Lola Denga: Intensifying your Inner Beauty

As a seasoned businesswoman, Lola Denga has been in the beauty space managing her own business for the last nine years.  She offers exclusive services that can be enjoyed from either her own home or that of the clients. Her services include Swedish Massages and manicures among others. 

Over the years Lola noticed that these beauty treatments enhanced women’s self-esteem and decided to take a step further. Instead of just focusing on external beauty she decided to write a devotional called G.LO.W (God’s love overwhelms women) to help women intensify their inner beauty. 

In a 7-day devotional, Lola helps women foster a deeper connection with God and in doing so, focus on their internal beauty. 

She believes that beauty has to come from within and by connecting to the maker, God himself you will achieve wholeness.


What inspired you to open a beauty business?

From the time I was 14 years and went and got my first manicure, I have always wanted to be in the beauty industry. After going to beauty school, I’d go to certain places and see the standards were not the same as those taught in school.

That’s literally where my passion started; I really wanted to bring beauty’s standard and dignity back. I wanted to create an ambience where clients would feel like they are getting the best service and are relaxed.

Beauty school focuses largely on the outside. Why did you decide to go a step further with your devotional? 

I realized that after speaking to more women, a lot of them were dealing with inner issues.  Yes, they were coming to enhance their outside beauty which consequently led to a temporary sense of confidence. But, the truth is, only when the inside is in harmony with the outside, do you enjoy beauty to its maximum.

What has opening a business taught you about yourself?

It has taught me that I really love people. It has also helped me showcase my creativity and organization skills. I have managed to pick up a lot of other skills through this experience.

What setbacks have you faced while starting and continuing your entrepreneurial journey?

There’s been a couple. It has taken me longer to get off the ground as I personally finance everything. I’d be saving to try and buy equipment by doing other jobs on the side.

Also, people’s attitudes have also posed a challenge. They are becoming more receptive to luxury beauty but largely it is seen more as an unnecessary indulgence rather than a necessity. It has made me see a gap in the market for education.

Educating people on everything from the healing properties of beauty treatments like a massage. I also educate people on how a good regular self-care routine can help reduce stress levels and create a work-life balance.

Where do you seek encouragement during those moments?

I am fortunate to have a strong support system.  I have my parents, my husband and my friends and definitely my relationship with God.

When I feel like I am about to give up, I remember why I am doing this in the first place. - @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

How important do you think a relationship with God is to an entrepreneur?

Honestly, it’s very important. Number one, it will keep you sane! There are a lot of things you’ll come across that you didn’t expect to come across. Business competition notwithstanding, there are people you expected support from that disappoint you.

Having a strong relationship with God ensures you know that this is not just a business idea. It is actually a gift and you need to understand that you are using it to worship Him and to impact lives.

At this point, your business should have a purpose and should not just be to make money. The purpose part makes sure that you don’t give up easily.

What are your proudest moments during your nine years as a businesswoman?

One of them was when I published my book. I was very proud of that! Over the years I have been involved in numerous photoshoots as a makeup artist. Those were enjoyable experiences.

I think overall, every day has something that makes you feel like it’s worth it. Even the small things like when a client expresses their gratitude are enough for me.

Do you feel that in Zimbabwe there are enough structures put in place to assist women to open businesses?

Until recently no. But so far, it looks promising. There are quite a few women in business organizations that are starting. The government is also coming in with funding.  I am excited to see how this will translate for future business owners.

As a seasoned businesswoman, what are you doing to support women in the entrepreneurial space?

I like to host prayer lounges. During this event, I keep in touch with women in business and keep encouraging them. I also offer career guidance tests if people are unsure of which direction they should be heading in.

I definitely do want to grow these ventures and I have intentions of being a facilitator and speaker in this year.

How do you balance it all?

I’d say time management, though I am not perfect at it yet! Prayer too, because that’s where I get my energy from. I also believe in incorporating things that you love to do even if it’s just reading a book. You need that time to distress and reflect.

That’s how you balance and you don’t end up breaking down or cracking. You have to make sure you get that allocated time for just being you and not thinking about business, not thinking about being a wife and just zoning out.

 

How do you unwind?

I like journaling, sometimes I’ll just journal for no reason. Occasionally, I enjoy either reading a book or watching a chick flick with a bowl of ice cream. I’m simple like that!

Definitely, I do try to spoil myself when I can. I go and get pedicures and foot massages done by someone else.

What are your top five tips for achieving wholeness?

1. You need to discover your strengths and weakness and accept them!

2.To realize your dreams, set goals and timelines for yourself.

3. Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them. Also, let go of things that hurt as they will only hold you back.

4. Work on your self~esteem and general image. Once you find your personal style, you will avoid the pressure to follow trends and be a certain person.

5. Do stuff for others. Sometimes when we are hyper-focused on ourselves we can become closed off. Find something you enjoy doing that will bring impact to someone’s life.

Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them.- @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

What does success look like at the end of everything? How will you know you’ve achieved your dreams?

Tangibly, it will be when I can see that loads of people have been impacted and there are many beauty shops open.

However, for me, impacting people is more about having a legacy than shops. So when my following has really grown and people come to know who Lola Ru is, then I shall know I have had an impact.

Finally, I intend to take the beauty industry by storm and develop a range of products from beauty school, shops, spas and others.


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

Being a Woman in leadership: How to Change the Narrative

Being a ‘Woman in Leadership’ comes with certain not so pretty narratives. I remember listening to Mrs Ifenyiwa Afe’s story, a recently appointed managing director.

She was accompanied by some male staff on a scheduled trip to meet another male executive in the industry. As they met the executive, he immediately walked over to the male staff assuming the ‘Managing Director’ was a man.

The embarrassed staff immediately corrected the shocked executive. Imagine the awkward moment!

These are relatable workplace realities, that spring from a culture that limits the capabilities of women. I look forward to a society that’s where women in leadership are expected and supported. However, the part that women have to play in driving home this new narrative; is owning it.

I have a critical role to play in owning the new narrative myself. I am General Manager at African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO). Sometimes, it is possible to slip into these limitations by the society. But being conscious of who you are, and not cautious is a huge step in changing the narrative.

Here are a few tips:

Be Assertive

One of my friends used the phrase; “He was expecting me to be docile” to imply that a male colleague hadn’t expected her to communicate assertively.

Being assertive is an attitude, and it doesn’t mean domineering. It is portraying confidence, and presence and very essential in leadership. As women in leadership, being feminine does not mean not being assertive.

Be Professional

It is so easy to cross the line of professionalism with women. I was in a skype meeting with some male colleagues and I was the only female. With a switched off camera, the convener kept referring to me as male. 

He made the move to apologize as soon as the impression was corrected. Do you know what he did? He waves a teddy bear in a gesture of apology!

People expect that women are meant to be cuddled. Though we may be in certain scenarios, women are also logical beings. Do not compromise ethics for sentiments in the workplace. Women must insist on this.

Set Healthy Boundaries

I offer to shake hands with a male colleague one day, and he was already gesturing to hug me. What! A male colleague should be able to shake hands with you just as he would a male colleague. That’s not to say that work friendships cannot exist, but let that be clear.

Are you cool being identified as dears? Many times, as females we tend to be susceptible.

However, you can stay true to your values and communicate as opposed to getting warped in the idiosyncrasies of being female.

Focus on your superpowers

Being part of a movement that says; ‘beauty lies in the heart of the possessor’ has been much more empowering. It doesn’t just focus on men’s role in helping or stopping us from attaining our full potential as women.

Being a by-product of the mission of AWLO has influenced a developmental process that is centered on me.

It is true that beauty lies first in the heart of the possessor. It’s about being our own super-heroes first, and concentrating on our superpowers. This does not negate the fact that people may or may not contribute to gender issues.

Finally, it feels much more empowering to have great self-talk, self-belief, and self-love, rather than getting caught up in a battle of genders.


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

Become a #SheMeansBusiness Trainer!

How do you feel about dropping bombs of knowledge and helping empower your fellow #MotherlandMoguls?

If this was your reaction, we’ve got a program for you to consider. In 2018, because this is the year we live our best lives, we’re continuing our digital marketing training with support from Facebook! We’re going to be delivering free training to 4000 women across six different cities in Nigeria. 

To do this we’ll be recruiting 24 rock stars who’ll become SLA certified – #SheMeansBusiness trainers who’ll work with us to deliver an exceptional training program. Interested?

Here’s the process

  1.     Send in your application – the link is at the bottom of this page
  2.     If selected, you’ll be invited for an intensive 1-day training courtesy of She Leads Africa and Facebook on March 27. You’ll be trained on:

– How to use Facebook products to grow a business

– Finding your presentation style

– Business strategy frameworks

  1.     Now you’ll be ready to spread your knowledge and help people do amazing things. And we’re gonna put you straight to work helping us train 4000+ entrepreneurs and professionals.

4.     The SLA team will organize most of the logistics behind the trainings. We’ll find the space, make sure there are chairs and pray the folks at NEPA come through. We’ll work with you to spread the word, make sure the training is well attended and have someone there on the day to help you set up. And then it’s over to you to wow the audiences with your expertise.

Why would you do this?

If some of the traits below sound like you, then apply now now.

  1.  You’re interested in digital media and want to share your expertise and experience with entrepreneurs and professionals who are eager to learn
  2. You’ve always been interested in mentoring and helping people develop new skills
  3. You’d like to build your brand as a business strategy expert
  4. Money may not be your motivation but the extra pocket money of N20,000 per training you host would be a nice addition

Any restrictions..?

Unfortunately …. Yes.

  1.     You need to have at least 2 preferably 5+ years of work experience to qualify
  2.     You need to be based in one of these cities: Aba, Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan, Port Harcourt.
  3.     You need to have the time to lead 1-3 trainings per month (6hrs per training). Training will most likely take place on Fridays and Saturdays. 

FAQs

Do I need to be a digital marketing expert to apply?

No. We’ll be delivering business as well as digital marketing training so we’re excited to have trainers from a range of backgrounds.

I don’t live in one of your target cities, can I still apply?

Unfortunately not. We hope to expand to other cities and countries soon but for now you must reside in Aba, Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna or Port Harcourt City in Nigeria.

 

I’m not a woman, can I still apply?

Of course! This opportunity is open to everyone though the majority of people being trained will be women.

 

What will my schedule look like?

After we get you trained, you’ll work out a schedule with the SLA program coordinator. Trainings will run between the April  7th and Sept 29 (~6 months). You’ll be required to lead 1 – 4 trainings during this period.

 

How many entrepreneurs will I train?

Initially, you’ll lead a training with about 50 -100 entrepreneurs. Based on your performance and feedback from trainees, you’ll be called to lead follow on trainings.

 

Will I be able to host training outside of the ones you organise for me?

If you’d like to host trainings outside of this program, you’ll need to get permission from the SLA team if you’re using content from the program.