Omobolanle Adenle is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story. Her dream is to become a fashion mogul and one of the biggest online retail fashion stores. At a point in her life, completing her education became a huge task as she had to hawk and also learn hair-making and bead making at age 10. The beautiful graduate of Linguistics and African Languages from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife Osun state Nigeria wear several caps as a fashionpreneur, business consultant, writer, author, digital marketer and an on air personality. While talking about online retail fashion business , Bola had this to say “Don’t deceive anybody with what you don’t have, sell exactly what you display.She shares the story of her rise from the ashes to glory in this interview .
I grew up in the family of five, the last born of 3 children. I spent my childhood days in my parent’s salon, laundry, and video club, my mum has always been a serial entrepreneur, she forced us all to learn one trade or the other while growing up. I have always loved working with my hands as a kid. I remember stitching clothes together with needle and thread for baby dolls as a kid. I started making hair in my mum’s salon at age 10. I also learnt bead making and how to tie gele. I remember hosting a free fashion parade show as a 7 – 8year old primary school student after school daily, I’ll catwalk for an awaiting crowd in Mama Ede’s shop opposite our school gate after which I’ll be rewarded with lots of “baba dudu” sweet. Fashion has always been my passion.
Inspiration behind Bola Fashion Empire
Bola Fashion Empire emerged from my observation across Africa, I noticed certification in hand work has not been able to match up with certification in Formal Education like law, medicine, accounting etc. Many kids that are gifted in handwork like shoe making, bag making, hair stylist e.t.c seek to find expression with their God given talent but they are restricted to study fancy formal education to be relevant in the society. The funniest part is that most of us end up wasting 4years in University to be certified formally before pursuing our main vision because of the world standard of relevance. Bola Fashion Empire aims to create a fashion school with international certification that is of equal relevance with BSC in Medicine or any formal course. I hope to have a fashion university where secondary school graduates are enrolled in different departments such as Tailoring Department, Shoe Making Department, Beaders Department, Hairstyling Department, e.t.c, the best hands in different field from all nations in the world will be employed to teach them and they will graduate after 4 years and be internationally certified to work anywhere in the world. I hope to create a fashion empire where goods and services will be produced and sold at the cheapest factory rate and new fashionpreneur can emerge with little and big start up capital and make much more from their sales.
How hawking at different point shaped my life
It sharpened me to be fearless in life and be my own motivation.Nothing in life seems to move me much because of the capacity I have built in my entrepreneurial journey so far. My hate for lack and poverty is so strong and I dream big beyond my present circumstances per time with strong confidence to scale through any situation any circumstances that comes my way per time. My dreams become bigger as I scale through different phases and I’m just stepping up my game at the moment, because there’s so much ahead to do but I believe that with God all things are possible for me.
Who inspires me
My mum inspires me a lot, she taught me how to derive my first Inspiration from God’s word then other people can come to play. John Obidi also inspires me a lot to unleash the greatness in me, Strive Masiyiwa is one of the people I derive Inspiration from as an entrepreneur and in the fashion world I’m inspired by the likes of Tara Durotoye, mizwenneka the hair boss, C.E.O lumineeiofficial the award winning fashion designer inspires me with her creative works, Laura Ikeji of The Gang and Toyin Lawani of Tianahs empire inspire me a great deal.
The greatest reward so far is the privilege to be live on air on the fifth episode of Olajumoke Sauce vlog with olajumoke the bread seller turned star to share my story and inspire my world with my story so far. It’s a privilege to share my journey thus far and give hope to the little girl and boy with big dreams but are ready to give up based on challenges of life. It’s a privilege to be able to tell my fellow women how to survive through hard work without having to trade our body for cash to men and it’s a privilege to be opportuned to tell the world about what I do without having to pay for it.
I believe greater rewards are coming as I remain diligent with the works of my hands. I’m still looking up to God for the kind of reward I really desire and I believe it will come soonest by his grace.
I have challenges with raising funds to run and sustain my business but all the same, I started with what I have and I’m still working really hard to build my dream. I have to keep re-strategizing on increasing my profit base per time which entails incorporating several works all together and juggling all together.
Another challenge I face as an entrepreneur with an online store is having to convince people to buy from my store without considering my store as a fraud based on previous experiences which is why I’m working on having my standard offline store soonest.
Perception of women in your industry
Women in fashion and in the business world generally rarely support each other if cash is not involved. They all want to leverage on celebrity and no one really want to support a startup entrepreneur except theirs a ransom to gain in view. Every woman in fashion business has a dream to increase in influence than her other counterpart which is the sole reason why support in such industry is very rare to find. But if you can manage to raise yourself to stardom, support will come from all angles when you are a star already and you are good at what you do. Few women in the industry are still supportive and empowering upcoming ones in their little way.
Other project and activities
As a fresh graduate of Linguistics and African languages, I’m presently a linguist, a writer and I write articles, stories and create contents for blogs, magazine and I do many copyright works at the moment. With my good communication skill in Yoruba and English language, I’m hoping to collaborate with people as an on air personality soonest. I just created a blog on Instagram @street2stardom, a blog that is set up to enhance our everyday men and women share their legitimate hustle and inspire our world to greatness, successful men and women who have survived in their entrepreneurial journey from the street to stardom will be featured to inspire those on their way to stardom by sharing their success tip with the world.
As an entrepreneur with no help from anyone and singlehandedly handling many projects all together, I really feel like giving up many times when I was restricted by cash to pursue many of my projects and the thought of taking the easy route by collecting money from men to sustain crept up in my mind at the early stage of my entrepreneurial journey but God has indeed being faithful all the way which has kept me going to depend exclusively on him all the way and my mum never stop praying and encouraging me. Giving up is totally out of my view now but crushing obstacles and breaking all barrier is all that I have in view at the moment. I have this assurance that with God all things are indeed possible.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I believe my determination, doggedness and focus to be my own motivation and get things done and survive in harsh circumstances through my godly legitimate hustle makes me a woman of rubies. Not taking the easy route to success through dubious ungodly act makes me a woman of rubies
My diligence with the work my hands find doing per time makes me a woman of rubies.
For choosing to be self dependent instead of blaming Nigerian government, family, friends etc for not supporting me and working with my hands instead makes me a woman of rubies. My passion to make a difference and inspire my world to greatness and also empower my fellow human makes me a woman of rubies.
Final word for women who are thinking of going into online fashion business, especially with the high rate of people complaining of being duped by online retailers?
Be versatile and open to information to grow your business per time and leverage more on every opportunity to showcase what you sell. Be proud of your legitimate, your helper might just be behind you. Technology has really advanced, you don’t need a physical shop to start selling anything for a start, of course there will be need for a physical shop on the long run but for a start get your goods readily available first and start selling in your house, room, hostel etc, take good pictures of what you have for sale and post it online, build awareness online and you will be surprised you will go global fast if you engage the power of ecomerce and social media. Most importantly, don’t deceive anybody with what you don’t have, sell exactly what you display. You can only stand the test of time online if you are credible with little dealings then people can entrust you with big deals from home and abroad.
For those that desire to go into online fashion business I’ll strongly advice that you have at least one offline visibility means for your product and services.
It is very true that people have been duped several times online and it takes greater grace to sell a pin online therefore I’ll advice anyone that want to start his/her online fashion store to prepare for that and have at least one visibility medium. With persistence and good service you will build a customer base that will expand as time goes on through referrals and good digital marketing strategy.