Lingerie, going viral and Beyoncé: 10 tips for building a global brand

The first #SheHive London event took place this August, with inspiring talks from some of the most interesting speakers in the city. One of them was Ade Hassan, founder of Nubian Skin.

From starting her career in banking to running one of the most popular new lingerie brands for women of colour, Ade’s journey is just beginning. At #SheHiveLondon, she talked about making the shift from corporate life to entrepreneurship, going viral and having her products worn on Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour. Not bad for a brand that’s only a few years old, huh?

1. Even if you’re not in your dream job, there’s still so much you can learn…

Ade started her career in banking and management consultancy. While she enjoyed it at the beginning, her mind was always filled with new business ideas. As she started to pursue her Nubian Skin dream, it got more and more difficult to concentrate at work but she soldiered on.

Looking back, starting her career in the corporate world taught her lessons that remain relevant as a founder: professionalism and the ability to work hard no matter what.

When you’re building a global brand, challenges and mistakes are part of the territory; so being able to keep your cool, avoid burning bridges and perseverance pay off.

2. But eventually you have to put your money where your mouth is

Making the move from employee to entrepreneur isn’t an easy one and for a long time, Ade bounced between the ‘should I’ and ‘shouldn’t I’ question: can I really exchange the comfort of a safe corporate job for the stormy waters running my own business?

It wasn’t an easy question to answer, until a friend reminded her that putting your dreams on hold only leads to regret. And that’s what helped her leap into the unknown and pursue the Nubian Skin vision. So far, it seems to be paying off.

No risk, no reward

ade hassan nubian skin shehive london
The bosslady herself, Ade Hassan

3. Invest in yourself

Although Ade was a fashion-enthusiast, she had no formal work experience or education in the industry. In order to fill that knowledge gap, she made what she describes as one of the best investments so far: hiring a lingerie consultant.

The consultant gave her a crash course in the industry, complete with best practices and things to avoid along the way. She also advised her to attend a trade show which would gave her exposure to potential buyers and stockists.

But remember; always be smart and protect your brand through confidentiality agreements. Imitation might be the best form of flattery but it’s also the best way to kill your business before it ever gets off the ground.

4. Never compromise on your vision

When Ade started, creating lingerie for women of colour wasn’t exactly the most tried and tested thing in the world. There’s was no rulebook on which shades worked best, so Ade had to get creative.

She took trips to beauty counters to understand which brown hues were the most popular, and spent hours improving samples from manufacturers by staining them with teabags to get the shade just right.

She didn’t take the first outcome as the final one. She tried again and again until the final product met her standards.

5. Get social

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you have probably heard about the ‘power of social media’. But what does that really mean? After Ade finished her very first photoshoot, she posted one of the pictures on Twitter and went on holiday (#jetlife).

Within a few days her phone was blowing up, the picture had gone viral and the Nubian Skin fanclub began. When asked whether her social media strategy has changed since then, Ade said not so much, the strategy remains the same: produce high-quality, exciting and relatable content.

When you do this the support comes rolling in and in the case of Nubian Skin, it caught the attention of Queen Bey. Yes, you read right, BEYONCÉ. Nubian Skin was worn on the Formation World Tour.

THAT’S the power of social media right there.

Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at Marlins Park on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

6. Playing in the big leagues ain’t easy

Not only did Nubian Skin go viral with customers, but it has also ended up on the radar of major retailers like ASOS and Nordstrom. It’s easy to get excited by those household names and think it’s all fun and games… but it ain’t.

Whether you’re a startup business or not, large retailers have strict rules on how much you can produce but the money isn’t always immediate.

This can be tough on startups who don’t have loads of cash to make large stock; so you have to think creatively about what you can offer and negotiate where possible.

7. Make sure all bases are covered, and get help where it really matters

Speaking of money, the mula, those dollars, all businesses need to keep themselves cash flow positive (i.e. have spare cash for major purchases and emergencies).

Ade knew that she couldn’t do it all, so she hired a friend as her CFO, someone to sort out her accounts and help her avoid bankruptcy. Admitting that you don’t know it all isn’t always easy, but it is the first step to success: once you’ve identified your strengths and your weaknesses you can take steps to make sure that you’ve got it covered.

8. Don’t underestimate yourself

While investing in the essentials is important, doing as much as you can by yourself will also help you save those precious coins. By moving distribution and packing in-house (i.e. doing it within the company, instead of hiring another company to do it), Ade was able to save, save, save.

We tend to underestimate how much we can do, but if we challenge ourselves a bit and take responsibility we’d be surprised by just how much we can achieve.

Also, think about what other sources there may be that can help you out. For example in the UK, organisations like UKFT (UK Fashion & Textiles Association) and UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) provide all sorts of advice and financial support.

While its not always the same on the continent, there are so many accelerators around to help all you #MotherlandMoguls on the continent.


9. Make sure you have the right support system around you

The entrepreneur road is an exciting, but Lord knows it can be rough,  even for the strongest of us.

Ade’s circle of family and friends helped her to stay the course during the most challenging times. Having positive, honest and encouraging voices that talk sense into you will help you to keep perspective.

10. Keep the copycats away by sticking to your guns

As we said, imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it can also kill a startup. When the large retailers saw the waves that Nubian Skin was making, they rushed to release their own ‘mocha’-toned lingerie products.

And yes, they have bigger teams and more money, but what Ade has found is that establishing a strong ethos and sense of identity in your brand is what will help you beat the competition, no matter how big they are.

Being a black-owned business helps too, and Nubian Skin has gained strong support from the black community worldwide.

5 lessons I learnt about navigating the entrepreneurial roadmap with Nieros Oyegun

At SheHive London, Nieros Oyegun, principal and head of Corporate and Financial Advisory at W8 ADVISORY gave an insightful talk about navigating the entrepreneurial roadmap. Here are five things I learned that I’m sure will be useful to you too.

1. It starts with an idea

For any entrepreneur out there, the first step they took towards starting their business is coming up with an idea. This may seem like the most basic step but thinking about a product that is marketable is key to overcoming the hurdles that will come in the future when it comes to financing and growth.

So to start off, you need to figure out what you are going to be selling, how you will be selling it and who your target market will constitute of.

2. Understand the environment

It is important to understand the environment you will be doing business in. Ask yourself, whose market share are you taking up with your startup and what are the opportunity costs.

You need to pick out your competitors and understand their habits, they are factors that could contribute to determining your growth rate and customer base.

3. Approach investors

Cold-calling investors is not the way to go. Try and build your contacts and get someone to introduce you to potential investors. When pitching to investors, keep your pitch skeletal and to the point. Try and demonstrate why you think your product is marketable and how it can make your way to profitability. In essence try and think like an investor and understand the risk-investor matrix of your business.

Also, make sure that when you leave investor meetings, you clearly understand expectations from both sides and where you stand. This is because there is always the risk of buyer’s remorse with the investor, they may decide not to go ahead with funding the business. So do not relax until the money is in your account!

4. Find a partner

A one person startup usually hinders investment opportunities. This is because it is difficult for one person to take on all the roles in a company.

Therefore investors are more skeptical of putting resources into such a business. Finding the right partner and their potential long term contribution to your business can aid you in getting investors.

5. Consider self-funding

When it comes to funding your business, look into self-funding through your savings, applying for grants and accelerator programs first. If you bring in a partner, you should be cautious of how much equity in your business they control. It is sometimes the case with start-up businesses that at the early stages, the partner is active in helping set up but once the business is up and running, their role is limited so having a huge percentage of equity is disadvantageous to you. Institutional investors are the later options to look into for funding.

A day at SheHive – More than just entrepreneurship

shehive london

10.15 am: I’m back at Facebook HQ for another packed day of activities and more #blackgirlpower. Today’s session started with a fun task as well, Afua gave us a briefing and asked us to come up with a 30 seconds ad for SheHive and She Leads Africa. It could be acted out, spoken word format or even a song….this called for a rap battle 2.0!

10.35 am: Well, this task proved how resourceful and creative we can be because in 5 minutes, the Motherland Moguls came up with so many ways to show how SheHive was the bomb dotcom!

11.00am: The first session of the day started with Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao, the founder of Malee, a natural cosmetic brand out of Joburg (our last stop for SheHive this year) a brand on its way to global dominance.

She told us about the Malee journey from inception to dream come true! Whilst also sharing 30 things she learnt from building her brand. One lesson I picked up from her talk is, to believe in yourself and your dream.

shehive london zeze oriakhi-sao11.55 am: SLA contributor Abiola and I seized the opportunity to do a short interview with Zeze talking about her support system and what the future holds for Malee.

12.05pm: The social media guru Imad Mesduoa’s talk on ‘how to build your professional profile’ was underway and I was beyond psyched to be a part of the audience!

I have been following Imad since the legendary elections in Nigeria last year…and over time have come to accept him as a #NaijaBoy at heart, that’s for sure. His Naija lingo during his talk proved that!

After Imad’s talk, it was lunch time so people mingled and networked as usual. I had the pleasure of sitting with a couple of girls from across Africa and could actually feel the true pan-Africanism vibe.

The topic of Zimbabwe came up and of course, Mugabe. A Zimbabwean lady was gave us insights into the economic climate in the country at the moment. We also discussed ideas of what the main issues are in Africa and how we can bring about changes. Who says SheHive is just about entrepreneurship!

2.00pm: Lunch over, I grabbed Imad for a quick interview where he discussed getting out of your comfort zone early on. Doing this demonstrates to future employers that you are capable of taking up new challenges and it improves and adds to your skills bank.

2.10pm: If you’ve heard of IrokoTV, then this may be partly because of Jessica, the PR mastermind and founder of Wimbart. She spoke to us about what it means to master the PR game and how timing is really strategic to your business.

Try and familiarize yourself with key calendar dates relevant to your brand industry and get ahead of the news cycle to get your brand in the media sphere.

3.30pm: Well I did promise more of Queen Bey, and aside from Jessica slaying her presentation with some epic Queen Bey elements, Ade Hassan gave us a different Bey love. So, the founder of the revolutionary nude lingerie company has clients like Jdunn and Beyonce and us darker-skinned ladies have nothing but love and thanks for this entrepreneur.

Ade also walked us through the journey that led her to start Nubian Skin, her lingerie and hosiery brand. Key thing I picked up from her story is, the right people in your support network are important because they are the ones who give you the needed push that could end up actualizing your dreams.

She also mentioned how extremely important it is to draft a confidentiality agreement when talking to consultants about your brand at the early stages. Your idea could be a goldmine!

4:30pm: I managed to interview Jessica and Ade about their businesses, also got them to give relevant advice to startups. So Motherland Moguls, don’t forget to check us out on YouTube for some awesome tips coming soon!

At this point ShopTheHive had officially begun. This initiative was set up to have MMs sell their products and network with potential partners and investors. Double win!! They got a chance to go on stage to tell us a bit about their business, free publicity for the win…Triple win!

shopthehive shehive london5.00pm: I noticed a journalist crew doing their thing and as a Journalism minor I took advantage of the opportunity and got insights into how they operate. I also got some key advice from Victoire Eyoum, whom I later found out is the Editor-in-Chief of Voxafrica, a pan-African TV station.

5.45pm: After some last minute contact sharing and taking lots of pictures —was nice to be in front of the camera for a change— I headed back to Euston for my train journey home feeling all kinds of inspired and motivated.

Definitely worth my time and waking up super early in the mornings!



A day at SheHive – #MotherlandMoguls are slaying

7:15am: I am not a morning person…This kept ringing in my head as I headed towards the station. It’s the first day of SheHive London and I was determined to arrive at Facebook on time.

8:43 am: After a quick brekkie at Itsu, I took out Google Maps feeling all savvy that I could find my way through the busy Euston area…WRONG! I cycled the area about 3 times before giving up and going old school.

9:05am: A 6min walk turned to 20 but here I was in this giant space. All I kept saying in my head whilst tryingto act cool was, “OHMYGOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M AT FACEBOOK…calm down Rabi, calm down!”

I signed in using an iPad (very techy) and was asked to sit in the lobby. 10 minutes in, I realized I was the first one there!

People started arriving afterwards and I got to meet a food blogger, a PhD student studying Business Incubation, a chemical engineer and an intern at IBM. This was all in the space of half an hour. Networking toh bahd!

10:30am: We were all signed in and taken upstairs to the space for SheHive London! The session started off with a rap battle. The challenge was to come up with an epic rhyme about what #MotherlandMogul represents.

Team names included United Melanin, The Original Motherland Ballers and Amazon. Words to describe #MotherlandMoguls were; slaying, boss lady, beacon of hope. I couldn’t agree more #blackgirlpower

11:15 am: By now, the first session is underway and BBC Africa is live streaming the event on Facebook —better smile for the camera, 2 million people may be watching! First up was, ‘Building winning partnerships’ with Afua Osei!

Afua split the participants into groups and got the teams to perform live case studies about creating a bath and body products business. So brand name, targets, potential partnerships and investments —you know the 101s— were covered.

The participants then pitched their business to Afua and she gave them feedback straight away. More on Afua’s talk later on SLA so stay tuned!

afua&yasmin shehive londonI managed to catch a quick shot of the co-founders of She Leads Africa or as I nicknamed them the ‘Pikachu and Charizard’ of SLA. Get it? #Pokemongo #Okbye

Next up was Nieros Oyegun, co-founder of W8 Advisory who spoke about navigating the entrepreneurial roadmap! She gave us the five step approach to kick starting your business —in other words the do’s and dont’s.

12:45pm: LUNCH! Well turns out my quick brekkie at Itsu and walking it off lead to tummy grumbles. Okay, maybe that’s TMI.

Facebook laid out a yummy spread for us. Hold on, I didn’t mention how amazing the space we were using was right? Well for starters, Facebook has redefined what snack time means. There were racks of various snacks and drinks from healthy to choco-mania. So lunch was no different!

We had an hour for lunch and networking. For me this meant finding out what people had to say about their experience so far. Check SLA Insta for all of that action…you’re already our Insta bestie right?

I met more cool #MotherlandMoguls with brilliant ideas and it felt very reassuring to see what talent the continent has. I also had the chance to chat with our speakers and even found out one of them shares a mutual love for Korean food!

2pm: We got introduced to “Chale” of Move Me Back. He shared with us some tips about the right attitude to moving to Africa, the possibilities and the challenges. He fittingly used images and gifs to illustrate his presentation —this became a theme of the event as well with the other speakers.

chale_move_me_backWe also got to hear from one of the users of Move Me Back about her experience working in Africa.

3.45 pm: Yvonne Haizel, a lead African investment strategist gave us pointers on how to get investors by teaching us the 4 M’s to get your business through the door. She invited the women behind Bahati Books to demonstrate to us how to pitch your business to an investor using the 4 M’s.

She then gave an opportunity to 2 participants to pitch their business to the room. This was similar to Afua’s live case study at the morning session.

5.00 pm: The sessions came to an end but not before Afua initiated a speed networking session —yeah, it is kinda like speed dating!

You get 5 minutes to chat with someone and after you hear the sound of a bell you switch to the next person! Talk about a #MotherlandMogul crash course.

And this was just one day. There’s more because Sunday was just as epic! Hint: there’s more Queen Bey news, JDunn and IrokoTV.

Make yourself stand out: How to build your public profile with Imad Mesdoua

Big news, our first #SheHiveLondon event took place over the weekend. As with all our #SheHive sessions across the world, we were joined by inspiring speakers who are making waves in their industry. One of those speakers was Imad Mesdoua, a political risk analyst, senior manager at Africa Matters, TEDx speaker and the list goes on.

He’s spoken on major channels like the BBC and rubbed shoulders with some of Africa’s most influential policy makers. Safe to say, he’s mastered the art of building his profile and becoming a known name in politics. If you missed Imad’s session in the flesh, we’ve summarised his top tips on how to make your public profile stand out like his. You’re welcome.

1. Twitter and LinkedIn are your friends

Social media is one of the most powerful tools of recent generations. The question is, are you using them well? For Imad, engaging in social media opened up opportunities to speak to politicians, journalists and other influencers who may have been difficult to contact in the past. It even landed him a mentor -all he did was reach out and express his desire to make an impact in his field.

Imad reminded us to never underestimate the power of Twitter. Instead, follow the movers and shakers in your industry and share your opinions on trending topics. Embrace popular hashtags, be fun and relevant but remember to keep it professional.

Stay away from Kanye-style rants and you’ll be fine. Remember, at the end of the day it is all about trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for making those all-important professional connections. It gives you the chance to showcase your education, your work achievements and your interests all on one page. It’s the perfect way to make a strong first impression online, so make sure it’s up to date and includes enough detail to keep people interested.

Imad Mesdoua Yemi Osinbanjo
Imad with Nigeria’s Vice President Osinbanjo

2. Be a social butterfly and become a familiar face at events

This one isn’t just for the extroverts of the world. Even if you’re a little more introverted, heading to events specific to your sector or industry can do wonders for your public profile.

Getting out there to events like #SheHive and others is the best way to learn from industry leaders, gain knowledge and establish lasting relationships. If you go to enough events, you’ll start to see familiar faces and become known as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

For every person you meet, think of how you’ll describe yourself in 20 seconds and how you can add value to your new found contact’s life. We know, we know, networking can be scary, so here’s how you can make the most of it.

3. Be a student of life and escape the comfort zone

Never rest on your laurels. One thing Imad noticed is that sometimes we establish our skills and talents and then get too comfortable. We stop learning and adding to our experiences, which can be a disadvantage in the competitive world of business.

One way to overcome this is to dive out of your comfort zone. For Imad, this meant getting a job outside of the Africa-focused political industry. While doing something different might feel strange, it makes us ready to take on new challenges.

Let’s admit it, looking for a new opportunities is never easy and sometimes you have to think out of the box. While looking for his ideal job, Imad himself got creative and took on speech writing and consulting roles which helped him meet his long-term career goals.

Naomi Campbell Never Rest on Your Laurels
Mama Naomi said it best

4. The one thing you can’t forget…

You can be a social media pro who is at every event and who always builds on her skills, but without this one thing it all falls apart. That one thing is professionalism.

Professionalism ties all your efforts together. Professionalism means being consistent and going the extra mile to hone your craft and personal brand. In Imad’s case, that meant ‘overdress, overspeak and oversabi’. Remember to have fun with it though, find what drives you, pursue it and be open to making changes along the way.

While #SheHiveLondon might be over, don’t worry, the world tour continues. Lagos and Jo’burg, we’re coming for you!

Who you’ll meet at SheHive London – Charles Sekwalor

Charles Sekwalor she leads africa

Charles Sekwalor is the founder of Movemeback, a members-only community that connects professionals with career and business opportunities in Africa. He’ll also be speaking at SheHive London this year. We spoke to Charles about moving back —what to expect, what to pack and how to deal with (reverse) culture shock.

What do you think is driving the increase in diaspora moving back to Africa?

I think that there are 4 factors here but it is a trend that has developed over time.

  • Opportunity: In the last couple of years there has been a narrative about Africa rising. This is essentially a period of opportunity where people have become increasingly optimistic about Africa and the role its starting to play economically in the world.
  • Challenges: There’s been a slowdown in the global economy and so we’ve seen multinationals making more and more of a play for Africa, the local expansion of markets, increasing press coverage and universities focusing on recruitment from Africa.
  • Cultural changes: This new generation or millennials think slightly differently as to how they go about their careers. They are thinking 2-3 years at a time as opposed to long term careers like the generation before them. These people are far more open to try new things and experience work in different regions.
  • Macro factor: Globalisation is also a big factor as we no longer live in countries with borders. Markets have become more accessible and so people have become more open to moving to other African countries different from their home country.

What are the Top 5 things you need to pack with you when you’re moving back to Africa?

  • Your personal escape – whether its music, a good book, hobby
  • Your address book (or MMB login) – everything you do on the continent will most likely rely on the connections you have or will make in the future.
  • Foreign currency – for emergencies
  • Mobile phone – the minute you land, everything will be done with your phone. Make sure you already have plans to get a local sim.
  • Guilty pleasures – luxuries that are difficult to come by in Africa such as special sweets or food.

Big company vs startup? What is your opinion on the type of company to join when moving back to Africa?

There’s no right answer here and there doesn’t have to be a single answer. It’s very much a personal decision and journey that everyone needs to go on depending on what they’re looking for. It can also be a transition from big company to your own startup.

There are 5 questions everyone should ask themselves:

  • What is this company aiming to do?
  • What is my role and my ability to influence change in the broader sense?
  • How does the cultural fit of the organization align with me?
  • How much support and structure am I looking for at this stage? If you’re already moving back and it’s a new experience a start up environment can provide a little too much ambiguity and lack of structure. Then again, it depends on the individual
  • What are my financial needs? How much financial stability do I need going forward? In theory, a corporate job should be offering a little more financial stability.

What can people expect from their benefits package when they move to Africa?

This varies massively by region, sector and level but there are 5 things to consider:

  • Experience many people will take an absolute pay cut to maintain their quality of life.
  • You should expect something that is locally competitive but will not seem so when compared internationally to cities like London and New York. This is for obvious reasons such as the cost of living being higher there.
  • Expect to be paid in local currency and at the very least in the mid-term.
  • Expect employers to be open to negotiating a small amount for your initial transition/move – e.g. initial plane ticket
  • Finally, there is an opportunity for some potential perks such as housing allowance, drivers and health insurance packages.

It’s also important to find out upfront if there are decent compensation options available however no one should expect significant increases in salary.

What is a good way to face the cultural shock?

The clue is in the name, ultimately it’s a shock – like a pothole in the road you can’t magic it away… Your objective is to dampen that sock in any shape or form. In engineering we do that through increasing the time over which a force acts -the shock absorber! Here are 5 points to keep in mind:

  • Don’t have extreme expectations – be level headed… and expect ups and downs as the norm.
  • Build your own support network before you go with people who have similar backgrounds and aspirations.
  • Use resources such as MoveMeBack to find opportunities that are well suited to you and learn from the realistic experiences of others.
  • Maximise for stability, sustainability and happiness first – you can almost always find something for you if you prepare – this will see you through toughest of days
  • Be very clear on your ‘why’ – you need to know what it’s all in aid of and what your end goal is. This is necessary to keep you going when things are wavering.

Come to SheHive London to hear Charles speak about moving back and answer all your questions! Buy your pass here now.

Who you’ll meet at SheHive London – Melba Mwanje

Believe it or not, SheHive London starts tomorrow! Melba Mwanje, Executive Finance Director for the Luanda International School in Angola and co-founder of SE1 United youth charity spoke to the SLA team about what she’s looking forward to at SheHive. 

Thanks for speaking with us. Can you please introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do?

Hello, my name is Melba Mwanje. I am employed as the Executive Finance Director for Luanda International School in Angola. We are a leading school with over 700 students, a fantastic IB curriculum, and several multi-million dollar assets and investments.

Before and after my work with the school, I volunteer as a life coach, careers advisor, and babysitter. I also provide creative consultancy services to companies around the world.

In the United Kingdom, I am a Co-Founder and a Trustee of SE1 United youth charity.

Is this where you thought you would end up?

I haven’t finished yet…

What’s your big idea that you’re looking to achieve in the next 5 years?

Currently I have five big projects in development. Themes include poetry, human rights, storytelling, and coding.

The idea that I am most excited about is the creation of an international online community of people with questions, answers, and ideas about random topics. Sounds vague for now! Watch this space.


What made you want to attend SheHive London?

To meet, talk, and laugh with interesting people who are interested in Africa.

What skill are you most proud of that you believe can add value to another attendee at the event?

Musical thinking.

I like to invent unusual and fun solutions to challenges, and I have found that I am very good at it! My creativity tends to have a bias for song and dance, hence “musical thinking”. It is an unconventional approach to life that has brought me success and I hope it can inspire another attendee too. In any case, I am greatly looking forward to learning from and sharing with new friends at SheHive London. I am honoured to be a part of such a valuable network.

Meet Melba at SheHive London! Buy your last minute pass here!

Who you’ll meet at SheHive London – Lausanne Kimbidima

As we continue our countdown to SheHive London, we talked with Lausanne Kimbidima, globe-trotter, all-round travel enthusiast and founder of Good Africa. Lausanne shared a bit about her initiative and why she’ll be attending SheHive London.

Thanks for speaking with us. Can you please introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do?

My name is Lausanne Kimbidima – my family is originally from Brazzaville, Congo, from which my parents moved to Paris in their twenties. I have always loved travel. I first left France at age 8 when my family decided to leave our small town, which was about a 45 minute drive from Paris. We moved to London, where I learnt English within 6 months, and years later, ended up studying for a Communications degree in the West Midlands.

Is this where you thought you would end up?

Growing up over 300 miles from the majority of my family, led me to travel often. I would train-travel on my own when I was as young as 15 years old. Later I travelled Europe with friends but I became mostly curious about experiencing Africa. Although I was working towards a career in Media & Communication (I had worked on projects for Disney, and British cinema film releases), I pursued my travel ambitions.

Prior to my first trip to Senegal, people told me to observe and take notes so I could brainstorm enterprising initiatives to boost the economy. However, when I got there and submerged myself in the diverse city lifestyles, the wealth of culture was undeniable. So upon my return, I launched an Instagram page called @wearegoodafrica, to share this vision of contemporary Africa, and we now have over 3,000 followers.IMG_20160808_212831

What’s your big idea that you’re looking to achieve in the next 5 years?

We are building a curated platform dedicated to African lifestyle which will provide insight into the new travel habits of millennials, as well as the everyday lives of the locals.  Good Africa will feature tips, guides and reviews from travellers worldwide. As Good Africa was born due to a lack of resources on authentic 360 African lifestyle —work, and travel included— we are also developing an inclusive programme, where travellers will be invited to a transformative travel experience.

Good Africa is an advocate for freedom. We believe every moment you wake up and decide that you want to experience work and lifestyle anywhere else in the world, this should be possible. This is what drives our mission.

What professional organisations are you associated with and in what ways?

I am a School of Media, Birmingham City University Alumni, and a proud Good Africa ambassador!

good africaWhat made you want to attend SheHive London?

Prior to moving into the next phase of Good Africa, I am excited to connect with other individuals in the travel sector and just anyone determined making their mark on the world.

Who are you looking to network with and meet at SheHive London?

I am 100% open to what this experience will bring – and look forward to insightful conversations with business owners to investors and travel enthusiasts.

What skill are you most proud of that you believe can add value to another attendee at the event?

I am bilingual! I’m also an eternal optimist. I hope to motivate and inspire other attendees to start their journey, and add value to others.

Meet Lausanne at SheHive London! Buy your pass here!

Who you’ll meet at SheHive London – Jessica Laditan

jessica laditan

Jessica Laditan is the Founder and CEO of Pop Up Africa, a pop up events company that runs African-inspired events across London. She’ll be one of the many participants at SheHive London (which is now just 8 days away!). SLA intern, Lamin recently talked with Jessica about her work and her expectations for SheHive London.

Thanks for speaking with us. Can you please introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do?

Hey guys, my name is Jessica Laditan. I’m the Founder and CEO of Pop Up Africa. Pop Up Africa is an African inspired pop up events company. We curate and run African-inspired events across iconic spaces in London. The idea is to bring diversity to the space whilst celebrating culture and giving traders who sell African inspired goods a platform to promote their brand to a wider market. Our events vary from trade events, to street food markets, cultural festivals, private functions and networking seminars.

I’ve been featured on the Women4Africa ‘100 Gold List’ 2016. Earlier this year I was a Judge in the ‘Next Star in African Food’ Initiative launched by Red Magazine in partnership with publishers Harper Collins.  I also regularly share my knowledge and expertise on pop up retail for African brands at events, on radio, online and via print features.

Is this where you thought you would end up?

Haha no, definitely not where I thought I’d end up. In school I had dreams of becoming an actress until my dad quickly told me to think of a more serious career. I studied Marketing at University and wanted to go into Fashion PR.

I dabbled in that for a bit until it quickly became apparent that I wanted to own my own business. Having my first child gave me that push that I needed and a few poor business ideas later I came up with Pop Up Africa and haven’t looked back since.

What’s your big idea that you’re looking to achieve in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I’m praying that the business will grow to higher levels with an international presence.

Pop Up AfricaWhat professional organisations are you associated with and in what ways?

Over the past few years, I have developed and worked in partnership with a few organisations including, Spitalfields Market, The Southbank Centre, Farm Africa, Red Magazine, Google Campus…

What made you want to attend SheHive London?

I’ve been tracking She Leads Africa and the SheHive events and couldn’t wait for it to come to London! The founders are inspirational and I love events where African women come together to empower each other so I decided that I definitely had to attend SheHiveLondon.

Who are you looking to network with and meet at SheHive London?

I’m open to networking and meeting anyone at the SheHiveLondon event.  I’m looking forward forward to hearing and learning from others. Also to meeting anyone that’s interested in Pop Up Africa and the work that we do.

What skill are you most proud of that you believe can add value to another attendee at the event?

I’m most proud of my event management skills, my knowledge of the London pop up scene and my skills in helping brands raise their profile.

Meet Jessica at SheHive London! Buy your pass here!

5 things you’ll miss if you’re not at SheHive London

shehive new york she leads africa

SheHive is coming to London! For 4 days, SLA is taking over Facebook HQ for a professional bootcamp. Between August 18 and 21, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the coolest people in London. This will  not only be a great experience for established entrepreneurs and professionals, but for aspiring career women of all ages. Now, you may have your own reasons to skip SheHive, but we have 5 solid reasons why missing it will be a bad idea .

Renowned and inspirational speakers

You definitely don’t want to miss out on this chance to hear and interact with some of the best and brightest minds out there including Imad Mesdoua, Charles Sekwalor and Ade Hassan. Get ready to learn from passionate and creative entrepreneurs, hear about their vast experiences and leave inspired.


THE networking opportunity

You’ll get an excuse to show off your networking skills, potentially make long-term connections with some dope people, get advice, raise your profile and increase your confidence. Meet and connect with some of the best and most talented young African entrepreneurs.



Intimate sessions

The intimate nature of our sessions means that you can get the most out of them and get exactly what you need. And if you splurge for an All Access Pass, you’ll have time to speak to the co-founders and other speakers directly. #SheHive is also a multicultural platform where you not only learn career skills but how to apply them.



New friends

You’ll have the chance to interact with new women and reconnect with old ones! Don’t miss out on the chance to meet some amazing, aspirational women like yourself who will motivate you. Motivation is contagious and the moment you interact with individuals who are cheerful and upbeat, you will catch the vibe too.


The chance to grow your career and business in a clearly defined market

Are you an entrepreneur? Our #ShopTheHive event is the best place to come and showcase your product to our community. Not only will this generate awareness for your brand, but you can additional revenue stream to your existing business.


SheHive is where career success starts, so don’t miss out on your chance to hear amazing speakers, participate in hands-on workshops, network with amazing African women on a multicultural platform and don’t forget SHOPPING. Who would want to miss this?

If you haven’t bought your pass yet, better hurry up and do it.