist are examples of artists who sell art, phone cases and so on, online. You can do phone cases, T-shirts, logos, mugs, book covers, snap backs, the possibilities are endless.

Network network network


Ah, yes, artists network. Are you serious about making commercial hits? Then you surely have to go out and meet people. Ayoola has a huge network across the world and is a friendly chap. AAF and ArtContemporary also artists who organise networking events for other artists.

Collaborate outside your field

Again this may feel a little too tasking, but you need to go outside your comfort zone to sell your art. Collaborating with fashion designers and musicians is a great way to make collaboration work for you and bring in constant work.

Set up a store at Jakande


Yes, I said Jakande! What were you expecting though? A lot of foreigners and Nigerians visit Jakande with the intention to buy art. And if your art is affordable and your brand amazing, you’re sure to find great customers there. If I were you, I’d get someone to handle sales, and may even sell my work myself.

Contact galleries across the world

Galleries worldwide are usually looking for new artists. Don’t rest on your oars girl, contact them, be at the top of your game. Art21, Omenka, and Rele are some of the galleries in Lagos.

Finally, the arts business might be a tricky one. I’m not sure what the defining factors of a ‘good’ art piece are but I do know that for every work you create, you’ll need to be authentic and true to who you are. Strive to create pieces that you actually love. And make lots of money along the way.


The why and how to being an inspirational leader

Let me start by telling you about Julia. After eight years of operations and more than 25 members of staff, Julia was frustrated and exasperation. She deemed that the business was just not viable and decided it was finally time to shut things down. Dwindling revenues and consistently spiraling costs were largely to blame.

But it was all supposed to have been so easy. After graduating from University with a LLB, Julia decided that, having studied Law to please her parents, she could now start living her own dream. Julia got qualified and set up her own Montessori kindergarten. Soon enough through word of mouth and referrals, pupils came in. But year in and year out, pupil numbers were not growing as Julia had expected. Teachers too were not as inspired and motivated in their work as she needed them to be. Julia herself needed inspiration.

Now, imagine a world where people wake up inspired to go to work.

A world where your employees genuinely look forward to the start of business day. Where they look forward to interacting with their colleagues and leader daily. In this world, your employees are constantly and authentically excited about interacting with clients. They see themselves as relevant and are ready to offer premium solutions to the needs of clients with a listening ear and attentive heart.

Imagine that. Wouldn’t it be really amazing?

In my point of view, this would be seriously valuable. I think we should all seek to make our businesses and workplaces like that imagined one above. I am convinced that one of the ways you can do that is to lead with purpose and direction. You need to know your why of your business, live the why of your business in your operations, and inspire with the why of your business.

The Why

Let’s start with ‘why’. Why exactly are you in business? What is so distinctive about your business and your organization that it would potentially draw clients and employees to your door step?

There are some organizations that people just fantasize working with. There are others that are the preferred service providers of many. There is a reason for this both employee and client deem these organisations to be especial service providers. They are seen as having a unique way of doing and serving. There is something distinctive about their brand and therefore their business.

This isn’t something left to chance. The most sought after brands are relentless in their efforts to be responsive to client and employee needs and wants. They clearly understand why they are in business and who they are in business to serve. They are also equally obsessive about serving clientele effectively and efficiently according to their brand values, and doing so consistently and constantly.

The How

I wonder if Julia, the head of the school above, had thought deeply about the ‘why’ of her business. I also wonder if she had thought deeply about how she would have to operate her business to satisfy that why. Julia probably hadn’t thought deeply about what it takes to create the kind of school that she wanted. This list is lenghty, from organizational values and culture, to parent/school engagement, to away days for teachers, to school administrative policies, to continuous learning for herself and her teachers so that they become authorities in their field, to developing an executive presence for herself.

In any business, there are vital peripherals which we must pay attention to. These are beyond the product and service that you sell. The decisive business leader ensures that their business operates at a place of inspired joint value for all its stakeholders. They ensure that their organization is a continuously learning, improving and responding. They ensure that their business is continually enhancing their capabilities, services and products -and inspiring and motivating staff as it does so .

And that takes courage

It takes courage to inspire, when you inspire you will suggest innovative ways of doing and thinking for the better. In presenting new ways of thinking and of doing, the business leader challenges the status quo. That is why leading effectively often requires courage.

Most people will need tremendous inspiration to offer their best and effect an otherwise dormant potential. It will take courageous leadership to draw out that potential. It was TS Eliot who said that only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. The privilege and responsibility of business leadership is in taking calculated risks, within and in spite of your resource constraints, to see how you can more effectively serve and respond to your clients and your team’s needs. That takes courage.

But courage is ineffectual without purpose and direction. This is why in business we must know our ‘why’, and gather the courage to demonstrate that why through our how.