Temitope Olagbegi needs no introduction. She is the Founder and Creative Director of Sixth Sense Ltd, an interior design and furniture company that specialises in the design, decoration and enhancement of living spaces. With over a decades experience in interior design, event management and contemporary furniture design, she has through Sixth Sense Ltd. made a mark in the interior design Industry in Nigeria. She has won several awards including the Young female Achiever of the year (2009), Young female role model award (2010), Lifestyle Brand of the year (2011), Entrepreneur of the year (2012), Top 40 under 40 BusinessDay award ( 2013), Bank of Industry award for contributions in the entrepreneurial sector ( 2014) among others. She shares with Leading Ladies Africa her other creative pursuits and how she juggles multiples priorities.
You are popularly known for your Interior Design Compan. Asides being the Founder of Sixth Sense Interiors, how would you describe yourself? Who is Temitope Olagbegi?
I am multi passionate entrepreneur, who believes in the pursuit of all of a person’s God given talents and abilities. My life has been blessed with a good marriage of 19 years to Adedipo Olagbegi and has produced 3 amazing teenagers.
How did your interest in Interior Design and decoration begin?
My interest in design began from watching my mother. She was extremely house proud and still is as a matter of fact. My mother paid attention to everything. And one of my earliest memories of a holiday was filling our suitcases with a full set of plates we had spent the night bubble wrapping. I started noticing early how much attention I too had started paying to my beddings when I entered boarding school. By the time I was in University and I had my own space, it was clear I had a knack for decorating.
Sixth Sense Interiors became the commercial expression of my love and desire to improve other peoples’ living space. And I started out by designing and selling cushions from the boot of my car.
As well as run Sixth Sense Interior, you also run- The Boss Woman Conference. What is the inspiration behind the conference?
I look and I see women who can do things, but are incapacitated by relationship, fear, the lack of inspiration etc and I was inspired to do something in my own way to get women folk to recognise how much power they possess on their inside. The Boss woman is that drive to inspire women to take charge by thinking, building and supporting one another.
You also run Designs by Rehabiah- A fashion label for plus size women? Why the specific interest in plus size women?
I married as a size 12. But as soon as the babies started popping out, I found myself a size 18. I didn’t know how to dress this new body. Going out, meeting people and even running my business became something I dreaded because I lacked the confidence. This was when I realised the importance of helping those whowere like me after I got the hang of what flattered my plus sized body.
As a woman of multiple creative aspirations, how have you been able to structure your pursuits such that each get (relatively) equal attention?
Juggling multiple interests is a skill that I can’t claim I have fully mastered. However, I have learnt to sell the vision of each of the business. There is a powerful saying that goes, “People may not do what you expect, but what you inspect.” As a leader, I have learned to map out my expectations as well and follow through with overseeing them.
For a young female multi-potentialite who has her hands in so many creative endeavors but is struggling with ‘balance’ especially as it concerns which pursuit to focus more energy on- what advice do you have for such women?
My ultimate advice will be to know your balls. I use balls as my analogy for things we are engaged in or are responsible for as women and these balls are always to be set in order of priority. The high priority balls are to be treated as glass balls and the ones not too high on the list as rubber balls. My glass ball is my family. In juggling everything the glass balls must never break.
I can drop a rubber ball, like a social engagement, however the things dear to me have my attention and focus. To not drop important balls, is to know where ones priorities lie.
Let’s talk about Orange Butterflies- you have been anchoring this initiative for over 5 years and this platform has given you exposure to different women. From your experience, what would you say is the greatest growth challenge faced by women and in what specific ways would you advise they go about solving this challenge?
The greatest growth challenge I see women face is in ISOLATION. Not physical isolation but situational and circumstantial isolation. The energy gained from knowing your challenge is not peculiar to you is liberating. It frees the mind and that is the most powerful tool we have as women.
In sharing our personal challenges and how we overcame them, we have half solved the problems most women are silently facing.
Digressing a bit, do you think social media promotes unreasonable beauty standards? If so why?
Yes I think so, social media allows us show the beautiful parts of our lives. And as such many have turned social media actors, portraying untrue lifestyle that leaves other people with unrealistic expectations.
Let’s talk about fears- you recently turned 40, what fears have you had to fight on your journey and how did you overcome these fears?
One of my fears was being the proverbial fool at 40. Few years before I turned 40, I needed to re-evaluate my life. I had to be living for more than myself. The confidence in knowing my life’s purpose albeit partly, helps me overcome most fears and challenges. Nothing beats knowing what you were called to do.
If you could go back in time and speak to your 25-year-old self, what will you tell her?
These are the things I would tell my 25 year old self:
1. Not to fret, or loose sleep over anything that won’t matter in 1 years’ time.
2. Make sure your daily interactions are with forward thinking, self-motivated and positive people.
3. Save and invest as much as you can.
4. Tell yourself you are really, beautiful.
Let’s talk about recreation- what does it for you when it comes to having fun?
For the longest time I misunderstood recreation to mean rest, until I realised that even things like watching tv got me tired rather than re energized. Walking, Reading the Bible are a few of the ways I recreate.
The boundless energy and ideas that get my heart racing after reading the Bible is unimaginable.
2 book recommendations for entrepreneurs?
Instinct by TD Jakes and Time Management by John Maxwell
2 African movies you proudly recommend?
Wedding Party 1 and 2
What is your greatest pet-peeve?
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as one who lived her life positively influencing women.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.