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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How to rock these 5 Corporate Styles effortlessly

At the concluded MET Gala, head swooped and ears buzzed, we saw fashion statement from the future, from Queen mother Serena Williams’ magnificent dress, to Tracy Ellis Ross’ – Mirror in the wall black emblem.

We are trying to not mention Cardi’s overflowing regalia and Lupita Nyong’o statement headgear. Nonetheless, Zendaya was the star of the ball or MET rather.

She came dressed in an outfit that lit up from a wave of a magic wand. With her very own fairy Godmother or father.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had fairy godmothers that would wave a wand at our swarthy wardrobes and Gbam, we are all glammed up.

While we are still waiting for a fairy godmother/Wakanda father, we put together a number of ideas and ways you can switch up.

Let’s take a more practical approach to our wardrobe.  These makeover and outfit ideas are for that goal-getter who knows she can slay and deliver at the same time and is doing just that, while she might be able to stretch her budget.

This boss lady wants to be in the know of fashion trend, she wants to be creative and classic, turning both eyes and heads at the meeting, for her we’ve set up an array of methods to switch that glam up

We don’t leave the entrepreneur out, she’s making boss moves, she’s running from an event venue to meeting with her clients.

She wants to make sure everything works well for her small business, and she wants to look like she means business to clients. She can’t bust a thousand box on clothes.

What ways can she creatively switch up the narrative off her wardrobe from “please-help-this-newbie-entrepreneur” to “here’s -why-you-should-invest-in-my-business entrepreneur”.

The Statement Stiletto

A stiletto can transform your look from plain to classic. First, it elevates your status, gives you more moral to look people in the eye, and a statement stiletto draws eyes from your heels all the way up to your face.

A statement stiletto can be stylish while remaining formal. They usually stand out in just one color. A bright red is an all-time favorite, a neon green will go too.

Whatever you choose, make sure to pair them off with soft brown colors and power glasses. Make a statement without saying a word

The Formal Ankara

What better way to stand out than in an all in one Ankara print pants or skirts. While you rep the Wakanda nation. you bring with you that extra sauce and excitement that is otherwise drab in a suit and tie setting.

Note: Ankara prints can get busy so it’s best to pair them off with single color, mainly white or black and minimal accessories.

The Stylish Joggers

Whoever told you pants can’t be stylish lied to you. There are days when a Motherland Mogul has to be on her feet, moving around to keep things in check, trying to meet up and staying all late to make orders move in the next morning.

This is certainly no time to do a catwalk.  When you really need that flexibility jump in from one car to another, a jogger’s gat you baby girl.

It’s light, free and flexible, allowing you to be comfortable all day long. Paired with a jacket you can quickly make the switch from entrepreneur to the boss lady

The Classic Pants

Pastel pants come in all shapes and colors. Single-colored pastel pants bearing softer shades like woody brown or pastel pink are great together.

Layering a turtle neck tee shirt or a tank top underneath the statement jackets makes your outfit pop.

It’s easy, soft and comfortable and you can always switch from feeling classic in a jacket to party style in a tee-shirt styled into a crop top to fit at a party.

However you choose to wear it, this outfit works for different occasions.

The Multipurpose Jacket

A bright colored jacket Is a must for any wardrobe. There’s barely anything you can’t rock with it. A bright colored jacket can be worn on a little black dress, a dinner gown, or even with a corporate dress.

You can pair it up with a tee-shirt and you make a unique fashion statement. And if you dare, mix it up with sneakers or all stars.

Now you have it, survey your wardrobe to find combinations that work.

Here are 3 tips to help you recreate a new wardrobe in a week.

  • Ransack your wardrobe, you would probably find a statement piece you didn’t know what to do with or a jacket you forgot from a long time ago, now is the time to bring out the slayer in you.
  • Pair each outfit by color and accessories them.
  • Next, you’d want to take photos of each outfit you think cuts the mark, scan through your Mirror, Mirror on the wall, and select the dopest of them all.

Here are a few online thrift stores you can get clothing from, all of which can be found in Mall of Africa.

  • Zara
  • Boho
  • Pretty Little things
  • Budget shopping Fashionaova

All outfits and dresses in this article can be found at StyleAmira’s fashion and lifestyle page. You can also find them on the gram.

Till next time, let us slay together.

10 MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL’S CLOSET


In 2016 I moved back to my home country, Sierra Leone. Yes, sis— that tiny country on the coast of West Africa, no one knows much about.

Sierra Leone has a population of approximately 7 million people, we have government institutions, a growing and healthy private sector dominated by the mining, agriculture, hospitality, and the FMCG industry— as well as a large NGO presence.

With a range of middle-management and administrative job options so close, yet so far out of the reach of Sierra Leoneans.

None-the-less I was determined to learn the political, economic and social landscape of the country, work for NGO’s whose mission statements I believe in, and start my own business!

The only problem was that, at my big age of 24, I had no young professional wear!

I was coming out of a two-year job in a tech start-up where we wore jeans to work every day.

I quickly learned that to go on job interviews, or meetings with potential investors and clients for my own start-up, I needed affordable yet good quality business casual items in my closet.

Below I will share with you my the top 10 items that saved my interview and client meetings game for two years of freelance consulting and building a start-up.

Illustrating each item is the fabulous and unparalleled stylings by Fatouma Haidara, also known on the gram as @the_fashionartist_.

1. The high-waisted paper bag trouser

A good quality high-wasted trouser in black or dark/navy blue goes with almost every professional shirt and even casual shirts.

This piece changes any outfit from the casual to – “I’m fresh out of an important meeting” look.

The tip here is that it cannot be a tight fit or fitted trouser. The slightly loose wear allows you to run around flexible all day from meeting to meeting as most bosses do.

2.  The cotton poplin shirt

Every woman needs this in every color! Start with the basic office blue and work your way from grey to every color under the sun!

Even a basic office blue with different patterns like stripes and polka dots works. You can collect these over time. But if you find a store where they’re on sale, stock up!

3. The flounced/satin/silk blouse

There are a million and one materials, cuts, colors, and designs to buy this in.

Essentially, what’s great here is that its a stylish yet comfortable shirt that can be worn with many different kinds of bottoms while maintaining a professional/work-based air about your outfit.

4. The black ballet shoe

Practical, comfortable and transferable! This is best for work when fully covered (no peep toes— most offices and interview spaces have either a written or non-explicit policy against this anyway).

It is best to get this shoe in good quality leather (or good enough quality) so that it lasts long.

I had an all-black one from Aldo with an alligator texture and a small gold zipper in the back, and it lasted me 3 years of daily wear!

5. Closed-toe low-heeled pumps

Neutral colors like black, beige and nude are a good place to start. This has the same appeal as the black ballet shoe, however, I recommend having at least one or two of these because some offices require them for meetings.

I find pumps most essential for networking events and conferences, they add an extra layer to my self-esteem for some reason.

6. The non-fitted high-waisted knee-length (or below) pencil skirt

Yes oh, this one is mad specific because I find that if just one part of it is off, it doesn’t hold the professional gaze that I’m going for.

Pairing this with any kind of top or a classic round neck jewelry piece is a quick and easy young professional look for your more relaxed days.

7. The blazer

You may not work at a bank or in a law firm— but trust me, a blazer always comes in handy one day or another!

8. The Longchamps Pliage

This one is a bit of a splurge and a luxury I know! But if you have something similar then go for it!

What you truly need here is a black medium to a large sized handbag that is light even before you fill it with your planner, your lunch and your laptop!

Carrying bags all day can be heavy, you want something easy on the shoulders. The pliage is also waterproof for those Harmattan/rainy season days.

But if you don’t have access to one, then any good leather bag should do. Black is a practical color because it goes with every outfit.

9. The Pleated Skirt

I could go on and on, but the skirt speaks for itself. This is my favorite piece for a work presentation, networking events and lazy days when I don’t want to be confined by more fitted clothing.

It’s such an elegant piece, without even trying.

10. Your business card

You know how they say “you’re never fully dressed without a smile”? Well for a young professional— you’re never fully dressed without your card!

Not only does it allow potential employers to easily contact you but it’s a great avenue to use to ask people for their own business card in exchange for yours— so that you can send that follow up email and call later!

Haidara is the Malian founder and CEO of the interior design firm Haii Designs and her work can be found on Instagram at – @haiidesigns_interior.

In all aspects, Haii Designs, blends the traditional and modern birthing innovative and “never seen before” designs. Along with her clean, modern, and lively spatial designs, I have long been drawn to Haidara’s grown and #BossLady fashions! If you’re looking to purchase your next office ruling inspiration piece and jewellery after this article, explore tribia-by-hd.afrikea.com or @tribia.by.hd on Instagram.

5 fashion tricks to boost your attraction level

It is no longer news that some people are usually attracted to others based on how well they appeal to their minds.

The attraction can be physical, emotional, sapiosexual or sexual in nature.

But I will like to talk to you about how well you can kit up physically and still attract the right partner.

First, let me start by saying that there is no perfect person out there for you. But there are people who fit your ideal description of what you want in a man.

MR Right is simply a high-value man who knows what he wants, takes responsibility for his life and is on a journey to building great relationships too.

A lot of ladies are attracted to well-fitted men, with broad shoulders, and great fashion sense. If you want this type of man, it is not a bad idea, but you should understand that such men would want a classy attractive woman too.

That means you should look as classy as he would look too. If you are not conscious about how you look, you may miss out on important opportunities in other areas of your life.

Trust me, some people do not have the patience to know your content, they are merely moved by sight except they have an opportunity of being around you to see what else you can offer. So packaging matters a lot.

First impression is good, but it doesn’t have to be the final say but what about making sure your first impression is likable?

Let me share with you 5 areas to pay attention to look more attractive and classy to Mr. Right.

1. KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE

Should I confess to you? I just found out about my body type last year in 2018.

While growing up, someone once told me that I had a male figure and I felt bad about it. And then later, I began to compare my body with others. I wondered why I had broad shoulders and a small waist.

Don't wear a dress because it fits another person, you should be more concerned about how well it'll fit you too – @NikeFolagbade Click To Tweet

Most jackets and tops I wanted never fit me and I wasn’t conscious of the style I could blend so I simply copied the trend and close friend’s style.

I found out about body types in a learning class and I was like wow! I didn’t know that I had been buying the wrong dresses.

That could be you too. You should not wear a dress because it fits another person, you should be more concerned about how well it will fit you too.

Learn about your body type and wear what fits you.

Other types of body types are the apple, pear, inverted triangle body types, and so much more. Now that I know, I buy my dresses strategically.

So appreciate your body type, wear what fits you and flaunt well with a great style.

2. DO SKIN CARE ROUTINE

Gone are the days where skincare used to be expensive. You can actually do some organic regimen by watching them on YOUTUBE.

Not all skin care routine can fit your skin type so you may need to talk to a skin expert to know which suit your skin.

A clear and bright skin adds more to your beauty plus eating good food, fruits, and plenty of water makes perfect sense to look good.

3. YOUR SMILE AND BODY POSTURE

What is the point of having beautiful skin and body if you cannot smile and develop a good posture?

A lot of times, men are attracted to your smile and that can be the signal they need to know you are approachable.

If you are always keeping a straight face, you may have fewer people socializing with you. So put on some smile and carry yourself well.

4. ACCESSORIES

Do you know there is power in using a touch of accessories?

It can range from neck pieces, wristwatches, bangles, sunglasses, hats, scarf, statement bag, etc. it is all about adding a touch to your style and making a statement with it.

How well do you invest in accessories?

5. MAKE UP

There is something about adding a touch to your face. It makes you look more natural.

It doesn’t mean you cannot be a team natural but lighten up your face and that may be the difference you need.

When you start paying attention to how you look, you will be surprised at the kinds of attention you will get.

I know work schedule can be tight and you have no time, but you can use your mobile phone to do the necessary research and update yourself.


What will you start doing differently?

The Importance of a ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ and Tips on How to Build One

Do you always find yourself shopping for clothes and shoes that you never wear? Or you have clothes in your wardrobe that you have not worn in over a year?

It may be time to declutter your wardrobe.

One of the benefits of the minimalistic trend has been the adoption of a capsule wardrobe.

The term “Capsule Wardrobe” was coined by a London Boutique owner, Susie Fox, who owned a boutique called “Wardrobe” in the seventies.

If you are wondering if a capsule wardrobe is a right decision for you, here are a few reasons to consider:

You are looking to revamp your style

Your style changes with the different seasons in your life such as school, work, college parties vs. the networking cocktail events and you may, therefore, find that your current outfits do not fit your current season in life.

It is important to always evaluate your fashion needs with your current situation for example when it is time to get the classic LBD/LWD in exchange for the shorts that were your party outfits in your college days.

As you are maneuvering this new season, keep your purchases to a minimum in order for you to identify which style works for you best.

You want to save money you spend on shopping

If you are an impulsive shopper and you always find yourself shopping outfits that never seem to fit into your current wardrobe – It may be time to consider scaling down on your wardrobe and your shopping.

The best part about scaling down on your wardrobe as an impulsive shopper is that you will control your spending habits and that will help you save on that extra coin.

The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that you will get a clear picture of what your style is and it is, therefore, easier to shop with your style in mind.

You want to reduce on the amount of time you spend picking out an outfit

Whether you are dressing for work, a date, a cocktail party or any other event, you want to minimize the amount of time that you take to dress.

The lesser the pieces in your wardrobe, the lesser the time that you will spend choosing an outfit.  

The essence of a capsule wardrobe is in adopting the pieces in your current wardrobe that you love to wear and that you feel great in.

These pieces are your staples for what would ideally be considered a season (3 months) after which you switch them up as the season changes.

If you come from a tropical area, then your wardrobe will change depending on whether the season is rainy or sunny.

Tips to building on your wardrobe for each season:

Go through your closet and pick the pieces that you frequently wear

There are the basic pieces in your wardrobe that you love wearing and feel great in which are the pieces that will be your first choices.

These will include; outerwear which will depend on the season, bottoms such as jeans, skirts and shorts, tops and shoes.  

Create a base for your wardrobe and build on your pieces

This will be in the form of the classic white and grey tees, button-down shirts, dark colored pants, classic pencil skirts.

The base that you choose mainly depends on your lifestyle and your day-to-day activities.

The pieces that you pick to build on your wardrobe will be determined by the base that you choose for your base.

Clothes, Design, Fashion, Fabric

When shopping, consider purchasing statement pieces that transcend “fashion” and can be incorporated into many outfits

A capsule wardrobe is one that is meant to minimize your clothes into a small collection therefore when shopping ensure that you get classic pieces that transcend style seasons.

Your best bet is to switch up on your outerwear and shoes while maintaining the basic pieces.

Chioma Ogbudimkpa: On creating Redbutton and using Green Fashion to meet the SDGs goals

Chioma Ogbudimkpa is a certified project management professional who has served in different capacities and projects across 5 countries and different industries.

She has put in over 9 service years in FMCG, Consulting and Real Estate.

Chioma is also a sustainability advocate and a Green Champion. She has been actively involved in the ‘Going Green’ Initiative from the YALI Network since 2015.

She started her entrepreneurship journey with the launch of her women’s wear label, Redbutton in 2017 to explore her creative side.

Following this, Chioma has received a seat at the table of various local and international platforms; she is a ‘She Leads Africa’ (SLA) Accelerator beneficiary of 2017, a 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur and the winner, Creative Business Cup Nigeria 2019.

She will be representing Nigeria at the Global Creative Business Cup in Denmark this July. She’s also an alumnus and beneficiary of the Nigeria Creative Enterprise (NICE) program 2019 powered by the British Council.

She has a Bachelors in Project Management Technology and a PGD in Strategic Management & Leadership. Chioma loves to cycle and play scrabble at her leisure time.


There are several ways to stand out. Look around you, look inside of you, talk to people that have the capacity to help you discover new territories – @chiomaredbutton Click To Tweet

What led you to fashion at the beginning and what led to the switch to sustainable fashion

My mum owned a fashion house back in the 90s, that’s where and when I started to sew, sketch and play with fabrics.

I found that I was always stitching something (till date..lol), my mum’s tailors were tired of me because nothing they make for me stays the same. I loved to experiment and add my own touch here and there.

It was fun and engaging so I continued on this path up until I started working in the corporate space. I made my work clothes and sometimes, people wanted me to make clothes for them when they realized I made the dresses myself.

It was extracurricular until 2016 when I decided to start the business properly. I enrolled in Martwayne fashion school while I was still working, just to get a professional grasp of fashion designing and the business of fashion. Following that, I launched Redbutton in 2017.

Because I am a Green Champion, it was only natural for me to incorporate sustainability into my fashion brand. I started to research ways I can be green, while still maintaining fundamental design principles.

There are several ways I have built in ethical fashion principles in my processes, including using recyclable paper packaging, ensuring minimal waste, ethical production processes and fusing sustainable materials.

What are the possible career options here?

It’s quite evident that the Africa fashion space is experiencing the highest rave she has ever had, and doesn’t seem like it will decline anytime soon.

The demand and interest in the over $50bn industry have been incredibly progressive which also implies that there are tons of career opportunities, even in a sustainable fashion.

Some common ones are textile producers (in knitting, weaving, dyeing, etc). Even here in Nigeria, we are yet to scratch the surface in exploring our indigenous woven fabrics from different tribes.

We also have fashion designers, illustrators, machinists, thought leaders in ethical fashion (not very popular in Africa but there are) who are consultants, show curators, editors, etc.

Where do you see this line of business taking you?

Building a strong ethical fashion brand that promotes African craftsmanship and design innovation, and of course, a profitable fashion business that will birth several other ethical fashion advocates and workers is my overarching goal.

Our zest for color, patterns and the intricacy in our embroideries are phenomenal and it appears we are not exploring what we have enough.

This is what I want to project to Africa and the world by exploring eco-friendly materials and African art.

What are the challenges in the fashion business, and how do you manage them?

Production is slow and expensive. But I have realized through this journey that the process and result are far more important than the speed.

It’s also more expensive to run, because eco-friendly materials are not exactly cheap (more expensive than regular fabrics), meaning that your pieces will not be cheap.

But once you can properly project your value and find your target market, you will be just fine

You use water hyacinths for some of your products, why water hyacinths? What was the reception like at the UN?

It was just an experiment, to be honest, I didn’t expect that it will be this serious o..lol!

I was researching on sustainable fabrics, something different from our woven fabrics, I bumped into this social innovation enterprise who also up-cycles waste for furniture and home decor pieces.

I found that water hyacinths can be dried and woven into panels like our Aso-oke.

I said, ‘I never saw anyone try this out in fashion, is it even possible?”

The fact that it wasn’t popular in Africa drew me further into the research. I tested it and realized it could work but the dress will be dry clean only, no machine wash.

We are constantly exploring more eco-friendly materials we can fuse into our designs to create statement pieces.

Some of the water hyacinth pieces we fused with Adire were showcased at the 4th UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi and received resounding acclaim from assembly members and delegates.

We were published in the Kenyan dailies and featured on the UN Environment news updates. Between April and today, we have shipped over 50 pieces to the US and UK, following the contacts made from the UN event.

This is a testament to the fact that, even though our designs have the African aesthetic, they are also globally appealing.

Got any advice for younger fashion entrepreneurs?

Some say the industry is saturated, well maybe in some context. But also remember it is growing incredibly and the demand is looming.

There are several ways to stand out. Look around you, look inside of you, talk to people that have the capacity to help you discover new territories.

You can tweak your strategy, innovate, and position your brand for opportunities that are strategic to helping you grow. Not just for fashion entrepreneurs, the journey is HARD, trust yourself and trust the process.

Look for strategic collaborations, that’s one of the easiest ways to gain traction. – @chiomaredbutton Click To Tweet

I still have feelings of self-doubt, but I constantly remind myself how far I have come and how possible my dreams are.

Where can we see, follow and support your work?

You can follow our updates and see our pieces on our website, and our Instagram handle is @redbuttonng.

To follow my not-so-fun and unstructured personal stories, my Instagram handle is @chiomaredbutton.


Its time to Invest in the African Fashion Industry

“Africans need to put on the clothes made by their fellow citizens as a showcase of support and home pride”.

Africa has become a hub for designers unafraid to create fashion statements embellished in colors as bold as the continent’s sunsets and in prints as culturally rich as its people.

Their designs are cat-walking across runways both at home and around the world from New York to London to Tokyo.

Despite its budding international fame, the African fashion industry has long ways to walk before “made in Lagos” rings the same as “made in Paris.” For the meantime, the paucity of internal and external investment is a barrier frustrating attempts to move forward.

In recent times, African fashion has not just dipped its toes but fully plunged into the world’s fashion scene. Anisa Mpungew, a Tanzanian designer and creator of Loin Cloth & Ashes, says “Africa is not afraid of patterns and colors, that’s the one thing we do in our sleep, so we use it to be louder amongst our foreign friends.”

Indeed, African designers are making bold fashion statements through the complex patterns and colors they dare to work with.

African fashion tells a story — patches of identity are interwoven into the fabrics used and the designs created.

According to Bethlehem Alemu, owner of an Ethiopian shoe company soleRebels, “The global consumer today is hyper-aware. They want authentic and innovative ideas delivered from the authors of those ideas.”

These consumers want the designs to be creations of the African mind and hands and not replicas produced by Western clothing chains.

The fashion industry has the potential to create secured jobs for the African youths of today and tomorrow.

High profiled brands in the likes of J. Crew, Burberry, and Michael Kors oftentimes look to Africa for inspiration and ideas. Nevertheless, the masks, zebra stripes and leopard spots feed into Western stereotypes of Africa, not Africa’s authentic story.

With designers and clothes in high demand, the African fashion industry is ripe to reach its full potential. However, a lack of internal patronage stands in the way. Lexy Moyo-Eyes, the founder of Nigerian Fashion Week, acknowledges that “the fashion industry can become a big business in Africa … even more with government support.

For example, according to the African Development Bank, the Rwandan government established a “foundation to establish garment factories and boost the textile and fashion industries.”

As governments across the continent follow Rwanda’s steps and begin to esteem the fashion industry, they need to invest in the skills and qualifications of their people.

Fashion programs such as LISOF School of Fashion in South Africa and Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design in Ghana need to be in abundant supply, not scarce, across Africa.

Furthermore, governments across the African continent should set quotas on the import of second-hand clothing from the West.

The goal would be to stop relying on the West and boost local manufacturing and development instead. The East African Community (EAC), composed of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, has gone as far as to propose a ban by 2019.

For the meantime, African designers, seamstresses, tailors, and retailers are competing with Western clothes ranging from printed shirts to blouses to leather jackets to sport jerseys.

Sylvia Owori, a designer based in Uganda, says that “about 90 percent of the clothing people are buying in the whole country are second-hand clothes — so as a small fish, how are you going to start to compete with that?”

Sylvia Owori

These clothes have appeal because they are priced cheaply and allow Africans to emerge themselves in Western culture by dressing the part. A pair of jeans could be sold for as little as $1.50.

At first glance, bundles of our worn clothes might seem like benevolent gifts from the West, but they are actually hindering the progress of the African fashion industry and economy.

“The fashion industry can become a big business in Africa … even more with government support” – Lexy-Mojo Eyes

Andrew Brooks, professor of Geography at King’s College London, explains that “[Western] t-shirts may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the [country]” instead of circulating overseas. As the proverb goes, “charity begins at home.”

Not only will they be contributing to the success of homegrown designers but to their respective economy as a whole.

According to Ventures Africa, “If there is any time to invest in the African fashion industry, it is now.” Those who invest first will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of them all.

According to Euromonitor Internations, “the combined apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa [alone] is estimated to be worth US$ 31 billion.”

Deola Sagoe, a Nigerian designer in the industry for the past 25 years says that this is only a small fraction of what the fashion industry is capable of. It is time to turn this visionary potential into tangible prospects.

Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week, realizes that investing in Africa does not come without its risks; you only need to to read, watch or listen to the news to be reminded of that.

Omoyemi Akerele – Founder of Lagos Fashion & Design Week

But she urges people to take a leap of faith and look beyond the rhetoric of corruption and images of war. She emphasizes that “he who observes the wind and waits for all conditions to be favorable will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”

Beyond the glamour of clothes and runways, the fashion industry is a business that has the potential to play its part in efforts to create jobs, especially among young people. Compared to its counterparts, the African continent is home to the world’s youngest population.

According to the International Labor office, “youth make up as much as 36 percent of the total working-age population and three in five of Africa’s unemployed are youths.” Furthermore, UNICEF projects that by 2050, African children will make up close to 40 percent of children worldwide.

The fashion industry has the potential to create secured jobs for the African youths of today and tomorrow. NGOs and fashion organizations like the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, AFI’s Fastrack and Next Gen, and the LFDW Fashion Focus are already adding jobs across the continent.

Africa’s youthful population is more of an asset than it is a risk. Alemu says that the emerging African youths will bring “immense amount of energy and talent” to the fashion industry.

Africa has always been home to the creative hands and minds but it is just recently that the world began to knock at its door.

African fashion allows for the opportunity to make fashion statements that dispel stereotypes and myths about the continent.

It is a medium through which to spread African culture, from its authentic source to the rest of the world as well as create jobs for the upcoming youth back at home.

The industry needs both internal and external investment to reach its full potential. The time is now.

AMBER WILLIAMS: PEOPLE DON’T BUY PRODUCTS. THEY BUY STORIES

Amber Williams is the founder of Punkyflair, a brand story shop that serves beauty, fashion, and lifestyle startups. Building iconic statement-making brands is her jam, and she is committed to helping businesses grow authentically through a story. Through Punkyflair, Amber has positioned new businesses in the marketplace, molded magnetic personalities, crafted money-making narratives, and named global product collections for leading brands like Camille Rose, Heat Free Hair, Shea Radiance, and Marjani. Amber Williams connects young brands to the customers they want to reach through a story. She believes that story is the most critical business asset for one simple reason: it can’t be duplicated. It is the key to building a brand that will withstand the test of time and last forever. In this interview, she discusses how you can best understand your audience, communicate your vision, and sell with a story.  

Tell us how and why you started Punkyflair

  My early career was spent in corporate America where I used my formal training in psychology and integrated marketing to create and launch brand strategies for companies like Armani Exchange, Volkswagen, The United States Olympic Committee, and Feeding America. I was working within a world of limitless resources and possibilities in marketing. I had the freedom to be creative, spend however much was needed, and most importantly – test the water. After several years of implementing creative brand marketing campaigns, I realized that my signature approach to every strategy I created was rooted in a story. Every idea, every narrative, and every message I built told a story. Inadvertently, I used my knack for writing and understanding of human behavior to put words together that would sell clothing, jewelry, cars, and even promote funds for world-renowned athletes. Every idea, every narrative, and every message I built told a story - @punkyflair Click To Tweet I was a storyteller. At 29, I decided that I would package up my approach and all of my corporate learnings into a framework that would help startups launch and grow their businesses. I created Punkyflair to empower entrepreneurs with the tools, training and thinking necessary to understand their audience, communicate their vision, and sell with the story. Today, I have the good fortune of doing so for leading woman-owned brands like Camille Rose, Heat Free Hair, Marjani, BLK+GRN, and Shea Radiance.

What is brand storytelling and where does it fit in marketing strategy?

Simply put, brand storytelling is a method for connection. If you consider your favorite storybook or movie, there is most likely a character in it that resonates most with you. Maybe it’s because you see yourself in them. Perhaps it’s because that character represents who you want to be. All great stories make you look at yourself and consider how you connect to the tale being told. Brand storytelling is no different. A great brand story lets your customers know why you exist and how you fit into their lives. When done well, your brand provides the perfect reflection for who they already are but better.  Brand storytelling is the most effective, non-salesly way to build meaningful and profitable relationships with the customers you want to reach. A great brand story lets your customers know why you exist and how you fit into their lives.” - @punkyflair Click To Tweet

How can businesses effectively explore the core elements that make up their customer profile?

  All businesses should view their customers as the star characters in their brand story. Everything that your brand does–from operations to product innovation and marketing–should be built around your customer. It always amazes me how many entrepreneurs are willing to skip this essential first step. A strong customer profile is made up of three key elements: perspective, preference, and personality. Understanding your customer’s perspective is all about figuring out where your customer is coming from, the unique challenges they face, and what they really want from your brand. The next step is to discover what your customer prefers by digging deep to understand purchase motivators and where your brand solution fits into their lives. Finally, you’ll want to explore your customer’s personality traits. Doing so will help you tailor your messaging in a way that gets the people you want to reach to listen and buy from you. A strong customer profile is made up of 3 key elements: perspective, preference, and personality - @punkyflair Click To Tweet

As they discover their customers, how do businesses determine the best approach in talking to their audience?

  Now that you know more about your customers, you’ll want to speak to them in a language that they understand. The best approach is first to visualize precisely who this person is. Bringing the person you want to reach to life humanizes your communication. It brings back the reality that you, as the brand, are talking to a real person. When working to craft your narrative, ask yourself these four questions:
  • Why does my brand exist?
  • What problem do we solve for our customers?
  • What values or beliefs do we stand on as a business?
  • How do our products/services make our customers’ lives better?
The answers to these questions make up your core brand narrative, letting your customers know exactly why they should trust and buy from you. Plaster them everywhere (tactfully of course)!

As businesses increasingly incorporate storytelling in marketing strategy, how can “Motherland Moguls” craft a brand story that yields customer action?

The marketplace is getting extremely crowded! It’s never been harder to cut through the clutter than it is now. Customers are continuously bombarded with marketing messages and brands are spending a significant amount of money just to stay visible. In this landscape, the challenge lies in not only being seen, but in making money also. The best way that Motherland Moguls can yield a favorable action from their target customers is to keep a pulse on their customers’ wants and needs. Don’t get too caught up in the competition and what they’re doing. Always remember that people are buying from your brand for a reason. Serve them and then explore what else you can create to serve them again. Be authentic and tell the story only you can sell.

What’s your go-to advice to a business owner trying to instill more brand storytelling?

  My go-to advice is simple: take yourself out of it. Simple, right? The #1 thing you must do to grow your brand and instill more storytelling is to get yourself out of it. Sure, you are the founder and mastermind behind the business. It was your sweat equity and creativity that launched the brand. You identified a problem and created a solution. It’s your baby. I get it. However, if you want your baby to grow, you have to move out the way and tell a story in your marketing that centers around the customer, not yourself. Customers are drawn to brands that they can see themselves. Make your story a two-way dialogue, not a diatribe about your own journey. Spend some time understanding what matters to your people: what values they hold, what additional problems they face, what viewpoints they have on the world and your industry. Create stories from the deeper emotional layers that (above all else) truly connect customers to brands.   Customers are drawn to brands that they can see themselves. - @punkyflair Click To Tweet

What product and service offering do you have in the works to help rising entrepreneurs with brand storytelling?

  I recently released Customer Kamikaze. my 3-part customer discovery framework. It’s the exact same framework I’ve used to help my startup clients scale their businesses (some into the millions) by understanding their customers and building their brand stories around them. People love it because it’s self-paced and fun! The exercises are intuitive, simple and impactful. Also, the result, once the framework is applied, is far higher than the minimal cost of the product. I wanted to create something super affordable, even for early-stage entrepreneurs, but something that would have a tremendous impact and set the tone for a brand story that sells.

What are you most excited about at the moment, and what are you working on next?

  I’m most excited about my next chapter! I want to move in a direction that allows me to help multiple entrepreneurs at once. This fall, I’ll be speaking more and even playing around with group coaching and live workshops. Brand story is a concept that I absolutely love teaching and one that I love to see entrepreneurs benefit. Amber Williams is offering a free audio training on building lasting brands. Contact her here.
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Philomena Kwao: When I started, I was different from anything that existed in mainstream fashion

Philomena Kwao is a plus-sized British-Ghanaian model who has many philanthropic interests.

Her meteoric rise came from working on multiple major campaigns for Torrid, MAC Cosmetics, Lane Bryant, Evans UK, Nordstrom and she has been highlighted on Huff Post UK, Guest blogger Metro UK, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Essence Magazine, among others.

This British-Ghanaian beauty is the perfect canvas and model for the fashion industry! Her regal unapologetic natural beauty is one to behold.

Philomena is also the Global Ambassador for Women For Women International Charity. She preaches the need for open dialogue and real inclusivity in the movement towards equal rights for women.

SLA interviewed Philomena during her recent visit to Nigeria to celebrate with the women who are graduating this year’s program and have achieved access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency.


 To pursue modeling, be yourself! - @PhilomenaKwao Click To Tweet

You bagged a degree in Economics, and a Masters’ degree in International Health Management, how did you make the career switch to fashion and style?

My original career choice was very different and my journey into modeling began by chance as I had planned out a career in health management and policy after completing my masters degree.

A friend of mine entered my details online into a modeling competition in which Evans and Cosmopolitan in conjunction with Models1 were looking for a new plus-size model to front their shape campaign and to also become the Face of Style 369.

I eventually won the competition and hence my career began.

I was going to take a career break anyway after my masters as I had continued through school and work with no break. 

So when the opportunity came for me to move to NYC a new adventure made perfect sense. I could make money and travel which were two of the things I wanted to do most at the time. It was a huge blessing.

I originally set out to try modeling out for a year. One year turned into seven and here I am today. It’s been an incredible journey so far. I am now signed to JAG Models and I am living and working in NYC.

Tell us about how you got your modeling debut

When I first got to NYC I didn’t work at all. It was hard! My look was new. I was everything you weren’t supposed to be rolled into one. Dark skin, plus and a shaved head. What would brands do with me?

It took a while for me to find my place in the industry but when a few brands like Lane Bryant, Landsend and Torrid took the plunge to try something new and widen the definition of beautiful my career really took off. 

My beauty is common in Africa but in the West its what defines me and sets me apart - @PhilomenaKwao Click To Tweet

As an African plus-sized model, what was your biggest challenge breaking into the fashion industry, and how did you overcome them?  

For so long, in the West, the standard of African Beauty was (and arguably is) very very narrow.

Extremely tall, extremely thin and extremely dark. Most of the African models hailed from East Africa and the west fetishized their beauty as exotic and a true representation of The African woman. There are many problems with this.

Africa is a vast continent with hundreds of thousands of ethnicities each with their own beauty. To homogenize the African woman is limiting and dangerous. 

My beauty is common in Africa but in the West its what defines me and sets me apart. When I first started I was different from anything that existed in mainstream fashion. I had a shaved head, my features are more commercial and I am a plus sized woman. It was very hard for people to get their head around it. 

Typically plus-size models are white and hourglass, and when they are black they are of a fair complexion with an acceptable hair texture. If they were slightly darker they had a long weave. The typical American girl next door look. 

African models were typically slim tall and dark. And yet here I was a mixture of everything; too ‘exotic’ for commercial modeling, too big for mainstream high fashion modeling. 

My biggest challenge was getting people to understand that black beauty exists in an infinite number of forms. This wasn’t easy, a big push for my career was definitely when Lupita was recognized as a world-class beauty because then I became the plus size Lupita. 

My biggest challenge in the industry was getting people to understand that black beauty exists in an infinite number of forms - @PhilomenaKwao Click To Tweet

What prompted you to get involved in the movement towards equal rights for women around the world?

As a woman, it’s hard to exist and live in this world without being affected by what’s happening to women around you. I was born in London, in the UK to a mother who immigrated from Ghana.

I will never forget my first visit back home to Ghana. The disparity between my cousins and I simply because of where we were born was staggering. Even at such a young age it just felt so unfair and I was determined to make a change in any way possible. 

How did you become a Global Ambassador for Women For Women International Charity?

Modeling is fun. It’s been an incredible blessing in my life, and I’m so grateful for every opportunity that I’ve been given but it isn’t enough. It isn’t enough for me.

I’m still very much interested in my first love and passion, the advancement of women around the world. Whether through health, economic empowerment or social empowerment, women around the world need advancement.

For too long we have been globally oppressed. The time for change is now and everyone can create change, firstly within themselves and then in their wider community. Social media has become such a powerful tool for this. 

One of the many blessings that my modeling career has given me is a platform and when I heard about the work women for women were doing I felt compelled to support. 

Women for women empower the women they work with by teaching them how to make a change within themselves and in their community 

The year-long social and economic empowerment program provides marginalized women with the opportunity, often for the first time in their lives, to come together in classes of 25 women to build support networks, to share experiences, to learn critical skills, and to access new resources.

.@womenforwomen empower the women they work with by teaching them how to make a change within themselves and in their community - @PhilomenaKwao Click To Tweet

Women for Women International supports the most marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war. Their programs enable them to earn and save money, improve health and well-being, influence decisions in their home and community and connect to networks for support.

By utilizing skills, knowledge, and resources, women are able to create sustainable change for themselves, their family, and community. This is something I truly believe in. 

From your experience, what does it take to build a career in the fashion and entertainment industry?

Patience and resilience. Patience and resilience. I’ve said it Twice because I can’t stress how important these two things are.

I have an academic background and in that setting, one plus one plus equals two. The same can’t be said for the fashion and entertainment industry. A huge amount of luck is involved. Right time, right place. This can often leave hopefuls feeling very frustrated.

I often feel frustrated myself. But it’s something that has become easier over time. The best advice is to stay ready, so when your opportunity comes you’re ready to take it. Unfortunately, you just don’t know when opportunity will come knocking. And that’s where patience comes in.

Most things are entirely out of your control and you can’t always judge how people will receive you. That’s the resilience, for every yes there will be a thousand nos. You just have to keep going. 

What four skills have you found yourself using/learning frequently?

Leading on from the earlier question my four frequently used skills are:

  • Patience
  • Resilience
  • Communication
  • Adaptability

 You just don’t know when opportunity will come knocking. That’s where patience comes in - @PhilomenaKwao Click To Tweet

What’s your ONE advice for curvy girls who would like to model but do not have the confidence?

I’ll start with confidence, we all have down days, and honestly that ok. But it’s not ok to not be your own best friend and cheerleader. Whenever anyone says their feeling down about their looks I always remind them of the beauty in individuality.

There is no one on the planet that looks like you or has your unique features so you just celebrate them and not put it down. I’m a big advocate of the extraordinary and I believe everyone is inspiring because we are all different.

Confidence comes from understanding that you only have this one body and one life so make the most of it! You can’t compare yourself to anyone! Not anyone in fashion or on TV because most of what you see isn’t real. 

And to pursue modeling, be yourself!

Always stay true to you no matter how hard it gets! And don’t let criticism get to you because what works for one may not work for another. Be lucky to find a great Agent that believes in you. I was very lucky due to the competition I entered.

All reputable Agencies do have open calls where you can have an informal chat about modeling and the possibility of becoming one. 

Also, don’t take things personally. It all depends what the Agency is looking for and what suits all markets around the globe. Edgy editorial clients may get you instantly but the commercial ones may take longer to get that look if at all.

This industry is super competitive and you need a thick skin and determination and professionalism to make it.

For representation I would stick to Agencies that have great reputations, do your research, take a look who else is represented by them, go and meet them, it is all about feeling comfortable and trusting your agent. You will develop a very close relationship, and trust and communication are key.

What’s your morning ritual?

I’m trying to find one. Morning rituals are so important they center your day and help organize your thoughts.

I used to have one which included completing my five-minute journal, drinking water and meditating. However, the more I travel the harder it gets. 

For all our melanin Motherland Moguls, how do you keep your skin glowing?

I owe a huge part of my skin to genetics. You think my skin is glowing? You should see the rest of my family.  Genetics plays such a massive part in the health of your skin but there are definitely things that can help.

Inside out is my mantra. Eat well, make sure you eat your greens and veggies and try and eat as wholesomely as possible. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, hydrated skin is a good skin. And lastly, find what works for you and stick to it. 

For me, I love products from the body shop as well as my natural staples of Shea butter, black soap, and baobab oil. Keep your eyes peeled for something special. 


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Chioma Ezekwesili highlights the Essentials to Building and Growing Your Blog

“The main essential for starting a blog is to first have a passion for something”. – Chioma Ezekwesili

Blogging is a great platform to express yourself, build a brand, and even make a source of income. Due to the diverse benefits of blogging, there is an influx of blogs and bloggers.

This can make the process of building and growing your blog daunting. You might question whether it is worth it and how do you go about building this presence online?

In this interview with fashion and lifestyle blogger Chioma Ezekwesili, she provides inspiration for prospective and current bloggers on her experience of starting and building her blog and brand.


 When and why did you decide to start your fashion and lifestyle blog and what were the essentials to beginning it?

 

The main essential for starting a blog is to first have a passion for something. It could be cooking, fashion,  gossip, politics, and other topics. You don’t have to be an English guru but you should always endeavor to read something new about your passion.

This is significant because you can then provide your readers with new insights into your niche. In addition, you will be able to come up with new and diverse ways to relate to your readers.

Secondly, you should draft a consistent timetable. It’s hard at the beginning but once you start, keep at it. Every day, have a topic you can write on. What will help you is approaching each day with an open mind? Also, make sure the photos, write up or videos are original because it allows your readers to connect with your originality.

As for myself, I started my fashion and lifestyle blog in 2015 but I couldn’t keep up with it. This was because I started the previous blog with the sole purpose of making money. The blog was just alive for about three months and that was it.

Then, I officially started www.yhitschioma.com in July 2016. This blog is out of my love for fashion. I also felt the need to express my opinion on lifestyle tips. I try to make my posts inspirational. I merge fashion styles to relatable inspirational quotes. I want to let people know that fashion is more than wearing designer clothes. Fashion is also a way of passing a positive message to the people around you.

I grew my 7k followers on Instagram by posting my Sunday bests every Sunday and tagged it #fashionforchurch - @Yh_ItsChioma Click To Tweet

What is the best platform for intending media influencers to be on and why?

Instagram and Twitter are the best platforms, dependent on the type of influencer you are. Instagram is mainly for fashion, lifestyle, and style. It’s best for visual appeal through photos and videos. Then, Twitter is good for sports lovers, especially soccer.

The discussions on Twitter around the leagues is something that anybody building his/her brand around soccer needs to be on. Twitter is also a good platform for having discussions about politics, sports, music, health tips and more.

I advise that you be linked on both platforms. That way, whatever you post on one can reflect on the other. However, more attention should be placed on the social media platform primarily for your type of brand.

Social media metrics are ever changing and for those looking to make an impact online, the competition is increasing. Is it possible to grow one’s social media organically?

 

Yes, you can grow organic followers and I am a testimony to it. I grew my 7k followers on Instagram by posting my Sunday bests every Sunday and tagged it #fashionforchurch. Every Sunday, people were looking forward to what I wore to church. Once you find out what your followers like, stick to it and be consistent.

Do not buy followers because interactions on your post will not match your followership. That matters because people and brand will immediately see through that.

The first year might not be easy but keep posting. Also, make sure you use hashtags because they work like magic.

What is your process of growing your brand presence?

 

Building your brand starts with a conscious effort to actually build the brand.

  • Find the social media platform that suits what you are trying to build
  • Try to make your followership on any social media platform that you are on organic. If you are on Instagram, never miss relevant hashtags like #MCM #MondayMotivation #WCW #TBT #FBF or things like that.

You can even come up with your own personal hashtag that people can follow through your post. For me, it’s #LifeOfAStartingEntrepreneur and #yhitschioma.

If Twitter is your platform, be sure to check the trending hashtags and draft your tweets around it.

  • Finally, you have to be consistent your post on social media. Be sure to have your contact details available for people to reach you. Reply and like comments so that there is a discussion around your post.

How can one stand out and be unique online?

You stand out by being real. Don’t try to be in competition with anyone. Rather, you should strive to be a better version of yourself.

Keep doing what you love and don’t copy others. Be original with your posts.

What steps should an aspiring media influencer take to attract opportunities to work with organizations, brands, and collaborations?

 

Keep your profile open not private. Make sure you give credit to other brands you are wearing or using on your page. Then, you get other brands to notice that you are promoting other brands. They will then want to work with you.

For blog collaborations, if you never reach out to people, you might not have anyone reach out to you. Last year, I sent about 5-6 messages to other bloggers like myself for collaboration.

However, I got turned down by about 4 and I didn’t mind. I did a collaboration with the bloggers that wanted to. The result is that other bloggers saw it and then reached out to me for collaboration. That’s why you have to make sure you put yourself out there.

Then, you have to keep doing what you have been doing using hashtags to get noticed. In time, the right brands will find you.

You can also send DMs to them by telling them you will like to work with them. Give them an offer they can’t resist. An offer that will help both parties build their brand.

You stand out by being real. Don’t try to be in competition with anyone - @Yh_ItsChioma Click To Tweet

How does one stay motivated to be able to produce and create?

 

The main way to stay motivated is to remember why you started your blog. Remember the vision you had for your brand and hold on to it. Sometimes, it might not pay off immediately but with consistency and determination, it will supersede your expectation.

Lastly, reach out to longtime brands and know how they were able to stay motivated. Do not beat yourself up, especially when you see other influencers “doing” better.

Take that as a push and initiative to work harder. Always celebrate the big and small victories you might have because that will motivate you to keep at it.


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