Olajumoke Adeniyi, runs a fashion business called ‘Blackrose’. Blackrose is a distributor of Nigerian owned fabrics business which stocks a wide range of African prints in various textures. As someone who has experience from her years in the Banking Industry, finance and interpersonal relations, it is not far fetched that Olajumoke is able to apply certain skills she has learnt overtime to her business.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
My name is Olajumoke Adeniyi, I own and run a fashion business called Blackrose. Blackrose is a distributor of a Nigerian owned fabric business which stocks a wide range of African prints in various textures. We carry a variety of other fabrics and stock some other fashion brands and products like zips, scarves, turbans and pashminas. We make fast fashion outfits based on African trendy styles and one-size styles, custom made appliques and embellish fabrics and readymade outfitswith crystals, pearls and beads. Blackrose also revamps outfits and handbags by embellishing or as it is usually referred to “blings”.
We also do customized asoebi (uniform fabrics for outfits) for weddings and other occasions. We have an upcoming handmade jewellery line called “jewelrybytimi” (sold on instagram by @jewelrybytimi)
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
Being a female entrepreneur can be challenging especially considering having a day time job also; but I would describe it as a sweet challenge. I’ve enjoyed and learnt so much from interacting with different kinds of people.
I’ve harnessed so much experience from my years in the Banking Industry especially skills in finance, interpersonal relations, how to service customers and manage relationships with them. This allows me to run a structured business.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
I want to service “every woman”, irrespective of social status, religion or ethnicity, so overtime I’ve done this by adding value to fabrics for women and eventually men and children too.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
I’d say good customer service and the ability to communicate efficiently and adapt to the customers’ various needs and choices when it comes to fashion. I’ve tried very hard to remain focused on my vision.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
In this line of business, I would say there are mostly female stakeholders. However, I think it is a significant challenge that most women regard one another as competition, whereas, if we would perceive other women as partners, we would complement one another in expanding the horizon for women.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
Coming to terms with the reality as is often said, that “Rome was not built in a day”, and appreciating as it is also said, that “little drops of water make an ocean” and more than anything else, knowing the value of Integrity, Intelligence and Industry, in that order, is very important.
I worked in the Banking Industry for 10 years before changing course to Education Administration and Operations. Both industries present different kinds of consumer/customer demands which has greatly helped me to broaden my experience in communicating with people.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
The opportunity to be a distributor for a fabric company was open and I decided to give it a try since I was looking to start a new business. I was amazed at the response and was inspired to build on my creativity. Being in this business has unleashed talent that has been locked within me.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Funding mainly; I’ve had to source for funds privately to start the business and be disciplined enough to re-invest in the business in order for it to grow.
In the beginning, it was challenging to manage funds especially on a strict budget.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
Blackrose is currently the sole distributor of some brands in Kaduna and we service customers in neighbouring northern states with a few customers in Ghana, UK and USA. In five years, I hope the business will be a brand that will be sought after nationally and internationally, with the capacity to provide employment for many.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
In most businesses, you have to love it to be in it, stay focused and make sure you have as many supportive women as you can in your corner. Most importantly, believe that there is no limit to what you can achieve.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.